By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The Bundesliga has witnessed numerous intriguing relegation battles and a plethora of thrilling stories over the past decades.
The 2022/23 season is now concluding with another nerve-wracking chapter, as four clubs find themselves at risk of losing their top-tier status.
While Hertha BSC is already condemned to 18th place and relegation, FC Augsburg (34 points/-19 goal difference), VfB Stuttgart (32/-12), VfL Bochum (32/-35), and FC Schalke 04 (31/-34) remain in a state of uncertainty, with 17th place meaning automatic relegation, and 16th place resulting in a playoff against the third-place team from the Bundesliga 2.
Although the starting positions may vary for these four anxious contenders, they all share a common goal of securing survival with a last-minute push.
Despite a goal difference of -19, Augsburg is in the most promising position among the relegation-threatened clubs, after 10 consecutive years in the top flight.
Facing a wavering Borussia Monchengladbach side could increase their chances of prolonging their stay in the Bundesliga. Additionally, Augsburg's rivals for relegation would need a miracle to improve their situations.
For now, the club must put future plans on hold and focus solely on the challenges of the one remaining matchday.
Counting on their fourth coach this season, Stuttgart, the 2006/07 Bundesliga champions, remains optimistic despite a downward trend in recent years.
Coach Sebastian Hoeness has managed to instill a newfound confidence, as evidenced by their recent victory against Mainz.
Stuttgart faces Hoffenheim, who has already secured their safety and is coached by former Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. However, financial constraints mean that fundamental changes are imminent after the current season, with the club announcing an increased reliance on young talents.
Bochum can rely on the support of their passionate fans, who are accustomed to both grief and sorrow.
Meeting a high-quality side like Bayer Leverkusen poses a challenging task, considering Leverkusen's aspirations for continental qualification.
Bochum has accumulated 23 of their 32 points at home, including victories against Union Berlin and RB Leipzig. However, a string of recent setbacks has prevented them from finding stability, with only one win in their last eight games.
FC SCHALKE 04
Miracles have been a recurring theme in Schalke's history, and the club's recent financial difficulties have left them in a precarious position.
Despite showing signs of improvement in recent weeks with the opportunity of salvaging a disappointing season, Schalke's poor record against the league's top eight teams remains a burden.
Coach Reis is considering changing goalkeepers to inspire additional motivation. While a return to the second division will present financial challenges, it seems inevitable for the club given their imbalanced squad. ■