- Wolfsburg look to repeat Real Madrid performance vs Mainz.
- Bayern looking for a 12th straight league win vs Stuttgart.
- Dortmund visit Schalke in Revierderby.
After a thrilling opening to the weekend's action in the capital, the stakes are high at both ends of the Bundesliga table on a distinctly derby-flavoured Matchday 29.
bundesliga.com looks at five talking points ahead of Saturday and Sunday's Bundesliga action…
Has the penny dropped for Wolfsburg?
VfL Wolfsburg stunned the watching world by beating ten-time European champions Real Madrid CF 2-0 in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday. The result begged the question as to why the Wolves, plagued by inconsistency this term and sitting eighth in the table, appear unable to reproduce such performances on the domestic stage. A top-four finish is still within reach, but they will need to find some consistency in the league to do so, and a home game against 1. FSV Mainz 05 – even without the suspended Julian Draxler – is a game that Dieter Hecking’s charges must win.
Can Stuttgart do Dortmund a favour?
League leaders FC Bayern München remain in pole position to become champions in May, but three consecutive workmanlike 1-0 wins suggest they are not at the peak of their powers at present. Second-placed Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, have scored eight in their last three league games and continue to crank up the pressure on the Reds with each passing week. This weekend Thomas Tuchel’s men will be hoping for a favour from VfB Stuttgart, a fallen giant of German football but a side with the fourth-best record in 2016 and one boasting the pace and athleticism to give the Bavarians a fright - even if they have lost their last 14 meetings against Bayern in all competitions.
Further twists expected in relegation scrap
Things are no less precarious at the bottom end of the standings, with five clubs separated by only two points. Four of those sides face off against one another on Matchday 29, with SV Werder Bremen hosting FC Augsburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim entertaining second-bottom Eintracht Frankfurt. Hoffenheim have managed an impressive four wins under new coach Julian Nagelsmann and will fancy their chances of making it five, but on the other hand, defeat could leave them second-bottom and lift the Eagles to 13th.
Only winning matters for Dortmund and Schalke
The biggest derby in the country and perhaps the most passionately contested on the planet returns for its second instalment of the season on Sunday. Borussia Dortmund will have to work quickly to iron out the imperfections on show in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League, while FC Schalke 04 will have had almost nine days to hold an inquest into a disastrous defeat at Ingolstadt on Matchday 29 that severely dented their European ambitions. As ever on derby day, though, form usually goes out the window and only the victory matters for the two sets of fans.
History beckons for Köln against Leverkusen
Sunday will also serve up a second local derby in North Rhine-Westphalia, with Bayer 04 Leverkusen making the short trip across Cologne to take on 1. FC Köln. In fifth heading into the weekend, Leverkusen appear to have more at stake as they chase a top-four finish, and they looked back in the groove last weekend in dispatching Wolfsburg 3-0, with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez on the scoresheet. The Billy Goats, in 11th place on 34 points, are all but assured Bundesliga survival but would be only too happy to derail Die Werkself’s European push and secure a first ever league double over their Rhine rivals.