Bundesliga, Week 34 preview: European and relegation places are on the line in the final matchday

Stuart Franklin

It's the final matchday of the Bundesliga and there's a lot on the line.

We've come to the end of another Bundesliga season, and it's a sad moment as always. While it has been a seasons to remember for clubs like Mainz and Augsburg, the 2013-14 season has been one to forget for others like Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Nürnberg.

Among the final matches, there are a few that are of little consequence, and we'll start at the Allianz Arena where Bayern Munich are set to be crowned champions following their match with Stuttgart. The season has certainly had more ups than downs for the Bavarians, but they should be able to end their league campaign with a positive against lowly Stuttgart. Huub Stevens side has struggled all season and will likely have their foot of the gas now that they've secured their stay in the Bundesliga.  While Bayern won't be at full speed in this one, Stuttgart shouldn't be much of a challenge.

Our next match takes us to the Olympiastadion in Berlin where Hertha BSC host Die Borussen in another match with little at stake. Borussia Dortmund are well secure in their second place finish for the second consecutive season. Jürgen Klopp's goal will be to walk out of Berlin without any injuries before next weekend's DFB Pokal Final against Bayern. Hertha will be glad that the season isn't extended any longer after their terrible second half. They have one win in their last eleven matches.

Finally, we have Hannover 96 taking on SC Freiburg. Both are safe from relegation after struggling for large portions of the season. This match may have the pace of a training game.

Now, let's take a look at the matches with a direct effect on European and/or relegation places.

Rank Club Points Goal Differential
3 Schalke 61 +17
4 Bayer Leverkusen 58 +18
5 Wolfsburg 57 +11
6 Borussia Mönchengladbach 55 +18
7 Mainz 50 -3
8 Augsburg 49 -1
- - - -
16 Hamburg 27 -23
17 Nürnberg 26 -30
18 Eintracht Braunschweig 25 -29

Schalke can secure third place and a spot in next season's Champions League group stage with a win against Nürnberg. The victory will also doom their opponents to relegation to the 2.Bundesliga. Jens Keller sure seemed like he had Schalke on a path earlier this season that would lead him to losing his job, but a reliance on the youth of Schalke's squad has turned his and the club's fortunes around in the second half of the season. Der Club are on their third manager of the season and are doomed to relegation.

There's still hope for Bayer Leverkusen to finish above Schalke in the table if Die Königsblauen lose, but Sacha Lewandowski's team should be focused on a victory to ensure that they don't find themselves in the Europa League next season. They'll have to do it without Stefan Kießling who remains out after pulling his thigh muscle a few weeks ago. Werder Bremen don't have a lot to play for here, but you have to think that Robin Dutt would love to pull one over his old team here after they sacked him before a full season in charge of the club.

The game to keep an eye on will be at the Volkswagen Arena when Wolfsburg host Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both teams have secured at least a berth in next season's Europa League, but there is still the chance that one of them will qualify for the Champions League. For Wolfsburg to make it, they will have to win the match first and foremost. As long as they win, they just need Leverkusen to not win their match against Werder. Gladbach need to win, and they need Leverkusen to lose. There's no other way they can make it in the UCL.

Mainz have a tenuous grasp on the final Europa League place, but they can claim their spot in Europe with a victory at home against hapless Hamburg. The Bundesliga-Dino will either find themselves directly relegated to the 2.Bundesliga or in the relegation playoff at the end of the day.Thomas Tuchel's team has been phenomenal this year, and they can cap it off with European football next season. Hamburg are the 18th most valuable club in the world. They should not be fighting relegation.

Augsburg need to beat Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday and have Mainz lose for them to qualify for the Europa League. However, the best thing for the club is probably avoid qualifying for Europe next season. They're already losing Andre Hahn in the summer transfer window, and it's likely that they'll lose a few more players after their tremendous season. This is Armin Veh's last match in charge of Frankfurt. He has served the club well since taking over in 2011.

Our final match is Eintracht Braunschweig taking on 1899 Hoffenheim. Die Löwen need a victory, and they need Hamburg and Nürnberg to lose for them to find their way into the relegation playoff. While it's not likely that this will happen, it won't be the craziest thing that we've seen this season in the Bundesliga.

Full Schedule

Saturday, May 10

Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund

Augsburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Wolfsburg vs Borussia Mönchengladbach

Bayern Munich vs Stuttgart

Bayer Leverkusen vs Werder Bremen

Schalke vs Nürnberg

Hannover vs Freiburg

Mainz vs Hamburg

Hoffenheim vs Eintracht Braunschweig

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