SK/OT. Sasha and Anderlecht’s season is on the line this weekend
Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread
Crunch Time: Decision Day. With the exception of one or two senior leagues (that complete their seasons next weekend) this is the big one. England, Italy and Germany will all finalize their seasons this weekend. The winners go on to Europe, or get promoted, the losers go home or get relegated.
Lets call Saturday Germany Day. It’s a big day for US Players in Germany at both ends of the Bundesliga table. Schalke visit Freiburg and this has to be the game of the day in Germany. #4 Schalke are currently in the final UCL place on 52 points. They lead #5 Freiburg by a single point going into this finale. A win or a draw gets them through, but Freiburg are no push-overs as Jermaine Jones and Schalke know, they are 0-1 this season, and where beaten 3-1 by Freiburg at home in December. To Close to Call
At the other end of the table #17 Hoffenheim, who have struggled all season, have the unenviable task of traveling to #2 Dortmund and will need an unlikely win to avoid straight out relegation to 2.Bundesliga. Head to Head Dortmund have the advantage, and beat Hoffenheim in Sinsheim 3-1 earlier in the season. Hoffenheim have beaten the teams around them over the past five weeks, but against stronger opposition (Schalke) they were well beaten. Sadly Hoffenheim lose this one and Fabian, Danny and co. are set to prepare for life in 2.Bundesliga next season. Augsburg and Michael Parkhurst are not out of the woods yet either, even if Hoffenheim loses, # 16 Augsburg will need a win and a little luck. The good news is that the odds are in their favor. Augsburg welcomes already relegated #18 Furth into their home and that should result in the three points they are desperate for. #15 Dusseldorf share the same points total, and only lead Augsburg on goal differential, travel to #9 Hannover and, newly re-signed, Steve Cherundolo. Dusseldorf are leading this seasons tally 1-0, after beating Hannover 2-1 in December, but times have changed for Dusseldorf, who’s first season back in Bundesliga since 1986 has not gone well, and they could find themselves in the relegation playoff against Kaiserslautern (2.Bundesliga /third place). Hannover wins/Dusseldorf Relegation playoff.
Talking about 2.Bundesliga, the promotions are already set as the teams set up to wrap up on Sunday. Hertha Berlin and John Brooks will be plying their trade in the Bundesliga next season after topping 2.Bundesliga. Eintracht Braunschweig take the other promotion spot (so glad no US players are with them – typing their name during weekend commentary would take ages) and the aforementioned Kaiserslautern take the promotion playoff spot. Unfortunately we do lose Andrew Wooten and Sandhausen, who are relegated to 3.Liga. Andrew had a pretty good season with seven goals, second on the team.
In 3.Liga, Preussen Munster and Matt Taylor, who up to a month ago led the division, will be hard pressed to even make the promotional playoff. Their last three games have only yielded one point, and in a league where the top five teams are only separated by seven points, that’s just not good enough. Matt has had a phenomenal season scoring 15 goals in the league and three more in the DFB cup. Saturday #5 Preussen Munster will be at home to #19 Babelsberg. Munster should get the win (and Babelsberg relegated) and then will have to wait on the results from Heidenheim and Osnabruck, both whom are playing relegation candidates at home. Munster Wins/fail to get promoted. At the bottom of 3.Liga, Darmstadt and Preston Zimmerman are battling for survival. There are just two points that separate #19 from #16, all four teams are hoping for a positive result on Saturday. Two of the four teams will be in Regionalliga next season. As fate would have it #18 Darmstadt are at home to #16 Stuttgarter Kickers, who Darmstadt visited earlier this season and came away with a point in a 1-1 draw. Whichever way it goes, Preston Zimmerman had a great season, scoring seven league goals to lead his team. Going out on a limb, Darmstadt Wins/Stuttgarter Kickers are relegated.
Usually I comment on the whole weekend, as this is Decision Day Weekend, I will continue this piece on Saturday night for Sunday – Covering England and Italy and a closer look at #1 Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan’s game against #2 Zulte-Waregem.
Join me Saturday morning for the “Thread”, let me know if you agree with my predictions and let me know your predictions for Saturday and Sunday.