The Bundesliga draws to a close this weekend and there is a certain air of purposelessness about it all. Bayern Munich are champions, Borussia Dortmund are second, and it’s a scrap between the rest for the remaining European places.
But let’s not underestimate the achievements of Hansi Flick, who turned Bayern’s season around after a very shaky start. Die FCB lead by ten points going into the final slate of fixtures and the weekend will be about finishing on a high for a side that has totally dominated since the restart in May.
The final-day equation is simple enough for sixth-placed Wolfsburg: match or better seventh placed Hoffenheim’s result at Dortmund and the Wolves will qualify directly for the Europa League group stage. Failure to do so will mean a long, difficult road through the various qualifying rounds. A superior goal difference has them in the driving seat in any case, thanks in no small part to talisman Wout Weghorst.
Where to Watch
Wolfsburg will be without forward Admir Mehmedi and defenders William and Paulo Otavio through injury. Experienced midfielder Ignacio Camacho is a slight doubt with an ankle problem.
Full back Benjamin Pavard will be given the final weekend off, with Real Madrid loanee Alvaro Odriozola set to start. Philippe Coutinho remains sidelined following ankle surgery.
Skipper Manuel Neuer will return after sitting out the last match against Freiburg, moreover because he will be on trophy lifting duty after the match. The only other injury absences are youngsters Jann-Fiete Arp and Lars Lukas Mai.
Wolfsburg: Casteels; Mbabu, Pongracic, Brooks, Roussillon; Gerhardt, Arnold; Steffen, Schlager, Brekalo; Weghorst.
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Odriozola, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Müller, Coman; Lewandowski.
Wolfsburg have been a little inconsistent since the restart, though defeats to Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach have been balanced out with thumping wins over Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen.
6’7 Dutch monster Weghorst has hit five goals in his last four appearances, including a brace against Freiburg and two more in the 4-1 defeat of Schalke last time out.
Bayern on the other hand have been the model of total dominance since the return. They have won all of their matches, scoring 23 goals and conceding just six. Robert Lewandowski has had his most prolific campaign and now has the most goals from a foreign player in a single season for the club with 33.
The last time these sides met was at the Allianz Arena in December, when goals from youngster Joshua Zirkzee and the ever improving Serge Gnabry gave the home side a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Both sides’ recent form in all competitions is below:
Schalke 1-4 Wolfsburg (20/6)
Borussia Monchengladbach 3-0 Wolfsburg (16/6)
Wolfsburg 2-2 Freiburg (13/6)
Werder Bremen 0-1 Wolfsburg (7/6)
Wolfsburg 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt (30/5)
Bayern Munich 3-1 Freiburg (20/6)
Werder Bremen 0-1 Bayern Munich (16/6)
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach (13/6)
Bayern Munich 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (10/6)
Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Bayern Munich (6/6)
It’s the final game of the season and Bayern, despite having the title in the bag, will not ease off their intensely aggressive style and ruthlessness in front of goal. It’s going to take a very good performance from Wolfsburg to manage even a draw here.
Despite the presence of Weghorst and the Wolves’ need for a win to solidify a European spot, it’s hard to look past the champions to take all three points here to start the unfortunately fan-less party, as they celebrate their remarkable eighth Bundesliga crown in a row.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1-3 Bayern Munich