Sat 23 May by Mark Gleeson
Champions and leaders Bayern Munich are expected to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga this afternoon but the jostling for places immediately beneath them is intriguing to say the least.
Bayern have opportunity to extend their four point lead and put themselves well on course for an eighth successive title in what would be a prodigious statement of prowess.
With eight games to go, the chasing pack have likely resign themselves to battling for places in European club competition and the crucial divide between the rich returns of the Champions League and the leaner pickings of the Europa League.
The teams finishing second, third and fourth in the Bundesliga compete in next season’s Champions League while numbers five and six compete in the Europa League.
Today, second placed Dortmund have a difficult trip to Wolfsburg, who are sixth, and third placed Borussia Moenchengladbach host fifth placed Bayer Leverkusen. All are vital in this quest.
Wolfsburg made a dramatic return to Bundesliga last weekend at Augsburg with a 90th minute winner. Dortmund were without Marco Reus, Axel Witsel, Emre Can and started with Jaden Sancho on the bench, but still dealt with rivals Schalke convincingly in a 4-0 victory.
Gladbach continued where they left off before the Bundesliga's pause when they travelled to Eintracht Frankfurt and won 3-1 while Leverkusen were even more impressive on Monday night by winning at Werder Bremen.
These games are tight to call but relative strength and form suggests they could both produce an away victor.