One of Europe's top leagues is providing an interesting relegation battle, throwing some of the biggest German club names into the relegation mix.

Round 25 brought a few match-ups that certainly drew the attention of Germany's top division fans, particularly in the battle for relegation. Hamburger SV (HSV), looked left for dead about a month ago and seemed like the league's worst excuse of a club to battle for relegation. All of that has changed under new trainer Mirko Slomka, and the Bundesliga dinosaurs are now looking to stave off relegation. HSV, the only club in the top flight of Germany never to be relegated, find themselves in one of their most real battles to continue their legacy of never having played in the second division in Germany. HSV defeated Nuremburg 2-1 in a battle that found HSV leapfrogging their relegation rivals. HSV now sits out of the relegation zone.

Eintracht Braunschweig earned an important point against top club Vfl Wolfsburg in a 1-1 draw. Although many see Braunschweig as one of the teams certain to drop back into the second league, the league's caboose said "not so fast" this weekend. It appears Braunschweig is heading down, but they could still take points from teams in a few interesting battles to come.

Ah, VfB Stuttgart. What a fall from stardom after winning the league title in 06/07. The Swabian side boasts some promising young German talent, such as striker Timo Werner, who just penned a new deal with the club. The club, however, doesn't seem to boast that youthful exuberance throughout. Drawing 1-1 to Werder Bremen over the weekend, Stuttgart find themselves in an uphill climb in 17th place. Points are needed badly, but the Swabians haven't performed well in the second half of the season. Having gone through a carousel of trainers, VfB are hoping Huub Stevens can be the savior. Although the controversial trainer is not well loved in Hamburg or Gelsenkirchen, he could just be the right man of discipline to save VfB. Germans often compare Stevens to Felix Magath, who just took over Fulham. We shall see if the General's services save VfB.

Finally, in what had to be the most tasty pairing on the Sunday match-up of round 25, SC Freiburg thumped Eintracht Frankfurt 1-4. Christian Streich's men will be beaming with the points, as the result pulled Eintracht Frankfurt and trainer Armin Veh back into the relegation battle. Frankfurt seemed to be somewhat distancing themselves from the bottom of the pack, but the crushing defeat has put them back in the mix.

With all those results in mind, only 8 points separate 10th place and 17th place with nine games left to play. Conceivably, nobody is really immune from the drop from 10th place downward. The next three rounds of play should provide some clarity of who is going to battle to stay in the first league. Right now, many clubs are sweating it out, hoping to not catch the relegation bug.

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Attacking midfielder Alexander Meier has pledged his future to Eintracht Frankfurt, signing a new three-year contract with the Bundesliga club.

The Eagles announced on Friday that the giant Meier, who has scored six league goals this season including the winner against VfB Stuttgart last weekend, would be staying until June 2017.

"I feel good here and the club have always supported me, even throughout the hard times," said the 31-year-old Meier, who first joined Eintracht in 2004 from Hamburg.

Meier did however admit his disappointment that current coach Armin Veh, who he said had "brought so much to the club", would be leaving in the summer.


Eintracht Frankfurt coach Armin Veh confirmed on Monday he will leave the club at the end of the season. The 53-year-old will not extend his Frankfurt contract which expires in June after three years in charge.

"I don't have another club up my sleeve," said Veh, whose team came from behind to beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 on Sunday to leave them 12th in the Bundesliga table. "I spoke to the players and told them on Monday morning. I haven't yet decided what I'll do, but that's not to say that I'll take a year off."

Veh also had a humourous take on Frankfurt's situation as sporting director Bruno Huebner looks for his successor.

"Jupp Heynckes won everything with Bayern Munich last season after he announced he was leaving," quipped Veh, although his mid-table side are already out of both the Europa League and German Cup. Eintracht chairman Heribert Bruchhagen said he regrets Veh's decision.

"I wish he'd stay, we did all we could to make it happen," he said. Veh has enjoyed three successful seasons at Frankfurt, winning promotion back to the Bundesliga at his first attempt and then leading the team to Europa League qualification by finishing sixth in the 2012/13 season.

It was the first time in 19 years that Frankfurt had been involved in European competition, although they bowed out last week on away goals after drawing 3-3 at home with FC Porto in the second leg of their last-32 tie. Veh won the 2007 Bundesliga title as Stuttgart coach, although had less success in spells in charge of Wolfsburg and Hamburg.

When 12,000 fans traveled for a group clash against Bordeaux in a group stage match of the Europa League, with 17,000 in the crowd, it was obvious that regardless of how far Eintracht Frankfurt go in Europe the great fans will follow.

Being drawn against Porto of Portugal was a shame as the giants of the Iberian Peninsula had been making deep runs into both the Champions League and the Europa League, having recently won the latter in 2011. With 4,000 fans traveling in from Germany, Frankfurt found themselves going into the half down 1-0 after a Ricardo Quaresma long range blast negated a solid performance on defense against the favored Porto.

The offensive push from the hosts was starting to silence the boisterous traveling contingent and a second goal for Porto looked to seal the deal going into the second leg until it changed with one kick. Joselu was hovering outside of the box in the 72nd minute and got his ball deflected out of the box when he put boot to ball. 

From outside of the box he let loose a long range blast that found its way into the corner of the net to give belief that Die Adler could make it happen. To top off the effort in the comeback was an own goal in the 77nd minute to seal the 2-2 draw in comeback fashion.

Now Porto is dealing with problems domestically in Portugal and look for a solution. Frankfurt has been distancing themselves from their earlier relegation woes and now with new belief in their chances of making the next round of the Europa League.

With the unique opportunity of making a substantial run in Europe, where the club has great history and tradition, the fans will make one of the best atmosphere's in all Europe known as they play against a Porto team that will be reeling.

