Berlin (AFP) – The Bundesliga’s relegation fight will go to the wire on Saturday with Wolfsburg and Hamburg battling to avoid joining Cologne in going down.
At the other end of the table, Liverpool-bound Naby Keita wants to sign off with a win for RB Leipzig, one of four teams chasing a direct Champions League berth, while the beer is set to flow in Munich.
Here are five things to look for on the final day of the Bundesliga season:
Hamburg’s last hope
Hamburg, the only club to have played every season since the Bundesliga started in 1963, must beat Borussia Moenchengladbach — and hope Wolfsburg lose to Cologne — to avoid direct relegation.
Even if results go their way, the best Hamburg can hope for is 16th place and a two-legged relegation play-off against second division club Holstein Kiel.
US striker Bobby Wood, who failed to score in last weekend’s defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, is expected to make way with midfielder Aaron Hunt used as a centre forward and Filip Kostic on the wing.
Buoyed by wins over Schalke, Freiburg and Wolfsburg in recent weeks, Hamburg’s top scorer Lewis Holtby, who has scored four of his five goals this season in the last six games, will provide support from midfield.
Mid-table Gladbach have only a mathematical chance of a top six finish to qualify for the Europa League, but have key trio Jannik Vestergaard, Christoph Kramer and Denis Zakaria back from suspension.
All at stake for Wolfsburg
The pressure will also be high at Wolfsburg.
They need at least a point against Cologne, who are already relegated, to secure 16th place and a play-off, but victory would mean automatic survival if Freiburg, one place above, lose at home to Augsburg.
Striker Divock Origi, on loan from Liverpool, is expected to play his final game for Wolfsburg, while captain Paul Verhaegh will resume his place at right-back following suspension.
Cologne will farewell Claudio Pizarro, 39, the top-scoring foreigner in the Bundesliga with 192 goals who is out of contract, and are playing only for pride after four seasons in Germany’s top flight.
Clash for Europe
Both Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim are hoping to secure Champions League berths when they meet on Saturday.
A point would be enough for third-placed Dortmund, while a draw would also do for Hoffenheim, who are fourth, providing Bayer Leverkusen don’t beat mid-table Hanover.
“I trust us to pick up the point – or the win – that we need. It’s a tight set-up in the table, but Hoffenheim have to take all the risks,” said Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger.
Dortmund winger Marco Reus, who has scored six goals in 10 games after a serious knee injury, hopes to be named in Germany’s provisional World Cup squad on Tuesday.
Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller could feature off the bench in his 349th and final Bundesliga match for Dortmund before retiring.
Hoffenheim are without Germany winger Serge Gnabry, who scored seven goals in eight games before injury struck, while striker Mark Uth makes his final appearance before joining Schalke.
Liverpool-bound Naby Keita wants to sign off with an away win against Hertha Berlin to keep alive RB Leipzig’s slim hopes of reaching the Champions League.
“Naby wants a positive performance. He’s very motivated after his suspension,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.
The Guinea midfielder will make his final appearance after missing their 4-1 win against Wolfsburg with suspension for being sent off for the fourth time this season.
Leipzig’s Champions League hopes depend on a win at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, plus Leverkusen and Hoffenheim losing at home to Hanover and Dortmund respectively.
Mid-table Hertha having nothing at stake, but Ademola Lookman, on loan from Everton, will want to add to the two goals he scored last weekend on his final appearance for Leipzig.
Beer showers in Munich
The beer is set to flow at the Allianz Arena when Bayern Munich lift the Bundesliga trophy for the sixth straight season on Jupp Heynckes final home game.
After the final whistle against Stuttgart, Bayern will be handed the trophy and the traditional ‘beer showers’ will start when players hunt each other with over-sized glasses of beer.
Heynckes, who turned 73 on Wednesday, will be a hot target before he leaves to be replaced as head coach by Niko Kovac next season.
Heynckes is expected to name a full-strength side to warm-up for the German Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt the following Saturday.
Saturday’s fixtures (all times 1330 GMT)
Bayern Munich v Stuttgart, Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin v RB Leipzig, Freiburg v Augsburg, Schalke v Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen v Hanover 96, Hamburg v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Mainz v Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg v Cologne.