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Battleground Bundesliga part two: The Hunt for European Glory

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While the possibilities for relegation may be limited, the race for Champions League and Europa League positions is red hot.

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Champions apply here

You may have heard this, but Bayern Munich secured its sixth straight Bundesliga title and once again clinched a Champions League position for the 2018-2019 season. In addition, Schalke 04 capitalized on a remarkably consistent season under Domenico Tedesco to also clinch a UCL berth.

From there, however, it seems as if any scenario is plausible. Borussia Dortmund, TSG Hoffenheim, Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart, and Borussia Mönchengladbach are all in position to secure one of those coveted final four spots. With two Champions League and two Europa League berths on the table, Match Day 34 should be a tremendously exciting and wild ride.

Below, we took a run at breaking down each of the contenders and what scenarios. Word of caution, do not partake in any alcoholic beverages prior to reading the Europa League scenarios as you may experience dizziness and disorientation.

Borussia Dortmund

Marco Reus and Dortmund cannot afford a slow start against Hoffenheim.
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Dortmund is definitely playing European soccer somewhere next season, but Marco Reus and the boys need to play much better than they have of late to avoid letting a Champions League position slip away.

How BVB can reach the Champions League:

  • A win, draw or loss by one goal at Hoffenheim would give Dortmund a third-place finish.
  • A loss by a two goals to Hoffenheim would see Dortmund finish in fourth place if Bayer Leverkusen does not beat Hannover by five goals or more.

How BVB can end up in the Europa League:

  • A loss by two goals or more at Hoffenheim, plus a Bayer Leverkusen win over Hannover 96 by six goals or more.

TSG Hoffenheim

Andrej Kramaric will likely play an integral role in Hoffenheim’s ability to lock down a Champions League berth this weekend.
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How Hoffenheim can reach the Champions League:

  • Hoffenheim needs to beat Dortmund by at least two goals to clinch third place.
  • If Hoffenheim beats BVB by one goal, it will finish in fourth place barring Bayer Leverkusen winning by five goals or more.
  • A draw against Borussia Dortmund would clinch fourth place if Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig both lose.
  • A loss to BVB combined with a Bayer Leverkusen loss, and also losses by RB Leipzig or Eintracht Frankfurt.

How Hoffenheim can reach the Europa League:

  • If Hoffenheim only beats Dortmund by one goal and Bayer Leverkusen trounces Hannover 96 by five goals or more, Hoffenheim would fall to fifth place.
  • A Hoffenheim draw and Leverkusen win would see Hoffenheim drop to fifth place as well.
  • A Hoffenheim draw, a Leverkusen win, and a Leipzig win by 16 goals (Timo Werner will really need to be in top form!) over Hertha Berlin would drop Hoffenheim to sixth place.
  • A loss, plus a Leverkusen draw, will place Hoffenheim in fifth place if Leipzig and Frankfurt both lose.
  • Hoffenheim will finish sixth if Leverkusen wins or ties, Leipzig wins and Frankfurt does not win by 15 goals or more.

How Hoffenheim can be shut out of European soccer:

  • Hoffenheim can place seventh if Leverkusen earns at least a draw, Leipzig wins and Frankfurt overturns a 15-goal deficit in a win over Schalke.

Bayer Leverkusen

Julian Brandt would undoubtedly love an opportunity to play in the Champions League, but Die Werkself will need to beat Hannover 96 and outpace Hoffenheim’s potential margin of victory.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

How Leverkusen can reach the Champions League:

  • Die Werkself need to have a better margin of victory over Hannover 96 than Hoffenheim’s result against Dortmund to finish in fourth place.
  • If Hoffenheim wins, Leverkusen’s winning margin against Hannover 96 needs to be four goals more than Hoffenheim’s margin over Dortmund.
  • A margin of victory over Hannover 96 that is at least five goals greater than Hoffenheim’s winning margin, and Leverkusen can place third.
  • A loss, combined with a RB Leipzig loss and a Hoffenheim loss by five goals more than Leverkusen’s losing margin. This assumes that Eintracht Frankfurt will not overturn a 12-goal differential as well.

How Leverkusen can reach the Europa League:

  • Failure to best Hoffenheim’s margin of victory, combined with losses or draws by Leipzig and Frankfurt would result in a fifth place finish.
  • A greater margin of victory than both Leipzig and Frankfurt will also result in a fifth place finish.
  • A draw means at least sixth place, but only a Leipzig win by 14 goals in Berlin would see Die Werkself drop further.
  • A loss; barring Frankfurt overturning a 12-goal deficit.

