Dortmund closing in on title
Borussia Dortmund could be crowned Bundesliga champions this weekend before they even take to the field against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday evening.
The Dortmund team will be permitted to do a lap of honour at the Westfalenstadion before their match against Gladbach if Bayern Munich fail to beat Werder Bremen, making the title Dortmund's for the second year in succession.
If Bayern do beat Bremen, a win for Dortmund would nevertheless secure the crown and earn Jurgen Klopp's men the second star for five Bundesliga titles.
''We are not popping open the champagne until we have reason to do so,'' said Klopp after last weekend's 2-1 win at Schalke gave them an eight-point cushion at the top.
Like a year ago, Dortmund are set to clinch the title with two games to go.
''We have already lost the Bundesliga,'' said Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery on Sky television. ''We are now focusing on the Champions League''.
The Champions League is also on Monchengladbach's minds as they can book their place in that competition and seal a return to Europe after a 16-year absence by becoming the first club in 25 attempts to beat Dortmund.
''There is a lot at stake for us,'' said Gladbach forward Marco Reus, who will join Dortmund in the summer. We want to qualify directly for the Champions League group stage. We will be travelling there to win. We still have a big chance of clinching third place and we will try to get it.''
The title is not the only thing likely to be decided this weekend. Kaiserslautern's relegation to the second division will be sealed if they fail to win, or if Cologne pick up a point against Stuttgart, regardless of how the Red Devils fair.
Hertha Berlin are their hosts and they could be joining them in the second division next season too with both sides currently occupying the automatic relegation berths.
Stuttgart can clinch a place in the Europa League with victory in Cologne, while Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover will be bidding to join them with wins at Hoffenheim and at home to Freiburg, respectively, giving them the opportunity to seal a top-seven finish next weekend.
Wolfsburg have not totally given up on sneaking into the top seven and they can reduce the arrears to a single point with a win in Mainz but their hosts still need one more win to be mathematically safe.
Elsewhere, Nurnberg host Hamburg with Schalke travelling to Augsburg on Sunday.