Munich - This is the part of the season when teams feel the end is near. Either its been mediocre and both players and fans just want to end it now, take a summer break and hope next year is better. Or teams can feel the pressure of a whole season's worth of work going down in flames in just a few matches.
The Munich and regional football teams are involved in some pivotal matches this weekend, making me wish Labor Day was on a Monday to give us time to watch all the action. Here's your preview.
TSV 1860 München at Hertha BSC Berlin, Friday 18:00 - Hertha will earn promotion and 2 points in the last three matches will clinch the top of the table. The Lions will remain in the Bundesliga's second division (license pending). But they will continuing playing for pride, as they have over the past weeks. And they will have motivation this week.
Over 70,000 fans are expected in Olympic Stadium to celebrate a Hertha win and certain promotion. "They will definitely celebrate the (second division) championship," admitted 1860 head coach Reiner Maurer. "But only when Augsburg lose in Cottbus (Monday night)".
Confident words from Maurer, and he can stand by his team on this. In five matches between the two clubs in the lower league, the Lions have never lost to Berlin. And the last time the two met, Benjamin Lauth scored early and 1860 held on for the 1-0 in the Allianz Arena.
FC Schalke 04 at FC Bayern München, Saturday 18:30 - Reeling from their Champions League semi-final loss earlier in the week, Schalke will come into Allianz Arena knowing all the pressure is on their opponent. The Royal Blues were responsible for ruining Bayern's season by winning the German Cup semi-final two month ago in Munich. Bayern got knocked out of the Champions League soon after that and have played mediocre in the Bundesliga since.
By the time match kicks off Saturday evening, Munich will know the result for Hannover, the team currently sitting above them for league's final Champions League berth. However, only a win for the Reds will count, and time is running out for the German record champs. Munich have a few advantages going into the matchup.
Munich have won their last three home matches by a total score of 12-1. The high scoring may continue with the motivation and revenge factor of beating the team that took away their chance for hardward this season.
And their current situation may help the Reds. "Schalke still have a chance to make the final," said interim Bayern head coach Andries Jonker of Schalke's 2 goal deficit going into the second leg at Old Trafford on Wednesday. "I think their minds will be somewhere else."
(Editor's Note: Salman Mitha and Mark Lovell will be tweeting from the match. Follow along at @sal_TMT_sports and @mark_TMT_sports.)
The focal point of the Bayern attack the last year when the club came a match away from earning the Treble, Robben has been hampered with injuries and lackluster play after the World Cup. And the team's results have mirrored his performance. But the rest may end up helping him in the last three matches.
"I feel a responsibility to the team and the fans, that I left them alone for two matches," said an apologetic Robben. "I am sorry, but I am now motivated. We are not where we should be (on the table). We have three matches to win and qualify for the Champions League. That's the highest degree of motivation."
Bavarian Football previews
1. FC Nürnberg at Borussia Dortmund, Saturday 15:30 - Dortmund clinch the Bundesliga title with a win and will celebrate with their fans. Nuremberg stay in the race for the Europa League with a win, maybe even move past 1.FSV Mainz 05 if results work out. So perhaps this is the match of the weekend based on what's at stake for both clubs. Der Club are coming off a lost chance last week, drawing at home versus Mainz and sit two points behind. Mainz host Eintracht Frankfurt at the same time.
DSC Arminia Bielefeld at SpVgg Greuther Fürth, Saturday 13:00 - Fürth sit two points behind the promotion playoff spot and seven behind the second automatic promotion spot. Playing a Bielefeld squad who will be relegated to the lower divisions could not have come at a better time, as Bochum have only earned 1 point in the past three matches. Fürth lost the Derby match last week againt 1860 but should be ready to catch Bochum.
FC Erzgebirge Aue at FC Ingolstadt 04, Saturday 13:00 - FCI have been in good form to get above the relegation battles, but they will face an Aue club also looking to catch Bochum and sit 4 points behind. If both Bochum and Fürth slip up, they'll gladly move in. Aue are unbeaten in their last eight matches, and Ingolstadt may be their last tough opponent. Their next two opponents, Hertha may have already clinched promotion and FSV Frankfurt may be safe from relegation, so those should be wins. Ingolstadt will want to keep their form and stay in the 2nd league, this should be a battle.
FC Augsburg at FC Energie Cottbus, Monday 20:15 - THE match in the second division. As mentioned before, a lot of teams are nipping at FCA's heels for the second spot. Add Cottbus to that, who sit only 5 points for the playoff spot, so a win will put Augsburg in danger and tighten up the promotion battle.
