European exits and Bundesliga existence on the line in this preview of the 30th match day.
Three teams entered the second leg of their European quarterfinals. Each behind on aggregate needing comebacks. And each did not succeed.
In the Europa League, Schalke hosted Amsterdam Ajax. Down 2-0 but at the end of 90 minutes had found two goals. This was giving hope to fans who experience a roller coaster on a regular basis. Nick a goal in extra time to concede twice before the end. 3-2 win in the match but a heart breaking 4-3 on aggregate when victory was in their grasp.
Bayern Munich had 45 shots in this second leg. As a registered USSF referee with close to 1000 matches officiated it is okay to say a rather poorly officiated match. Carlo Ancelloti had the match in his hand. Momentum in his corner despite the referee. Sadly nobody told him to take of Arturo Vidal. End of the story was Bayern defeated in the match 4-2. That is 6-3 on aggregate. Not so good.
There was some belief that Dortmund could go to Monaco could pull off the victory. But that didn’t happen. With royalty in attendance Monaco showed why they are the most exciting team in the world at the moment. 3-1 victors in the match. 6-3 on aggregate. Fact is the better team won over two matches. Should it have happened over two matches? No but that is on UEFA.
Matches of the Week
Hoffenheim starts our week off with a visit to Koln. TSG has the opportunity to make sure that the Champions League is happening next campaign. That is an interesting carrot for player recruitment. In addition to the fact is that Julian Naglesmann is being sought after my bigger foreign clubs because of his success with a team that at one point in February a year ago was looking to be relegated. Win in Cologne and those dreams are becoming reality.
For FC Koln the Europa League places are right there. Fact is they have dropped points here and there and should be not far off the Champions League places as opposed to the Europa League places. Anthony Modeste cannot always score the goals. While he has been scoring for fun a team that plays a pressing game like Hoffenheim will disrupt their normal flow. Finding a goal or two elsewhere will mean the difference in winning and a draw. That aside with teams dropping points Europe is still a real possibility and a sign of incremental growth.
Borussia Dortmund just cannot seem to focus. They looked discombobulated against Monaco. Now they are trying to not finish in fourth and the Champions League playoff. Sadly for them they play on a Saturday after mid week action for the third straight week. Despite going out of the Champions League they play midweek again in the Pokal against……..Bayern Munich. Should a win occur on Saturday perhaps they catch Hoffenheim while they play in a tough game vs Koln.
While Dortmund has their issues so does Gladbach. While there was the new manager bounce that placed the Foals within touching distance of the Europa League accidents have occurred. They made the DFB Pokal semifinal but were dumped out of the Europa League. They had a strong run to start the ruckrunde. But that has sputtered. Teams around them have dropped points but the other Borussia has not capitalized. Should they make a jump it will have to be against a Dortmund who might be out for blood?
Bundesliga on Fox Schedule
Friday is the best of the week. Two European chasing teams in Hoffenheim and Koln giving battle. Lot is on the line in terms of future money. Catch this match on Fox Sports 2.
Saturday is always full of Bundesliga action. The early slate features Bayern Munich vs Mainz 05 on FS2, HSV and Darmstadt on Fox Soccer Plus, and Eintracht Frankfurt vs Augsburg on Fox Sports Deportes. Saturday topspiel on FS2 has Borussia Dortmund take on Borussia Monchengladbach.
Sunday doubleheader is on FS2. Freiburg faces Bayer Leverkusen in the early match. Immediately following is Schalke 04 vs RB Leipzig.