This is the time for Frankfurt to return to the big time and for them to make a name for themselves as a leader of Europe.
Bayern Munich warmed up for Wednesday's Champions League last 16, first-leg clash at Arsenal by trouncing Freiburg 4-0 on Saturday to stretch their Bundesliga lead to 16 points. Coach Pep Guardiola rested several Bayern stars ahead of the clash with the Gunners in London, but still started with 10 internationals against strugglers Freiburg.

Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who netted twice, and veteran Peru striker Claudio Pizarro took their chances with goals in the rout at Munich's Allianz Arena, and Guardiola's side extended their record unbeaten league run to 46 matches. With second-placed Bayer Leverkusen hosting Schalke 04 on Saturday night, Bayern took the chance to extend their huge lead at the top of the table.

Brazil center-back Dante opened the scoring when he headed home on 19 minutes, and Shaqiri added the second on 34 minutes after a superb reverse pass from Pizarro fell into his path and he fired home. The stocky Swiss then added his second just before the break, while Pizarro added a fourth two minutes from time.

Kumbela treble sinks Hamburg

Meanwhile, ex-Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk is under increasing pressure as Hamburg suffered an eighth straight defeat, crashing 4-2 at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig. Routed 5-0 by Bayern in the German Cup on Wednesday, Hamburg have now lost their last seven league games, an unwelcome club record.

Hamburg took the lead when striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga grabbed the opening goal on his return from injury on 23 minutes. But Democratic Republic of Congo-born Dominick Kumbela came off the bench to score twice for bottom side Braunschweig before Croatia midfielder Ivo Ilicevic appeared to save Hamburg's blushes with the equalizer 14 minutes from time.

However, Kumbela wrapped up his hat-trick when he pounced in a goal-mouth scramble after another mistake from Hamburg's German international goalkeeper Rene Adler. To add to the visitors' misery, midfielder Jan Hochscheidt scored Braunschweig's fourth -- the 51st goal Hamburg have conceded this season -- in the third minute of added time. The result means Hamburg remain second from bottom, but now only four points separate the bottom five teams.


Borussia Dortmund face mounting injury woes for Tuesday's German Cup quarter-final at Eintracht Frankfurt with Bayern Munich also out to secure their semi-final berth at Hamburg.

Dortmund suffered a double injury blow over the weekend with both Germany midfielders Marco Reus and Sven Bender ruled out of the trip to Frankfurt.

Left winger Reus suffered a torn right thigh in Saturday's 5-1 Bundesliga hammering of Werder Bremen and will be out for a fortnight, while defensive midfielder Bender has a thigh strain and misses the next week.

Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp said the Bremen win meant Borussia headed to Frankfurt in buoyant mood after Poland striker Robert Lewandowski and attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan both scored twice.

"From the first seconds, we saw what we want to see every week," said Klopp, with Dortmund third in the league and set to face Zenit St Petersburg in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"That was a game where there was nothing to criticize."

In a double-header, Frankfurt host 2012 German Cup winners Dortmund in the cup on Tuesday, then travel to Borussia's Westfalenstadion on Saturday for a league match.

The double injury blow is more bad news for Klopp who lost Germany defender Mats Hummels last week after the center-back injured his foot in a friendly and will miss the Frankfurt double-header.

Klopp is already without both center-back Neven Subotic and winger Jakub Blaszczykowski for the rest of the season as the pair have torn knee ligament injuries.

Frankfurt also have a few injury concerns with captain Pirmin Schwegler carrying a rib injury and fellow midfielder Johannes Flum, who scored in Saturday's 3-0 win over bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig, has a thigh strain.

"We normally do well against Borussia at home, we lost 2-1 to them earlier this season and drew 3-3 last season, which was a real spectacle," said Eintracht midfielder Alexander Maier.

"If we put in our best performance, we make it tough for any team to beat us and we'll try everything to pull off a shock."

European champions Bayern travel to Hamburg in Wednesday's ties while Bayer Leverkusen are home to second division Kaiserslautern, in the only non-Bundesliga clash, and Hoffenhem are home to VfL Wolfsburg.

Bayern, who are on a record 45 match unbeaten league run, are peerless in the Bundesliga and are on course to repeat last year's treble of European, league and cup titles.

Hamburg are in chaos having been booed by their own fans on Saturday after crashing to a sixth-straight league defeat, a club record, on Saturday as they were routed 3-0 at home by Hertha Berlin.

Coach Bert van Marwijk has been given a job guarantee by director of sport Oliver Kreuzer until at least Saturday's Bundesliga match at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig, but first come Bayern in the cup.

Pep Guardiola's Bayern have already beaten Hamburg 3-1 in Munich last December while the European champions warmed up for their Hamburg Sojourn with a 2-0 win at Nuremberg on Saturday.


Bayer Leverkusen's German title hopes suffered a setback on Sunday with a shock 1-0 home defeat to struggling Eintracht Frankfurt.

Leverkusen, who booked their place in the Champions League last 16 in midweek, remain in second place but are seven points behind Bayern Munich.

Eintracht, who had not won for 10 matches, scored the only goal on the hour mark with Marco Russ heading in a corner from Sebastian Jung.

The visitors squandered an opportunity to add to their tally in the sixth minute of injury time but Joselu had a penalty saved by Bernd Leno.

Schalke eased the pressure on coach Jens Keller with a 2-0 win over Freiburg.

Schalke, who have also made the Champions League last 16, moved into sixth place after an own goal from Nicolas Hofler and a Jefferson Farfan penalty. It was the Peruvian's 10th goal in all competitions this season.

"It wasn't our best match," said Keller. "But we have had enough bad luck recently. For once, luck was on our side."