Bundesliga is back: The games that could decide the title, relegation and European qualification

With the Bundesliga cleared to return in the second half of May, we look at the key fixtures still to play.

The Bundesliga trophy   -  Bongarts

The Bundesliga has been given the green light by the German government to return in May, so football fans across the globe can look forward to live, top-level football matches once again.

The suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic means there are nine full rounds of fixtures left to play – Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen will contest their game in hand against one another – and the German Football League is set to announce a resumption date on Thursday.

Can Bayern Munich, which sits four points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the summit, hold off its challengers and win the Bundesliga for the eighth year in a row? Which team from the top five will fail to qualify for the Champions League? Who is destined for the drop?

We take a look at the key remaining fixtures - all of which will take place behind closed doors - that could provide the answers to those questions, though it remains to be seen if they will be played on the matchdays they were initially scheduled for.

READ: Angela Merkel gives go-ahead for Bundesliga to resume in mid-May

MD26: Borussia Dortmund v Schalke

The Revierderby is always a match to look forward to and Schalke would no doubt take great pleasure in denting Dortmund's title ambitions by securing a positive result at Signal Iduna Park.

MD27: Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen

It seems unlikely Leverkusen or Gladbach will be able to gain enough ground on Bayern to launch a late title challenge, though stranger things have happened. This clash could well be key to deciding who earns a spot in the top four and consequently next season's Champions League.

MD28: Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich

It does not get much bigger than Der Klassiker in the Bundesliga. Lose this match and Dortmund will essentially be kissing goodbye to its hopes of winning the league for the first time since 2012.

MD31: Bayern Munich v Borussia Monchengladbach

Regardless of how Bayern does against Dortmund, it will need a positive result against Gladbach, who, along with RB Leipzig, could still be in the hunt for the title. Marco Rose's side won the reverse fixture this season and claimed a shock 3-0 victory in its previous visit to the Allianz Arena.

READ: Watzke warns of 'no guarantees' over infection risk when Bundesliga returns

MD31: Paderborn v Werder Bremen

Rooted to the foot of the table, Paderborn look destined for an immediate return to the 2. Bundesliga. A win over Bremen could change that, but this is huge too for the four-time Bundesliga champion. Bremen will know it cannot afford to lose this match if it is to avoid suffering relegation for the first time since 1980.

MD33: RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund

If Bayern is still within reach when Leipzig and Dortmund go head to head at the Red Bull Arena, this game could prove pivotal to keeping title ambitions alive. For the loser, its hopes of Champions League qualification could be placed in doubt.

MD33: Wolfsburg v Schalke

Breaking into the top five looks out of reach for Wolfsburg and Schalke, who are separated by just one point. With Freiburg level with Wolfsburg on 36 points and Hoffenheim one back in ninth, this game will likely have Europa League qualification riding on it.

MD34: Mainz v Werder Bremen

Bremen will be hoping to pull off a great escape when the season resumes and a victory over Mainz, which is eight points ahead of Florian Kohfeldt's side and four clear of the relegation play-off spot, will likely be essential if survival remains a possibility. It could be a very nervy encounter at Opel Arena.

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