Nuremberg host Augsburg while Bayern Munich travel to take on Kaiserslautern
Munich - Over the past season, the Bundesliga top flight has only had two Bavarian Derby matches per season. With the promotion of FC Augsburg, that number will triple this season. And the first one is this weekend, as the Augsburg side will travel to northern Bavaria (known as Franconia) to take on 1.FC Nürnberg.
Both teams started off the season well, Nuremberg with a 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin in week 1 and Augsburg two draws in their first matches in the top flight. Since then, three confidence...
Munich - Two games into their debut season in Germany's premier league and FC Augsburg remain unbeaten. The two points earned so far is the reward for the stalemate at home to Sport-Club Freiburg on the opening weekend, and away to Kaiserslautern last weekend. Further encouragement will be garnered by the fact they have scored 3 goals already and are putting up a real fight against more fancied sides.
This weekend sees head coach Jos Luhukay's side take on 1899 Hoffenheim who upset the bookmakers last weekend by beating the defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund at home by a...
Weekend wrap of local football action
Munich - If you listen carefully, that sound from the west is the city of Augsburg partying throughout the night and into the morning after their 2-1 pressure packed victory that earned them promotion into the Bundesliga for next season.
But they are not the only club celebrating a move up. Bayern Munich have their eyes set on improving their finish after clinching a spot in the Champions League. SpVgg Greuther Fürth have one more weekend to play for promotion. Here's your quick weekend wrap.
Bayern blowout St. Pauli, clinch Champions League berth -...
Local teams to fight for season and regional supremacy
Munich - Saving a season. The final derby. Earning a promotion. It's come down to the final two matches. It's crunch time.
Here's a quick preview of the biggest matches in Bavaria this weekend and the implications:
FC Bayern München at St. Pauli, Saturday, 15:30 - After losing every chance at hardware this season, FC Bayern Munich are scrambling for the last Champions League spot for the Bundesliga. After last week's win and Hanover's loss, the Reds hold a two point lead and have a +30 goal differential advantage. All Bayern...
Der Club move up table while Bayern gaining momentum in Bundesliga
easyCredit Stadium, Nuremberg - Alexander Esswein came into the match in the 60th minute and minutes later scored the only goal in the first Bavarian Derby of the Bundesliga season, as 1.FC Nürnberg beat FC Augsburg 1-0.
In a match void of any offensive flow, Esswein made a run on the left side, with some fancy dribbling turning around the defender Gibril Sankoh, created some space, and beat Augsburg goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch to the far post in the 76th minute.
"I am elated to have made that goal," said Esswein about his...
SGL Arena, Augsburg - FC Augsburg 07 went down 2-0 against a very well organised Hoffenheim outfit. Ryan Babel opened the scoring after just 5 minutes with a clinical strike on the edge of the penalty area after a mazy run. He coolly slotted the ball in low across goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch.
Augsburg were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute that Sascha Mölders took far too casually and was saved easily by Tom Starke who correctly guessed the direction to save it. At the other end Hoffenheim were also gifted a second-half penalty which Sejad Salihovic neatly tucked away for the...
Bundesliga 2nd Division Wrap
False start for 1860 There were great expectations for TSV 1860 München but the team fell short in the first match of the season against Eintracht Braunschweig with the result of 3-1.
The game started with a shock for the Munich Lions as Braunschweig scored in the 6th minute thanks to a header from the captain Dennis Kruppke, which allowed the loud home crowd to celebrate immediately. The long-praised defensive strength that 1860 displayed during the entire preseason vanished so quickly at the beginning of their first match.
After the goal Munich started to...
FC Augsburg earn promotion to Bundesliga with last gasp 2-1 win
impuls arena, Augsburg - "Jos we can win on mothers day!" were the words being held aloft on cards all around the sold out stadium. Word play on the name of Augsburg manager Jos Luhukay (pronounced 'yos') who´s team hosted FSV Frankfurt on a sunny afternoon in rural Bavaria.
Today was a historic day for FC Augsburg who for the first time in their history have reached the dizzy heights of the top flight of German league football. A win today was all that was needed to secure their promotion and despite conceding a penalty after...
Munich - It's Labor Day in Europe and the local football teams all put in an honest effort. FC Bayern rolled over FC Schalke 4-1 at the Allianz Arena Saturday afternoon, but they were not the only hardworking Munich or Bavarian football team this weekend. Here's your football wrap.
TSV 1860 München 2, Hertha BSC Berlin 1 - It's been a season of trials and tribulations - on and off the pitch - for the Lions. But this recent stretch and the match on Friday makes one wonder what could have been this season.
Defenders Necat Aygün and Stefan Buck scored in the second half as 1860 came from...
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