Thomas Mueller has decribed each of Bayern Munich’s remaining games as a ‘little final’ as they could wrap up a historic fourth consecutive Bundesliga title at Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
No club has ever won four straight titles, but Pep Guardiola’s Bayern have a seven-point lead with four games remaining.
They need to beat Hertha, and hope second-placed Borussia Dortmund lose at Stuttgart, to have their title victory confirmed.
It would be a welcome boost ahead of next Wednesday’s trip to Spain to face Atletico Madrid in the semi-final, first leg of the Champions League.
Berlin’s Olympic Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Bayern in recent seasons, having won their 2010 and 2014 Bundesliga titles there.
They will return to the capital on May 21 to face Dortmund in the German Cup final.
Bayern are in the running to repeat their 2013 treble of European, league and cup titles in Guardiola’s third and final season before joining Manchester City next season.
Should they also reach the Champions League final in Milan on May 28, Bayern will have eight games left this season to win three trophies, starting in Berlin.
“It’s always been the case that the last few weeks of the season were always the most important,” said Mueller, who scored both goals in Tuesday’s 2-0 cup semi-final win at home to Werder Bremen.
“But the next few will be even more important, if we keep progressing.
“It means we face a little final every three days or so.”
Bayern have been flat in their last seven games, dating back to their dramatic 4-2 win over Juventus in mid-March when they came from 2-0 down at home to win their Champions League quarter-final, second leg.
“I believe we can play better — and will play better,” said captain Philipp Lahm ahead of their trip to Berlin.
Hertha have taken only one point from their last three league games and are fighting to stay in contention for a Champions League place next season.
Bayern will again be without Arjen Robben, who has a groin injury, although Germany defender Jerome Boateng is back in training after tearing his groin in January.
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, 30, signed a contract extension on Wednesday to stay with Bayern until 2021.
Dortmund face a tricky match as Stuttgart are desperate for points and are just two places away from the relegation places after dropping 13 points in their last five games.
Stuttgart’s last win over Dortmund was back in January 2010.
Borussia booked their German Cup final berth with a 3-0 win at Hertha Berlin on Wednesday.
But Dortmund are waiting on the fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed the semi-final win in Berlin with a foot injury.
There is an important battle for Germany’s Champions League places on Saturday night when out-of-sorts Schalke host third-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
The Royal Blues of Gelsenkirchen have picked up just one point from nine in the league, while Leverkusen have won their last five without conceding a goal.
Seventh-placed Schalke are only outside the Europa League places on goal difference, but are six points from a direct Champions League spot with time running out.
Hamburg are without suspended goalkeeper and captain Rene Adler with Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Albin Ekdal and Nicolai Mueller injured for Friday’s north German derby against Werder Bremen.
Both sides are battling relegation with Bremen two points from safety and Hamburg only three points above the bottom three.