How Leverkusen can be shut out of European soccer:

  • To drop to seventh place, a Leverkusen loss, combined with wins for RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt where the Eagles dispose of the aforementioned 12-goal differential.

RB Leipzig

Timo Werner figures to be a central figure in RB Leipzig’s opportunity for European football in 2018-2019.
Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

How RB Leipzig can reach the Champions League:

  • A Leipzig win over Hertha Berlin, in addition to losses by both Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen would clinch fourth place.
  • If Hoffenheim and Die Werkself each draw, Leipzig would need to win by 16 goals in Berlin.
  • If Leverkusen draws with pesky Hannover 96 and Hoffenheim loses to BVB, Leipzig would need to win by 13 goals.

How RB Leipzig can reach the Europa League:

  • A win guarantees a top-six finish for Die Roten Bullen Rasenballer.
  • A draw, combined with an Eintracht Frankfurt draw/loss or VfB Stuttgart’s failure to win by four goals at Bayern Munich.
  • A loss, combined with a Frankfurt loss, and a draw or loss from both Stuttgart and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

How RB Leipzig can be shut out of European soccer:

  • A draw combined with a win for either Frankfurt or Stuttgart would result in RB Leipzig dropping out of the top six.
  • A loss combined with a Eintracht Frankfurt win or draw; along with a VfB Stuttgart win, or a Borussia Mönchengladbach victory over Hamburg by four goals or more.

Eintracht Frankfurt

Niko Kovac’s Bundesliga finale will require a top performance from his roster if the Eagles want to play European football next season.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

How Eintracht Frankfurt can reach the Champions League:

  • A win over Schalke 04 by a margin of 16 goals, plus losses by Hoffenheim and Leverkusen and a loss or draw by RB Leipzig. Oh, and the winning margin would need to cover the ability to erase a 15-goal deficit to Hoffenheim.

How Eintracht Frankfurt can reach the Europa League:

  • A win that provides a better margin of victory than Leipzig’s result and the Eagles are in the top six.
  • If Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig both win, but Hoffenheim loses to Dortmund; Eintracht Frankfurt would need a win over Schalke 04 that would erase the aforementioned 16-goal deficit to Hoffenheim,
  • A win the in the DFB Pokal and the Eagles will gain a berth to the group stage of the competition.

How Eintracht Frankfurt can be shut out of European soccer:

  • A loss or failure to better RB Leipzig’s margin of victory.
  • A loss by Bayer Leverkusen, but a failure by Eintracht Frankfurt to erase an 11-goal differential over Die Werkself.
  • A loss in the DFB Pokal finale to Bayern Munich.

VfB Stuttgart

Does Mario Gomez have enough magic left to will VfB Stuttgart to a Europa League berth?
DFL via Getty Images

How VfB Stuttgart can reach the Europa League:

  • A win at the Allianz Arena, combined with a loss for RB Leipzig and a loss or a draw from Eintracht Frankfurt.
  • A win over Bayern Munich by at least four goals in combined with draw from RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt.

How VfB Stuttgart can be shut out of European soccer:

  • Any other result than those listed above . . . Mario Gomez and company have precious little margin for error.

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Can Thorgan Hazard raise his game to help push the Foals to a Europa League position without injured captain Lars Stindl?
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

How Borussia Mönchengladbach can reach the Europa League:

  • To finish sixth Gladbach must win, while RB Leipzig loses, and Frankfurt and Stuttgart both lose or draw.
  • If Eintracht Frankfurt loses to Schalke, the Foals will need to win by four against Hamburg.
  • If Eintracht Frankfurt draws, Gladbach would need to win by five.

How Borussia Mönchengladbach can be shut out of European soccer:

  • Any other result than those listed above. Gladbach should feel disappointed with any non-Europa League finish this season.

Summary and prediction

Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

There roughly a million possibilities here give or take a few thousand. The injury to Serge Gnabry does not decimate Hoffenheim by any means, but it will make things more difficult against a veteran Dortmund side. From there, Leverkusen looks to be the team with the best chance to secure the final Champions League berth while Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig represent the Bundesilga in the Europa League.

Champions League

  • 1st place: Bayern Munich
  • 2nd place: Schalke 04

(the good news for me is that I can’t get the two above wrong)

  • 3rd place: Borussia Dortmund
  • 4th place: Bayer Leverkusen

Europa League

  • 5th place: TSG Hoffenheim
  • 6th place: RB Leipzig

(Scenarios courtesy of Bundesliga.com)