Darmstadt enjoyed another nerve-jangling stay of execution on Matchday 30 thanks to a shock 2-1 victory away to Hamburg.

Two teams will be automatically relegated from the top flight, though, with another facing a two-legged play-off with the side who finishes third in Bundesliga 2, meaning the Bundesliga landscape could include three new clubs next season.

bundesliga.com takes a look at the current state of affairs in the second tier and examines the credentials of those clubs vying for a place in the big league next term.

VfB Stuttgart (1st, Pld 30, Pts 60)

Simon Terodde (r.) and Carlos Mane (c.) have made vital contributions to Stuttgart's season so far.

VfB were relegated for only the second time in their history last season – the first since 1975 – but they have consolidated and come back stronger this term in a bid to ensure only a brief absence from the Bundesliga. Hannes Wolf stepped in following Jos Luhukay's resignation just a few months into the season and the Swabians have gradually risen to the top of the standings. Wolf will hope Stuttgart's bad patch has been and gone - a five-game winless streak came to an end on Matchday 28 - and Stuttgart's destiny is also within their own hands, with games against fellow promotion hopefuls Hannover still to come.

Star Player: Simon Terrode

Their promotion push has been spearheaded by the veteran striker Simon Terodde. Top scorer in the second tier with Bochum in 2015/16, the 29-year-old again leads the charts with 20 goals from 28 games. Portuguese talent Carlos Mane has also chopped in with six goals and seven assists.

Click here for the Bundesliga 2 scoring charts.

Eintracht Braunschweig (2nd, Pld 30, Pts 57)

Just like in their last promotion season, Domi Kumbela (l. bottom) is sustaining Braunschweig's promotion push.

Braunschweig were also dining at the top table of German football not too long ago, spending just one ill-fated season there in 2013/14. They were one of the Bundesliga's founding members and a top-flight team for 20 of its first 22 seasons, winning the league in 1967 and reaching the quarter-finals of the European Cup a year later. Two top-ten Bundesliga 2 campaigns since their most recent relegation have seen the club restore stability and a nine-game unbeaten streak, ended on Matchday 29 by local rivals Hannover, has seen them muscle their way back into contention for what would be their fourth promotion to the Bundesliga – their second under Torsten Lieberknecht, who is heading into his tenth year at the helm.

Star Player: Domi Kumbela

Domi Kumbela netted 19 goals to fire the Lions to promotion back in 2012/13 and his 11 goals make him the club's leading scorer this term too. Elsewhere, Swedish forward Christoffer Nyman has pitched in with eight goals, while Onel Hernandez and skipper Ken Reichel have added five apiece.

Hannover 96 (3rd, Pld 30, Pts 57)

With 14 goals, Martin Harnik (2nd r.) has helped Hannover's bid for an immediate return to the top flight.

Hannover were a staple in the Bundesliga up until last May, when their 14-year stay came to an end. The Reds finished bottom, but since their fate was sealed with three games to go, they soon set about planning for an immediate return. Even the best-laid plans provide no guarantees, however, and Daniel Stendel, the man designated to lead them back up, only lasted until March. In came Hannover native Andre Breitenreiter, a former coach of Paderborn and Schalke in the Bundesliga, and three wins and two draws from their five games since have given Hannover an excellent chance of returning to the top flight.

Star Player: Martin Harnik

The undoubted star of Hannover's campaign has been 29-year-old Martin Harnik, who has scored 15 goals in 27 appearances in a bid to return to the league where he has already played close to 200 matches.

Union Berlin (4th, Pld 30, Pts 54)

After winning his battle with cancer, Union midfielder Benjamin Köhler (36) is keen on one more season in the Bundesliga having played 168 times in the league for Eintracht Frankfurt.

Some 54 clubs have graced the Bundesliga since its inception in 1963 and that exclusive group could grow to 55 next season should Union Berlin make it to the top. The club whose only previous major achievement was to reach the final of the DFB Cup in 2001 have suffered a dip in form at the worst possible moment, however, winning just one of their last five games. Yet with a match against Braunschweig still to come, Jens Keller's men could still have a major say in who goes up.

Star Player: Steven Skrzybski

Hamburg's current USMNT international Bobby Wood made a name for himself at Union last season as the division's top scorer, but this year the goals have been spread around. Five players have netted five goals or more, although midfielder Steven Skrzybski is the joint-top scorer with eight.

Click here to check out the Bundesliga table!