The top four race has seen twists and turn all season long and unfortunately for Frankfurt fans, this weekend could prove to be the defining twist in the race. Many thought that Dortmund’s shot of claiming top four was all but over after Eintracht’s 2-1 win over the Black & Yellows back in April. Since then, BVB have gone on a five-game win-streak, gaining confidence and momentum from their solid two-leg performance against Manchester City in the Champions League. This, coinciding with a dip of form for both Frankfurt and Wolfsburg, has allowed the Black & Yellows to re-enter the fold. With three games remaining, Frankfurt had to win. However, on Sunday May 9th, they blew their shot at regaining 4th place, slipping out of the top four for the first time since January.
With Wolfsburg and Dortmund winning their matches on Saturday, all the pressure was on Frankfurt to follow suit and claim victory on Sunday. Unfortunately, the pressure was too much for Die Adler to take, and things could have been even worse had it not been for a late goal to draw their game against Mainz level.Embed from Getty Images
Karim Onisiwo opened the scoring for Mainz early on in the first half after a shot from outside the box. Although it was a fantastic strike, Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp could’ve certainly done more. From then on it was difficult for Adi Hütter’s team to break down Bo Svensson’s rough and rugged defense. Onisiwo missed a clear chance to increase Mainz’s advantage in a one-on-one against Trapp in the second half, but this time the German stuck to his task. Frankfurt needed a moment of magic to unlock Mainz’s defense, and that moment of magic came with an outrageous goal in the 85th minute, from 24-year-old Ajdin Hrustic. The Australian midfielder’s stunning equalizer earned Frankfurt a draw, keeping their Champions Leauge hopes alive. But, Frankfurt fans will be wondering what could have been had they turned up the heat earlier on, and now Hütter’s team go into the final two matchdays with the race in Dortmund’s hands.Embed from Getty Images
With two games to go, Borussia Dortmund take the lead for 4th place with 58 points, while Frankfurt falls to 5th with 57. While Frankfurt’s final two matches are to the already relegated Schalke 04 and 9th place Freiburg, any opponent can be a difficult one when the team feels the magnitude and the pressure of the situation. The UEFA Champions League is the biggest competition in club football, and Frankfurt might be suffering from a case of an imposter-syndrome at the moment, as their poor run of form continues.
Dortmund, on the other hand, have been in great form. They’ve won their previous five fixtures in all competitions, after losing to Manchester City in the Champions League quarterfinals in mid-April. However, they face the tougher schedule of the two, going face to face with Bo Svensson’s revamped Mainz team, and hosting 6th place Leverkusen. Third-place Wolfsburg could also theoretically be caught, although Frankfurt’s draw extends Wolfsburg’s lead over Die Adler to 3-points with two games to go. The Wolves play Leipzig and Mainz in their final two fixtures, which could prove to be a tremendously difficult way to end the season. With those fixtures still to come, the race for third and fourth looks set to go right down to the wire.
Even though the Bundesliga title has already been decided in favor of Bayern Munich, the hunt for the Champions League is certainly ongoing, and sure to continue to excite with new plots to keep fans engaged right up until the end of the season.