Six stars from six teams bidding for up to five remaining places in Europe next season - the race is on! - © DFL
Six stars from six teams bidding for up to five remaining places in Europe next season - the race is on! - © DFL
bundesliga

Bundesliga 2021/22 European battle: final-day permutations

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The current top seven clubs will all represent Germany in Europe next season, but who goes into what competition will be decided only on the final day of the season.

Disregarding champions Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, who are already mathematically certain of Champions League football next season, four other clubs will learn which European competition they will play in next season on Matchday 34.

bundesliga.com takes a look at who could end up where...

RB Leipzig

Current position: 4th
Points: 57
Goal difference: +35
Remaining fixtures: Bielefeld (a)

Domenico Tedesco's team boasted the best record in the Bundesliga in 2022, prior to back-to-back defeats to Union Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach. They were beaten in their UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg, but climbed back up to fourth with a win at home to Augsburg. Then it's off to Bielefeld to potentially seal the deal, with a point enough to do the trick, given their superior goal difference over Freiburg.

Key player: Christopher Nkunku

The formidable Frenchman is a difference maker, having supplied 18 goals and 13 assists already this season. However, his record gets even better when you focus purely on the games since Tedesco took charge, with 12 of those goals and nine of the assists coming from a freer attacking role afforded to him by his new coach.

Watch: The evolution of Nkunku

Freiburg

Current position: 4th
Points: 55
Goal difference: +16
Remaining fixtures: Leverkusen (a)

The Black Forest club would have been well placed for Champions League qualification by beating Union Berlin in their last home game of the season, but a 4-1 defeat has left them relying on results elsewhere. They head to Leverkusen on the final day of the season looking to gatecrash their hosts' Champions League party, with a win there giving them the chance to join in the celebrations, though they will need a favour from Bielefeld who face Leipzig.

Key player: Nico Schlotterbeck

The embodiment of the safety-first approach which has propped up Freiburg's season so well, Schlotterbeck has not just emerged as one of the Baden-Württemberg club's leading lights this year, he has also picked up his first cap for Germany and shown a maturity which goes beyond his 22 years. It is safe to say Schlotterbeck is already a leader on the field, and set to lead Freiburg into Europe.

Union Berlin

Current position: 6th
Points: 54
Goal difference: +5
Remaining fixtures: Bochum (h)

Heading into the final round of matches, Union already know they will be in Europe again next season, but only a win over Bochum would ensure they do not have to go through the qualifying rounds, and they would be in the Europa League too. If they lose, they risk slipping to seventh, though, and that would mean another early start in the Conference League qualifiers.

Key player: Taiwo Awoniyi

Union's former Liverpool forward Awoniyi has spent the season sharpening his eye for goal and doubling up on his debut Bundesliga campaign, taking his tally to 13 goals and becoming an increasingly important figure in the capital club's attack. If a second straight season of European football is to arrive in Berlin, Awoniyi will be largely responsible for it.

Watch: Awoniyi on target as Union beat Frankfurt on Matchday 30

Cologne

Current position: 7th
Points: 52
Goal difference: +4
Remaining fixtures: Stuttgart (a)

Cologne are guaranteed European football after securing seventh at worst in defeat to Wolfsburg. That means they will enter the Europa Conference League qualifiers at the very least, but a win in Stuttgart could see them climb into the top six, and make it into the Europa League instead.

Key player: Anthony Modeste

Only once before has Modeste scored more than 19 in a single Bundesliga season, and that was also the last time Cologne qualified for Europe. Could that be a coincidence? Well, his 25 goals in 2016/17 may be unrepeatable, but he can certainly be expected to increase his current haul in celebrating the same outcome.