Stay away from that trapdoor: the scrap for Bundesliga survival

Darmstadt’s time in the top flight is up, but who will be joining the Lilies in the second tier, who will contest the relegation play-off and which clubs will live to fight another day?

Ingolstadt- 17th, 30 pts

bundesliga.com looks at what the run-in holds for the six sides fighting tooth and nail to keep their heads above the waterline.

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Remaining fixtures: Freiburg (a), Schalke (h)

A trio of April wins spared Ingolstadt an early exit, but Father Time is still very much against Maik Walpurgis’ troupe. Four points adrift of the relegation play-off spot with only two rounds of fixtures to go, Die Schanzer need to take at least a point off Freiburg on Matchday 33 and hope one of the two teams above them on 34 points lose. If both Hamburg and Mainz match or better Ingolstadt’s result, however, there will be no stay of execution for the Bundesliga’s 54th club.

Hamburg failed to make the most of home advantage when they were held by Mainz on Matchday 32. - © gettyimages

Hamburg- 16th, 34 points

Remaining fixtures: Schalke (h), Wolfsburg (a)

Winless in four, Hamburg face the very real prospect of contesting a third relegation play-off in four years - or worse. A vastly inferior goal difference puts them at a distinct disadvantage, but at least their fate is in their own hands. As long as they pick up more points in games against Schalke and Wolfsburg than Ingolstadt and Mainz, the Dinos will preserve their proud status as the only team to have featured in every Bundesliga season.

Mainz - 15th, 34 points

Remaining fixtures: Frankfurt (h), Cologne (a)

Like Hamburg, Mainz are in control of their own destiny. Victory in the Rhine-Main derby against faltering Frankfurt coupled with a Hamburg loss to Schalke would effectively guarantee their top-flight status for another year. A defeat coupled with wins for Ingolstadt and Hamburg, on the other hand, would put them in the unenviable position of having to win away to Europa League candidates Cologne and needing a big favour from Wolfsburg on the final day.

Wolfsburg's 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 32 has given them fresh hope of avoiding the drop. - © gettyimages / Thomas Frey

Wolfsburg- 14th, 36 points

Remaining fixtures: Gladbach (h), Hamburg (a)

Thanks in large part to Germany international Mario Gomez, Wolfsburg are four and nine goals better off than Ingolstadt and Hamburg respectively, and could banish any lingering relegation play-off fears with a win over Borussia Mönchengladbach on the penultimate weekend. Even if they don’t need the points by the time Matchday 34 rolls around, how they perform at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion could have major ramifications for their basement bedfellows.

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Augsburg - 13th, 36 points

Remaining fixtures: Dortmund (h), Hoffenheim (a)

Level on 36 points with Wolfsburg, a welcome return of two wins and one draw from their last four has given Augsburg’s survival hopes a timely shot in the arm. Although it would take a deluge of goals against and a seemingly improbable turn of events for Die Fuggerstädter to be sucked into the automatic drop zone, there is still an outside chance Manuel Baum’s resurgent charges could fall back into old ways against top-three rivals Dortmund and Hoffenheim – and, worse still, plummet into 16th place.

Will Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez return to keep Leverkusen out of the relegation play-off place? - © gettyimages / Lars Baron

Bayer Leverkusen- 12th, 37 points

Remaining fixtures: Cologne (h), Hertha Berlin (a)

The standings might favour free-falling Leverkusen, but the form books certainly don’t. Die Werkself have won only one of their last 11 matches in the Bundesliga - a meagre return that has long put paid to any hopes of a top-six finish and tossed Tayfun Korkut’s charges into an unforeseen relegation battle. With Rhineland neighbours Cologne and Europa League hopefuls Hertha expected to show no mercy down the back straight, Bayer will likely be granted a reprieve by results elsewhere.

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