(This is part 1 of our two-part series on the Final Day of the 2020-21 season. Stay tuned for part 2 covering the 2. Liga and 3. Liga)
While Bayern Munich wrapped up their ninth consecutive Bundesliga crown two weekends ago, other teams were in a tight competition for coveted European spots. Other clubs across all three of the top divisions of German football were fighting to either move up a division or to stay in their current one.
In part 1 of our series, we look at the story lines going into the last day of the Bundesliga season. Who gets 3rd place? Who will take the last European spot? Who fights another day in the top flight?
Let’s look at the lay of the land below.
(Bold indicates a clinched position in the table, italics means ONLY clinching a competition [i.e. UCL, promotion, etc.], teams with normal type means they currently hold the spot, but haven’t officially secured it)
Champion: Bayern Munich
UEFA Champions League spots (4): Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, VfL Wolfsburg
Europa League spots (2): Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen
Europa Conference League spot (1): Union Berlin
Battle For Third Place:
Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg officially secured the last two Bundesliga Champions League spots on Sunday. However, both teams are tied on points, with Dortmund holding a two goal advantage going into the final day (BVB +27, WOL +25). Dortmund faces a Leverkusen team that already has 6th place and a Europa League spot as theirs. Wolfsburg meanwhile play an underachieving Mainz team who are safe from relegation. If both sides win, Wolfsburg would need to better Dortmund’s goal difference by three goals. Either result seems possible, especially considering who Wolfsburg play this weekend.
Borussia Dortmund (3rd, 61 points, +27 GD) v. Bayer Leverkusen (6th)
Minimum for BVB to Clinch 3rd: Equal WOL result with better goal difference
VfL Wolfsburg (4th, 61 points, +25 GD) v. 1. FSV Mainz 05 (13th)
Minimum for WOL to Clinch 3rd: Beat BVB result
OR: Same end match results AND Beat BVB scoreline by three goals
Who Debuts in the Europa Conference League?
As of now, Union Berlin sit in 7th place in the Bundesliga table, but that spot isn’t secured just yet and faces some stiff opposition in the three spots below them.
For now, let’s start with the current holders. Union (7th, 47 points, +6 GD) has been a good team throughout the season, but has only managed to win six games in the Rückrunde. What’s worse is they play a tough Leipzig side on their final day who are looking to send off manager Julian Nagelsmann with a good feeling.
Just below them are Borussia Mönchengladbach (8th, 46 points +6 GD). Similarly to Union, they started the season bright before an announcement that manager Marco Rose was leaving derailed their momentum. They have a game against lowly Werder Bremen to make a final push for Europe.
Tied on points in 9th and 10th are VfB Stuttgart (9th, 45 points +3 GD) and SC Freiburg (10th, 45 points +2 GD). Both teams have put pressure on the top six throughout the season without anything serious coming from their efforts. While Stuttgart have an easier game against Arminia Bielefeld in their future, Freiburg have the tough task of facing Eintracht Frankfurt.
Union Berlin (7th, 47 points, +6 GD) v. RB Leipzig (2nd)
Minimum for UOB to Clinch Europe: Win and in
OR: Draw/lose with every team below drawing/losing as well
Werder Bremen (16th) v. Borussia Mönchengladbach (8th, 46 points +6 GD)
Minimum for BMG to Clinch Europe: Beat each team below’s result AND beat Union’s result
OR: Draw AND Union lose
OR: Match UOB’s result AND win by 1 more on GD
VfB Stuttgart (9th, 45 points +3 GD) v. Arminia Bielefeld (15th)
Minimum for VfB to Clinch Europe: Win AND UOB & BMG lose
OR: Win by three goals AND BMG lose/draw AND UOB draw by at least 8-8
Eintracht Frankfurt (5th) v. SC Freiburg (10th, 45 points +2 GD)
Minimum for SCF to Clinch Europe: Win AND UOB, BMG, & VfB lose
OR: Win by four goals AND VfB lose/draw/win by two AND BMG lose/draw AND UOB draw by at least 2-2
15. Arminia Bielefeld
16. Werder Bremen
18. Schalke 04
With Mainz and Hertha Berlin officially safe, and Schalke 04 officially in last and relegated, there are three teams who still have a chance to survive. None have easy paths.
As we mentioned above, Arminia Bielefeld (15th, 32 points, -28 GD) and Werder Bremen (16th, 31 points, -19 GD) face opponents in a battle for the last spot in European competition. This will not be easy for any of them. For Bielefeld, they will once again last only a single season in the top flight. For Werder Bremen, they’re currently facing their second relegation playoff in as many seasons.
The last team fighting to survive is 1. FC Köln (17th, 30 points, -27 GD). After a full season of uninspiring performances, they have one more chance to stave off relegation. Fortunately for fans of Effzeh, they have the easiest matchup possible: last place Schalke, a team they haven’t lost to in their last three meetings.
Now, relegation isn’t as cut and dry as the other scenarios above. A playoff spot in 16th gives some teams a final hope. So here will be the requirements for both the playoff spot and true safety.
VfB Stuttgart (9th) v. DSC Arminia Bielefeld (15th, 32 points, -28 GD)
Minimum for DSC to be safe: Win and in
OR: Match SVW and KOE results
Minimum for DSC to qualify for playoff: Lose AND SVW draw AND KOE lose/draw
SV Werder Bremen (16th, 31 points, -19 GD) v. Borussia Mönchengladbach (8th)
Minimum for SVW to be safe: Win AND DSC draw/lose
OR: Draw AND DSC & KOE lose
Minimum for SVW to qualify for playoff: All teams match results
OR: Lose AND KOE draw
1. FC Köln (17th, 30 points, -27 GD) v. FC Schalke 04 (18th)
Minimum for KOE to be safe: Win AND SVW draw/lose AND DSC draw/lose
KOE cannot qualify for the playoff.
What do you think is going to happen? Let us know down below.