Frankfurt out to spoil Dortmund party on last day
Eintracht Frankfurt has to spoil Borussia Dortmund's title celebrations on Saturday to have any hope of avoiding relegation on the final day of the Bundesliga season.
Frankfurt is in the worst position of the three teams fighting to avoid joining already demoted St. Pauli.
The club is one point below Borussia Moenchengladbach and Wolfsburg plus is without a win in six games since Christoph Daum took over as coach, and it has the worst attack in the league with only 30 goals scored.
Moenchengladbach has momentum after winning three games in a row as it travels to Hamburger SV, while Wolfsburg - which has a superior goal difference - will be safe if it wins at Hoffenheim.
Bayern Munich can overtake second-place Bayer Leverkusen to clinch an automatic Champions League spot on superior goal difference if it beats Stuttgart at home, and if Leverkusen loses at Freiburg in a game neither coach is desperate to win.
Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes takes over at Bayern next season and will be replaced by Freiburg's Robin Dutt, meaning a loss for either would benefit their future clubs.
Daum, who has endured the worst ever start by a coach in the Bundesliga, is still waiting for his first win.
"It's no longer in our hands," the 57-year-old Daum acknowledged.
A draw for Eintracht would only be enough for the playoff spot on goal difference if Moenchengladbach loses, but off-field trouble is threatening to overshadow efforts.
Riot police used pepper spray to protect players from angry fans last week, and fans threw stones at the team's coach the week before.
Daum showed some of his irritation when he complained of "unscrupulous" reporting from the local press.
"We're vulnerable, we're on the ground. All right - destroy us. But we'll be back, you can count on it," the former Cologne and Leverkusen coach said.
Extra security arrangements have been made for the game on Saturday, when Dortmund will be presented with the league trophy. But Frankfurt president Peter Fischer's insulting description of Borussia - made while attempting to calm rampaging fans - will do little to diffuse the atmosphere of another 80,720-capacity crowd.
The game will be shown live in 196 countries.
Moenchengladbach defender Dante has promised to shave his distinctive hair if his side manages to avoid relegation.
"First we have to reach our goal," the 27-year-old Brazilian said. "We cannot relax in 16th place. That's why we're fully concentrated on winning in Hamburg."
Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre agreed: "We've had to win every game since I've been here, and that is also now the case in Hamburg."
Hamburg is already planning for next season and several players are leaving the club, including Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and Brazilian Ze Roberto - who has made 336 Bundesliga appearances, a record for a foreigner.
If Wolfsburg secure survival, coach Felix Magath will exchange his bonus of a ?250,000 ($360,000) Bentley Continental Cabrio for six Volkswagen multivans to be given to local charities.
"I want to make it clear that everyone must be ready to give everything for survival," Magath said on the club website. "And if something good comes of that, even better."
Influential midfielder Diego is optimistic of recovering from muscle problems to play in what will be Hoffenheim coach Marco Pezzaiuoli's last game.
Fellow Brazilian Josue should also be fit for Magath's side.
Heynckes dismissed suggestions that he would be upset if Munich finished third and had to qualify for the Champions League.
"What rubbish! I'll be happy if we win because then I'll have brought Bayer fully over the line. It's to crown the development of the past two years," the 66-year-old Heynckes told Kicker magazine on Thursday.
Dutt, the Freiburg coach, also rejected notions of a conflict of interest.
"I find even the question of whether there is a conflict of interest lacks respect," Dutt said.
It will be Leverkusen and former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia's last game before the 37-year-old retires to focus on a coaching career.
Bayern forward Thomas Mueller increased the psychological pressure on Heynckes' side when he suggested it was in Leverkusen's nature to fail at the last under pressure.
"History has shown which clubs can handle the pressure and which can't," the 21-year-old Mueller said. "We hope Leverkusen lives up to its reputation."
Bundesliga top scorer Mario Gomez will hope to add to his season tally of 27 goals for Bayern against his former side.
Even a draw is enough for Leverkusen to secure second place.
"The whole club and the fans deserve to qualify directly for the Champions League after such a good season," Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling said.
Fourth-place Hannover is involved in a fight with Mainz for the Europa League playoff spot, with the loser settling for qualification.
Hannover hosts Nuremberg, and Mainz hosts St. Pauli in coach Holger Stanislawski's last game before he takes over at Hoffenheim.
Cologne hosts Schalke and Werder Bremen plays at Kaiserslautern with nothing at stake in either game.
All games take place on Saturday afternoon.