Home advantage counts for a lot. When preparing this feature, great sides traveling to tough venues is always one of the things I look for; it typically makes for an excellent contest. Games where the fans will galvanize their team, makes things difficult for the opposition and provide a brilliant leveler.
At this stage of the campaign, with plenty to play in a host of Europe’s top divisions, fans can make all the difference. Liverpool supporters created a stirring atmosphere for their side to revel in last weekend and as the weeks tick down on the season, this weekend there are plenty of other sets of supporters who will be looking to do the same. So often, it’s they who can inspire their team to that vital result transforming a good season into a great one or a bad campaign into a decent one.
So, we’ve got a host of different types of games this weekend. One each from England and Germany where a team perilously close to relegation welcomes a side challenging at the top end of the table.
Some managers could be in for a little flack this weekend too, as Sunday sees a former hero set to come in for some stick from his old supporters and an under pressure boss looking to salvage something from a very disappointing season.
As always, kick off times are in Eastern Time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy your football!
Hamburger SV vs. VfL Wolfsburg
Saturday, 12:30PM, GolTV
A clash in Germany that has huge connotations at both ends of the Bundesliga table. Wolfsburg are chasing a Champions League spot whilst Hamburg are in dire need of a victory to help stave of their relegation worries.
The race for the fourth and final Champions League spot is really beginning to hot up in the Bundesliga. Bayer Leverkusen currently occupy fourth position, but they’re just one point clear of Wolfsburg and two clear of Borussia Monchengladbach. Wolfsburg saw off the challenge off strugglers Nurnberg last weekend with an emphatic 4-1 victory and they look the form team out of the aforementioned trio as we move towards the season end.
Hamburg are running out of games if they are to drag themselves out of the relegation mire. They currently sit 16th in the table in one of the two relegation playoff spots, but they’re just one point back on VfB Stuttgart who are currently in 15th. They remain one of the biggest names in Germany and relegation would be a disaster for the club given the calibre of player they have in their squad.
A win here would go a long way to alleviating those relegation woes, though. Stuttgart face a tough game against Schalke on Sunday and if Hamburg must do their utmost to shift them pressure on them in this exceptionally tight scrap for survival.
Norwich vs. Liverpool
Sunday, 7:00AM, NBCSN
They’re almost there, and as Steven Gerrard bellowed to his players after their 3-2 win over Manchester City, they have no intention of letting this slip.