2. Bundesliga Matchday 27 Preview: Who will grab the points as the relegation battle heats up?

It's the business end of the season, and teams at the top and bottom are going in search of victories.

2. Bundesliga Matchday 27 Preview: Who will grab the points as the relegation battle heats up?
2. Bundesliga Matchday 27 Preview (image credit: Kicker)

There are important games at both ends of the 2. Bundesliga table this weekend, which could have huge a bearing on deciding the fate of certain sides.

17th host 18th in Friday's stand out match

Strugglers SC Paderborn and MSV Duisburg meet in a huge bottom of the table clash, with bottom-club Duisburg currently five points behind their opponents on Friday evening.  

However, separating the two sides could prove difficult. Despite their precarious positions in the table, both sides come into this match on the back of victories, and each have unbeaten runs of three matches.

Paderborn won in St. Pauli last time out, where they picked up a fantastic result in a pulsating game, rewarded with three points in a 3-4 win.

Duisburg also took maximum points, for only the third time this season, when they beat Union Berlin 2-1 at home. The result of this match could have a huge bearing on how the remainder of the relegation scrap will pan out.

Action from Duisburg's 2-1 victory over Union Berlin last weekend (image via: sportschau.de)
Action from Duisburg's 2-1 victory over Union Berlin last weekend (image via: sportschau.de)

Elsewhere on Friday night, FSV Frankfurt, who also are right in the relegation mix, make the trip to Heidenheim.

FSV have only won once since early December, and have lost their last two matches, conceding seven in the process. They travel to a Heidenheim side who, in contrast, have lost just once since December, and although their hopes of a promotion push are over, they'll want to continue this impressive streak and finish the season strongly.

Friday's final offering is a mid-table match between two sides struggling for consistency - Union Berlin and Eintracht Braunschweig. Both teams look set for consolidating seasons and will most likely meet again in the same division in 2016/17.

Union, however, are impressive at home, and have won their last three home matches, but do seem to struggle on the road, losing three in succession.

The visitors, Eintracht Braunschweig, have won just once since December, and have struggled for goals since losing Emil Berggreen to Mainz, and in doing so have slipped down the standings to a comfortable, but below-par 8th.

Two more relegation candidates do battle

On Saturday, third-bottom club Fortuna Düsseldorf host Kaiserslautern, who themselves aren't clear of danger.

Separated by seven points and four places, both sides are in need of points in order to distance themselves from the bottom pack. The two clubs have lost their last four matches in a row and are winless since matchday 21, when they both registered victories.

After successive defeats, St. Pauli's hopes of making the top three seem to be fading fast. They've now slipped to 5th and have eight points to make up on 3rd placed Nürnberg. If they're to mount a late challenge, they really need to put together a string of victories, starting on Saturday lunchtime, when they visit Sandhausen.

The hosts halted a run of four defeats in a row last weekend by beating Fortuna Düsseldorf, and should be comfortable in mid-table. St. Pauli won't have given up hope yet though, and with Freiburg and Nürnberg still both to play, they'll be sure to push both sides as far as they can.

Promotion favourites square off on Sunday afternoon

There's no doubt about the biggest game on Sunday, and the biggest game concerning teams at the top - with table-toppers RB Leipzig travelling to third-place Nürnberg.

Separated by just six points, the hosts have the chance to close the gap on the leaders to just three points, if they can emerge victorious in this match. Nürnberg's increasingly impressive unbeaten run has showed no signs of letting up, and they'll be in confident mood when Leipzig come to town.

Leipzig have, however, stuttered on a couple of occasions in recent weeks, losing two of their last six to teams around them; St. Pauli and Freiburg. Nürnberg haven't lost at home in the league all season, but Leipzig are the best travellers in the 2. Bundesliga, so a tight contest is to be expected.

VfL Bochum, who leapfrogged St. Pauli into 4th last weekend, still hold a glimmer of hope of challenging for a top three spot, particularly if RB Leipzig manage to win in Nürnberg. If results go in Bochum's favour, the seasons early pacesetters could cut the gap on 3rd place to just four points, with seven games to play.

Bochum too boast an impressive home record, and haven't lost there in the league since Leipzig visited way back in October of last year. Their opponents this weekend are Greuther Fürth, a side out of promotion contention, safe from danger, but struggling for any sort of consistency. It's clear Bochum need the points more than their counterparts, but on their day, Fürth can be a handful for any side.

Two sides vying to stay in Germany's second tier are 1860 Munich and Arminia Bielefeld, and the two clubs meet on Sunday, hoping to register a win to distance themselves from their contenders.

1860, the hosts, are on fine form of late, winning four of their last five, which has seen them jump from the second relegation spot, to current safety.

Their opposition, however, despite having five more points on the board, have been in free fall since returning from the Winterpause, taking just five points from a possible 21. Their only win in the current run came against basement side Duisburg, which has left them balancing precariously above the drop zone.

On recent form, 1860 certainly go into the game as favourites, and have the opportunity to open up a three point cushion on Fortuna Düsseldorf if results go their way.

Baden derby rounds off the action

Monday's offering is the Baden-Wurttemberg derby between SC Freiburg and Karslruher SC. Freiburg have won their last five matches in a row, and are in fine form going into the final run of games.

However, things remain so close at the top of the table, that nothing is yet set in stone. With three sides battling for two automatic promotion places, and hoping to avoid the play-off spot, it's sure to go down to the wire. If results do go in favour of the Südbaden side, then they could open up a six point gap between themselves in second, and third place.

That said, Karlsruher are a tricky customer, and form tends to go out the window in derby matches. The visitors are unbeaten in three, and haven't conceded in any of these matches. It'll be interesting to see if the league's best attack can breach this sturdy Karlsruher back line.