While one race involves the four-team jostle for two places in the UEFA Champions League next season, Europa League qualification is on the agenda for two sides, one of whom will miss out entirely.
FC Schalke 04 may have secured their place in the UEFA Champions League next season, but they host 1. FC Nürnberg on Matchday 34 still needing a point to ensure they make the group stage automatically. Having experienced the tense situation a play-off can present last August, when they only just sneaked past PAOK, they will be desperate to get that point against the Franconians, who are still fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, to ensure Bayer 04 Leverkusen cannot catch them.
Whether it proves to be enough to catch Schalke or not, the Werkself will be seeking the maximum against SV Werder Bremen just to be sure they do not let fourth slip through their fingers. That is the only result that ensures new coach Roger Schmidt will lead his side out on Europe's top stage when he takes charge next season. A draw would enable VfL Wolfsburg to overtake them while Borussia Mönchengladbach could also come into the three-team equation should mistakes be made.
Wolfsburg find themselves just a point behind Leverkusen ahead of their Champions League stand-off with Gladbach. It's a winner-takes-all clash at the VW-Arena, although no guarantees can be provided to the actual victor with the scoreboard inside the stadium providing just as much interest and intrigue as the action on the field. Both sides will have their fingers crossed for good news from the BayArena, otherwise, Wolfsburg know that a win or a draw would be worth a place in the Europa League group stage.
What may be an advantage for Gladbach ahead of their trip to Wolfsburg is the fact that only one result will do – a win. Defeat would not deprive the Foals of a place in Europe, but a place in the Europa League play-off can be avoided with three points which, should Leverkusen stumble at home, could still see Lucien Favre's side rise two places to snatch a Champions League play-off berth for the second time in three years.
1. FSV Mainz 05 stand to lose the most on Matchday 34 with FC Augsburg now breathing down their neck. All Thomas Tuchel's men need when they host Hamburger SV on Saturday is to match or better the result of their Bavarian rivals to clinch a place in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. "It's like the return leg of a European cup tie in which we lost the first leg 4-3," said Tuchel, warning that his side, although holding a points' advantage over Augsburg, still have a big job on their hands.
Augsburg have already broken plenty of records in this, the best season in the Bavarian club's history, yet it could get even better on Matchday 34. Victory over Eintracht Frankfurt – coached by Augsburg-born Armin Veh – could put the cherry on top with a place in Europe, if Mainz fail to beat Hamburg. "It's a dream situation and we'll be doing all we can to put Mainz under pressure," said coach Markus Weinzierl. "Hopefully, they will stumble."