By Michael Kryschak@michaelkryschak

"Ones to watch" for Bundesliga Matchday 33

Good form, lucky match-up or just a special situation - here are five players you need to look out for on matchday 33 of the Bundesliga!

Eren Dinkci (Heidenheim)

The match between Freiburg and Heidenheim will be an extremely special one for many reasons. The headline for this match is clear: Christian Streich's last home game in his career. Adding to that, it‘s the second match between the two longest serving Bundesliga coaches (Streich: head coach of Freiburg since 2011 - Schmidt: head coach of Heidenheim since 2007).

But not only the coaches Streich and Schmidt give us reasons to believe this will be a special game: A current Heidenheim player will play against his future club Freiburg - Eren Dinkci. Occasions like this are always interesting to see! Here are three reasons why you should watch Dinkci closely:

  1. In the beginning of April, Freiburg confirmed the signing of Dinkci for the next season. He will be fully motivated to prove to his new employer that they‘ve made the right decision in signing him.
  2. Should Heidenheim win against Freiburg, they will overtake them in the Bundesliga table - and be in a great position to qualify for a European competition next year! Dinkci has been an integral part of Heidenheim‘s success with his eleven goal contributions this season.
  3. Heidenheim won the first encounter against Freiburg this season 3-2, thanks to a goal from Dinkci. Adding to that, Freiburg goes into this matchup with three winless results on the bounce, while Heidenheim only lost once in the last five games. It might just be that Heidenheim spoil Streich's farewell.


Harry Kane (Bayern Munich)

Bayern’s defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal has been a tough pill to swallow for every Bayern fan. Normally people would tend to switch off after such a loss and would struggle to motivate themselves.

But Bayern have proven in their history that big losses are the best motivation for them: look no further than to the year 2012, the last year in which Bayern didn‘t win a single trophy - until now.

One man, arguably the man of the season for Bayern, still has a special goal in mind for the rest of the season: Harry Kane. Back problems might take Kane out of this match and hinder him in achieving this goal, but as of right now, he will be an option for Bayern in their game against Wolfsburg.

Kane is the type of player who would give his all for club and country - he's proven that in other difficult situations back when he used to play in London. And this goal of his might just be too important to miss out on - Here are three reasons why Kane will be the player to watch on Sunday:

  1. With 36 goals in the Bundesliga, Kane is just five goals shy of the all time Bundesliga goal record for a single season - in his first year! He will try everything to beat Lewandowski‘s 2021 record.
  2. Kane is and has been in great form over the whole season: he‘s contributed to seven goals in his last five games for Munich. No other player has been this consistant for Bayern over the 2023/24 period.
  3. It‘s the last home game for Thomas Tuchel as Bayern Munich coach. Kane was his star signing and will therefore be extra motivated to give his coach a special farewell in the Allianz Arena.


Yorbe Vertessen (Union Berlin)

For the second time this season, Union Berlin have decided to part ways with their head coach. Under Nenad Bjelica, the Union Berlin hierarchy saw themselves in danger to miss next year‘s Bundesliga season. Just like when they fired Urs Fischer, Marco Grote takes over, this time for two games instead of one.

When Grote stepped in last time, he helped his team to a draw against Augsburg - putting an end to a horrible losing streak in the league (nine losses in a row). Can he once again motivate the team and save it from relegation?

A player he will surely rely on for that task is winter signing Yorbe Vertessen. Here are three reasons why Vertessen will be the player to watch in the relegation clash against Köln:

  1. In this season, there aren‘t many player to pick out out of Union Berlin‘s squad. Vertessen, however, might be an exception: five goal contributions in twelve games for the club are an important life signal for „die Eisernen“.
  2. Vertessen is responsible for two of the last four goals of Union Berlin, proving he‘s in the right form in the right time. Without him on the pitch, Berlin seems to have forgotten how to score goals! The last time they scored a goal without Vertessen being on the pitch was on the 24th of February.
  3. In the first game between Union Berlin and Köln, the latter struggled with counter attacks and quick strikers (Hollerbach and Fofana scored in a 2-0 victory). If history repeats itself, what it tends to do, than Vertessen will cause Köln a lot of problems - and he will seal their relegation to the 2. Bundesliga.

 

Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim)

One Bundesliga player who has been in strikingly good form recently, is Hoffenheim‘s Andrej Kramaric. The Croatian international and Hoffenheim legend could achieve something historical with the TSG: there is still a crazy possibility for Hoffenheim to qualify for the Champions League while having the current 3rd worst defense in the league!

Hoffenheim play Darmstadt this weekend, who were beaten 3-0 by Wolfsburg in their first match after their confirmed relegation. Can Hoffenheim also capitalise on Darmstadt‘s season being over already? If there’s one player you should watch in this match, it‘s Kramaric - and here are three reasons for that:

  1. In his last five games, Kramaric produced Champions League level numbers for Hoffenheim: four goals and two assists. The numbers back up his great form.
  2. Kramaric already scored against Darmstadt in their first match this season which ended in a 3-3 draw. After scoring twice against Bochum two weeks ago, who were in a similar position back then, Kramaric has proven to be a dangerous threat against arguably “weaker” opponents.
  3. With 15 goal contributions, Kramaric is once again Hoffenheim‘s best performing player this season. He will give his all to get his club into Europe next year!

 

Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund)

Who would have thought Dortmund would be challenging Real Madrid for the Champions League trophy back in September? Back in February maybe? Two weeks ago? Maybe some fans - but their success has certainly surprised everyone. Even though BVB haven‘t been quite as successful in the Bundesliga this season, they prove to be in great shape for the remaining two games.

There are many players you could pick out of that squad as players to watch for the game against Mainz this weekend, such as the likes of Reus, Brandt and Füllkrug. But sometimes it's important to acknowledge the importance of defenders individually; therfore, here are three reasons why Nico Schlotterbeck will be the key for the Champions League finalist this weekend:

  1. Barely any defender, other than his center back partner Mats Hummels who is likely to be rested, has had such a good run of peromances like Nico Schlotterbeck. Ever since Nagelsmann disregarded him for the national team, he got up to his bist form and was a key reason for Dortmund not conceding any goals in the Champions League semifinal against Paris Saint Germain!
  2. Dortmund have only conceded 15 goals in the second half of the season thanks to the outstanding center back duo Schlotterbeck/Hummels. They only conceded more than one goal in a match on two occasions and finished six games without conceding at all - this defensive continuity and stability will help them win against Mainz.
  3. As for many players, there are only two games left to somehow convince their national coach to bring them to the Euros in June. If there is any chance left for Schlotterbeck to join Nagelsmann‘s squad, he has to deliver in these last few games!

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