Bundesliga relegation battle goes to the wire with 6 clubs facing the drop on final day



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BERLIN — The Bundesliga relegation battle is going to the wire with just three points between the bottom five clubs going into the season's final round. Four of them face each other on Saturday. Hertha Berlin, one point above them, is not yet safe either as the German league provides a nail-biting finish at the bottom.

The last Europa League qualification place is also up for grabs with Borussia Dortmund hosting Werder Bremen for a showdown between sides that were previously bottom. The winner will cap a remarkable turnaround.

All games will be played simultaneously. Here's what to know about the 34th and final round:


DAY OF RECKONING

No team has been relegated yet, with last-place Paderborn (31 points), Hamburger SV (32), Stuttgart (33), Hannover (34), Freiburg (34) and Hertha (35) all in danger on the final day.

The last two are relegated automatically, while the side finishing third from bottom enters a two-legged playoff against the third-best finisher from the second division.

Paderborn needs a home win against Stuttgart to have any hope of avoiding the drop. Paderborn also needs Hamburg to drop points against visiting Schalke to snatch the relegation playoff spot.

The scenarios for the other teams are more complicated.

Hamburg — the only side to have played continuously in the Bundesliga since its foundation in 1963 — has to beat Schalke and hope there is a winner between Hannover and visiting Freiburg.

Stuttgart is safe with a win at Paderborn. A draw would be enough if Hannover loses to Freiburg by two goals and Hamburg doesn't win. Stuttgart would be relegated if it loses to Paderborn.

Hannover is safe if it beats Freiburg. A draw could mean relegation if both Stuttgart and Hamburg win — the latter by 10 goals. A loss to Freiburg means relegation if both Stuttgart and Hamburg win their games.

Freiburg can clinch safety with a win at Hannover, while even a draw is likely to be enough. A loss to Hannover would mean relegation if both Stuttgart and Hamburg win.

Hertha would slip to the relegation playoff place if it loses by more than two goals at Hoffenheim, while Stuttgart wins and Hannover draws with Freiburg. Direct relegation is also possible though Hamburg would have to make up 12 goals.

And if Freiburg beats Hannover 4-2 and Stuttgart-Paderborn finishes goalless, both Stuttgart and Hannover would finish with 34 points, 40 goals scored and 59 conceded. Head-to-head results would give Stuttgart the advantage.


RACE FOR EUROPA

Bremen was last and Dortmund was 16th when the sides last met. Level on 43 points, with Dortmund ahead on goal difference, they're now fighting for seventh place.

Dortmund could even claim sixth in coach Juergen Klopp's last league game if Augsburg was to lose at Borussia Moenchengladbach. Goal difference all but rules this out for Bremen.

Regardless of Augsburg's result, Dortmund would qualify for the Europa League by beating Bremen by virtue of its German Cup final place against Wolfsburg (already qualified for the Champions League).

Bremen can go seventh by beating Dortmund and must then count on a favor from Wolfsburg in the Cup final to qualify for the Europa League. Bremen would be left empty handed in seventh place if Dortmund won the Cup final.


THE REST

The rest is all but settled. Bayern Munich won the title with four games to spare, and will be joined by Wolfsburg and Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League. Whether the sides finish second or third is immaterial. Second-place Wolfsburg visits Cologne and 'Gladbach, two points behind, hosts Europe League-chasing Augsburg.

Bayer Leverkusen will go into the Champions League playoff. Roger Schmidt's side visits Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Schalke, which has squeaked into the Europa League amid internal turmoil at the club, travels to Hamburg hoping to end the season as painlessly as possible. Coach Roberto di Matteo's future is far from certain and general manager Horst Heldt has also been coming under fire.

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