- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

BERLIN (AP) - Bayern Munich looks likely to wrap up another successful year by claiming two more Bundesliga records, while Borussia Dortmund is desperate to avoid the winter break in the relegation zone.

Both sides have experienced vastly contrasting fortunes in the league this season, leaving Wolfsburg, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke to scrap it out for the privilege of being “best of the rest.” Dortmund is merely fighting for survival.

Five points are all that separate last-place Werder Bremen from 10th-place Cologne, ensuring the whole bottom half of the table is concerned with relegation.

Here are some things to know ahead of the last set of games before the Bundesliga’s six-week winter break:



Bayern has all but clinched the league title even before the halfway point. The defending champions have an 11-point lead over second-place Wolfsburg after 16 games with 39 goals and only three conceded.

Bayern was already assured of the top spot going into the winter break with two games to spare for the unofficial “autumn championship” title. On only three of the previous 19 occasions has the club failed to go on and then win the league.

Unless Bayern concedes four goals at Mainz on Friday, the side will set a record for the fewest goals conceded in the opening half of the season. If it wins, it will beat its own record of 44 points at the halfway stage of the 2005-06 season by one point.

Unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, with two defeats last season and only one the season before, Bayern has only its own records to beat.



Bayern representative and former player Paul Breitner has criticized the club’s domestic rivals for not doing enough to keep up.

“Perhaps Real Madrid or Barcelona would be opponents of which we’d say, ‘OK, you can lose against them.’ But seriously, who should this team lose against in the form they’re in at the moment?” he asked on Sport1 television.

Breitner dismissed the idea of distributing more German Football League money to the smaller clubs to help them better compete.

“Stop with this nonsense. Bayern can’t do anything about the other club’s failures,” said Breitner, who also criticized Dortmund: “You always have the situation where clubs that can’t be relegated get suddenly relegated because they think they are too good.”



Bayern’s main domestic rival for the past four seasons, Dortmund, remains in the relegation zone with one point from its last two games.

The 2011 and 2012 champions have lost nine times already this season, more than any other side in the league, and next face Werder Bremen, which has shown signs of improvement under new coach Viktor Skripnik despite finding itself in last place.

Dortmund has been hit by injuries but a bigger problem has been its inability to score. Only three sides have scored fewer goals.

Meanwhile, as the pressure builds, anxiety is leading to defensive lapses, and Dortmund seems unable to hang onto a lead. Dortmund led twice against Wolfsburg on Wednesday but had to settle for a 2-2 draw.



Eintracht Frankfurt is quickly becoming the most entertaining side in the league. Since former Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf took over in the offseason, the team has been adopting his cavalier style to games: lots of goals, not so much emphasis on defense.

At home against Hertha Berlin on Wednesday, Frankfurt found itself three goals down to the visitors by the 37th minute, then 4-2 down by the 80th, only for league-leading scorer Alexander Meier to score twice in injury time to salvage an unlikely draw.

“It’s tremendous fun to work with this team but it’s not good for the nerves,” said Schaaf, whose side the second best attack and the second worst defense, with 33 goals scored and conceded.

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