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Final Day Bundesliga Relegation Battle
18 May 2017, 10:33
Final Day Bundesliga Relegation Battle
Mitch Gunn /

In some of the top leagues in European football there is very little left to play for, with both the league title and relegation done and dusted.

However, that’s not the case in the Bundesliga and there is a thrilling day of action in prospect at the bottom of the league as Hamburg welcome Wolfsburg to the Volksparkstadion on Saturday afternoon.

As things stand in the Bundesliga relegation battle, the game is already up for Darmstadt and Ingolstadt, who have both been relegated.  This leaves one spot remaining for the relegation/promotion play-off at the end of the season and either Hamburg or Wolfsburg will take that position.

Hamburg currently occupy 16th place in the league, 2 points adrift of Wolfsburg.  However, if they can defeat Wolfsburg in this match, they will climb above them and into safety, leaving Wolfsburg to deal with the play-off.

Trends show Hamburg have been in poor form, winning only one of their previous seven Bundesliga games.  This run of games has left them in their current position and with three defeats and two draws from their last five games, they have almost forgotten what it feels like to win a football match.

On the plus side, they are playing the match at home and have lost only 2 of their previous 12 games in all competitions at the Volksparkstadion.  During that run of fixtures, Hamburg have defeated Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach, Koln and Hoffenheim.

Wolfsburg were very close to moving clear of the relegation play-off last week but as the weather caused them to leave the field during their match with Borussia Monchengladbach, Hamburg netted a late equaliser at Schalke.

Trends show Wolfsburg have won two of their last eight Bundesliga games, one at home to Ingolstadt and the other away at Eintracht Frankfurt.  With four defeats, including heavy losses at the hands of Schalke and Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg have sunk from Champions League quarter-finalists last season to Bundesliga relegation candidates.

Away from home, Wolfsburg have won two of their previous nine games in all competitions.  They have been very inconsistent and without the goals of striker Mario Gomez, could easily be further down the table than 15th place.

The team news coming out ahead of this game shows Hamburg have several injury concerns.  Nicolai Muller, Mergim Mavraj, Aaron Hunt and Tom Mickel are all doubtful.  Nabil Bahoui and Albin Ekdal are both back in training but Dennis Diekmeier is suspended.

Wolfsburg will travel without the suspended Riechedly Bazoer and Jeffrey Bruma who is injured.  Andries Jonker is waiting on the fitness of full-back Ricardo Rodriguez.

Wolfsburg are undefeated against Hamburg in their last eleven meetings and know a draw will be enough to keep them in the Bundesliga.  However, Hamburg have a good record at home and plenty of experience of being in this situation.

With so much at stake, this is a hugely tough match to call.  At some stage, if they cannot make an early breakthrough, Hamburg must attack and go for the win, making a draw seem unlikely.  On the balance of form home and away, a Hamburg win seems the best bet, which would be enough to send Wolfsburg into the relegation play-off.

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