- Bayern could win the title, while Hannover may go down.
- Leverkusen the form side ahead of trip to Schalke.
- Wolfsburg's hopes of a top-seven finish hanging by a thread.
Reach for the hankies as the first tears could be shed on Matchday 31, both of the joy and the despair variety.
bundesliga.com looks ahead to a weekend when the first verdicts of the 2015/16 Bundesliga season could be declared.
Title within reach for treble-chasing Bayern
FC Bayern München have their first serve for championship point this weekend when they head to the capital for the first of two visits to the Olympiastadion in the coming month. A win at Hertha Berlin would see them clinch the Bundesliga title on Saturday (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT) if Borussia Dortmund lose at VfB Stuttgart. Any other combination of results would then give Bayern second serve when they host Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 32, but now would be a perfect time for Pep Guardiola's men to deliver an ace and allow them to focus fully on their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie with Club Atletico de Madrid, and then think about their next trip to Berlin: for the DFB Cup final with Borussia Dortmund on 21 May.
Pulisic sustaining Dortmund's charge
Christian Pulisic has been making waves on both sides of the Atlantic since becoming the fourth-youngest goalscorer in a Bundesliga match in the 3-0 win over Hamburger SV on Matchday 30. The eighth youngest player ever to appear in Germany's top flight now appears to have locked down his place in the Dortmund starting XI, at just 17 years of age, and his progress is being monitored very closely in his United States of America home. "Awesome to see our youngster score for BVB," tweeted the head coach of the US Men's National Team Jürgen Klinsmann, who made him the USMNT's youngest debutant in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in March. Dortmund are now hoping for more of the same from the precocious midfielder as they bid to keep the title race alive in Stuttgart.
Champions League showdown at the VELTINS Arena
Bayer 04 Leverkusen's five-game winning streak has catapulted them into the UEFA Champions League qualifying berths and Roger Schmidt's men have the chance to strengthen their claim for elite European football next season when they travel to a side who, having picked up just four points from a possible 15 over the same period, can count themselves out of the race to join them if they lose this Saturday (kick-off 18:30CEST/16:30GMT). FC Schalke 04 trail Die Werkself by six points due to that 11-point swing over the past five games and they are running out of opportunities to close the gap, making this weekend's clash a make-or-break one for Andre Breitenreiter's Royal Blues. "After facing Leverkusen, we've got three games left – and we want the maximum points from all of them," said Breitenreiter. "We'll add it all up after Matchday 34."
Relegation battle going down to the wire
A defeat at FC Ingolstadt 04 would see Hannover 96 become the first club to bid farewell to the Bundesliga and while it may seem only a matter of time before the Lower Saxony club are condemned to relegation, the battle not to join them in Bundesliga 2 next season involves an astonishing eight clubs. From 17th-placed Eintracht Frankfurt up to 1. FC Köln in tenth, there can be no leaning back with the trapdoor still wide open. Things will start to look a little clearer after Matchday 31 with a particularly important Nordderby between Hamburger SV and SV Werder Bremen, who are separated by just three points, and SV Darmstadt 98's trip to Cologne potentially seeing one of those sides secure their top-flight status prematurely. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart and Frankfurt face arguably the most difficult challenges against sides jostling for positions at the other end of the table, while FC Augsburg need to show their survival skills once again at VfL Wolfsburg with one of the tightest relegation battles on record keeping half of the Bundesliga on their toes.
Last call from Europe for Wolfsburg
With Bayern and Dortmund reaching the DFB Cup final, and already assured of the top two positions in the Bundesliga, seventh place in the Bundesliga now guarantees access to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League next season, and that is what VfL Wolfsburg are focusing all their efforts on heading into the final four games of the season. Still struggling to stomach their UEFA Champions League elimination at the hands of Real Madrid CF, the Wolves can ill-afford to drop any more points as they trail the top seven by six points, and have to travel to Dortmund next weekend. With just two points from their last five league games, Wolfsburg currently have the worst record of all 18 Bundesliga clubs in that period, and their minimum aim for the season – European qualification – is in serious jeopardy. "We've got plenty of wrongs to put right," admitted coach Dieter Hecking. "But the season's not over yet."