Bundesliga preview: Dortmund, Leverkusen continue title battle
Borussia Dortmund's title push takes them to Hamburg, while chasers Bayer Leverkusen host strugglers St Pauli in the weekend's Bundesliga action.
With just six matches remaining and a seven-point lead atop the league, Juergen Klopp's Dortmund side are raging favourites to claim their seventh German title.
They avoided a scare in the title run-in after coming from behind to defeat fourth-placed Hannover 4-1 on Saturday and will fancy their chances against a Hamburg side who have won just one of their last five matches.
But as he has been all season, Klopp remains reserved and wary of Leverkusen, who are unbeaten in seven Bundesliga matches, winning six of them.
"We have to pocket a lot more points if you want to stay at the top," Klopp told German magazine Kicker.
"Bayer can win their last six games and I even see them beating Bayern Munich next weekend, because, judging by the current state of things, they are better than Bayern."
"For me nothing has changed (after the Hanover win), I am only interested in what happens at the end (of the season)."
Klopp believes Leverkusen are "98.6 percent likely to beat St Pauli" when the two sides collide at the Bay Arena on Sunday.
The visitors will miss Fin Bartels and Jan Kalla through suspension after the pair both were sent off in their 2-0 loss to Schalke on Friday, making the task for Holger Stanislawski's side even more difficult.
Bayern Munich, Leverkusen's rivals for the second spot in the league which would guarantee UEFA Champions League participation, travel to sixth-placed Nuremberg on Saturday aiming to keep the pressure on Bayer, who are seven points ahead of them in second.
Another side in form, Schalke, host Wolfsburg just days after their Champions League heroics at the San Siro.
The 10th placed side defeated Inter Milan 5-2 in Italy on Tuesday, almost assuring themselves of a spot in the semi-finals, and now come up against their former manager Felix Magath, who was sacked just three weeks ago, in this intriguing fixture.
Werder Bremen boss Thomas Schaaf said he believed the German top flight had improved its quality in recent times ahead of their Friday trip to Eintracht Frankfurt.
"I think the German Bundesliga has made big progress. We have a good ranking, the Bundesliga is highly thought of. It is very popular and we have a massive fan base, we maybe have the best stadiums. We developed the football skills, we show that week after week and we have players who can present themselves in a very good way," Schaaf said.
"This match (against Frankfurt) is not about the championship. I think everybody will have noticed so far, that both teams want to free themselves from the lower region of the table. Then it is always about getting points and that is our aim as well. In the first instance the concrete result is marginal. Maybe it's important to get away from teams that are close by, but for us that what counts is the fact that this is a match where we need to get three points and that is the most important."
Other highlights of the weekend see fourth take on fifth when Hannover host Mainz.
Freiburg and Hoffenheim are separated by a point and meet on Saturday, while the late fixture on the same day sees Stuttgart meet Kaiserslautern in a battle of two struggling sides.
Bottom-side Borussia Monchengladbach need to beat Cologne at home on Sunday to have any chance of avoiding relegation.