Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen will be in Europe next season, but will Union Berlin and VfB Stuttgart also join them? - © DFL
Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen will be in Europe next season, but will Union Berlin and VfB Stuttgart also join them? - © DFL
bundesliga

Bundesliga 2020/21 European deciders: fixtures, form and key men

Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg are into the UEFA Champions League, while Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen are into the UEFA Europa League, but there's still the UEFA Europa Conference League place to be decided on the final matchday of the 2020/21 season.

bundesliga.com assesses the four remaining candidates vying for seventh place…

Union Berlin

Position: 7th
Points: 
47
Goal difference: +6

Season so far: Union looked very much at home in their maiden Bundesliga campaign in 2019/20, comfortably finishing in 11th place. Any thoughts of the dreaded second-season syndrome were dispelled early on, with Urs Fischer's side as high as sixth after the first third of 2020/21. Draws with Bayern and Gladbach and a victory over Dortmund proved they were no one-hit wonders, and they have continued to pick up points consistently ever since. A draw at Leverkusen on the penultimate weekend of the season put them in pole position for that prized seventh place, meaning a win against Leipzig will seal the deal.

Key man: Max Kruse

The 32-year-old missed several weeks with injury earlier this season, but remains the team’s most potent attacker with 10 goals and five assists to his name in his first year at the club. Experienced, a penalty expert and with a wand of a left boot, the former Germany international could well be the difference between qualifying for Europe or not.

Remaining fixture: Leipzig (h)

Watch: Kruse: "Europe a dream, but we're under no illusions"

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Position: 8th
Points: 46
Goal difference: +6

Season so far: Gladbach went fifth on Matchday 18 as they demolished Dortmund 5-2 and their sights were, at the time, set on grabbing a top-four slot. Less than a month later, however, they were rocked by the news that coach Marco Rose will instead be in the BVB dugout next term and his team's form declined shortly after the news broke. Whether a coincidence or not, the results were hard to ignore as Gladbach went seven games without a win (D2, L5), before collecting 10 points from a possible 12 prior to the Matchday 30 loss from 2-0 up at Hoffenheim. They bounced back by putting five past Bielefeld without reply, only to suffer a 6-0 drubbing in Munich on Matchday 32. Further disappointment followed a week later with a 2-1 defeat to Stuttgart which saw them slip to eighth, no longer in control of their own destiny as they travel to survival-seeking Bremen.

Key man: Lars Stindl

The Gladbach captain has been at his talismanic best again in 2020/21, chalking up a personal best of 13 league goals to lead the way in the club's scoring charts. Stindl has also laid on six goals for his teammates, a number only Jonas Hofmann (11) can better at Borussia-Park this term.

Remaining fixture: Bremen (a)

Watch: Lars Stindl named December's Player of the Month

VfB Stuttgart

Position: 9th
Points:
45
Goal difference: +3

Season so far: For Stuttgart to even be in contention for a European finish after earning promotion last year speaks volumes for the fearless attacking approach head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo's side have adopted. They're seventh league-wide for goals scored with 54, and while other sides rely predominantly on the likes of Haaland, Silva and Weghorst, Stuttgart are more unpredictable: Nico Gonzalez has six, Sasa Kalajdzic 16 and Silas Wamangituka 11. Clinical on the counter-attack, VfB have only lost three times at home since the turn of the year - to Leipzig, Dortmund and Wolfsburg. Back-to-back wins at home to Augsburg on Matchday 32 and at Gladbach on Matchday 33 have left them still in contention to snatch seventh, though they need to beat Bielefeld and hope both Union and Gladbach slip up.

Key man: Sasa Kalajdzic

With revelatory Congolese winger Silas sidelined for the remainder of the campaign, the onus fell on Kalajdzic to fire his team into what looked an unlikely European place at the start of the season. The Austrian scored in seven consecutive league games from Matchdays 19-25, aided and abetted by his near-telepathic understanding with left-back Borna Sosa. The proverbial supply chain was sidelined for defeats to Union and Wolfsburg with a knee complaint as Kalajdzic failed to score for only the third and fourth time in his last 12 outings, but struck once more against Augsburg on Matchday 32 before netting the winner against Gladbach which keeps Stuttgart in the hunt on the final matchday.

Remaining fixture: Bielefeld (h)

Watch: Sasa Kalajdzic: "We're knocking on the door for Europe"

Freiburg

Position: 10th
Points: 45
Goal difference: +2

Season so far: Christian Streich is once again performing magic with his Freiburg side in his ninth season in charge of the club. Despite losing first-choice goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow, first-choice centre-back Robin Koch and first-choice forward Luca Waldschmidt in the summer, Freiburg are flirting with the European places once again, with a draw at home to Bayern leaving them still mathematically in the hunt. They head to Frankfurt needing to win and then hope results elsewhere go their way.

Key man: Vincenzo Grifo

Grifo had scored seven times up to Matchday 14 but - not helped by a spell in quarantine - didn't add a team-leading eighth to his tally until the Matchday 31 draw with Hoffenheim. The Italy international struck again in Cologne on Matchday 32, and has also produced seven assists.

Remaining fixture: Frankfurt (a)

Vincenzo Grifo has been the creative spark leading Freiburg towards Europe. - DFL