Munich - Teetering on the brink of the relegation precipice, the end is nigh for one of 1899 Hoffenheim, FC Augsburg and Fortuna Düsseldorf.

On Saturday, one will be banished to the depths of Bundesliga 2, another will receive a shot at redemption via the play-offs, while the other will live to fight another day. Fine-tooth comb in hand, duly paws through the Matchday 34 permutations...

Fortuna surrendered a one-goal lead against Nuremberg before succumbing to a desperate 2-1 defeat in their final home game of the season. Fortunately for Norbert Meier and Co., Augsburg and Hoffenheim fared no better, leaving Fortuna with their noses just above water, albeit on goal difference, in 15th place. Now they travel to Hanover knowing a win would all but secure their top-flight status for another year. A draw would also suffice - if Augsburg and Hoffenheim fail to win. A 12th consecutive match without victory, meanwhile, puts the Rhineland club in danger of the play-offs or, worse still, automatic relegation. The latter, though, would mean Augsburg picking up at least a point at home to Fürth and Hoffenheim winning in Dortmund.

Augsburg are arguably the form side of the floundering trio, but not even that could spare them a 17th defeat of the season away to champions Bayern last weekend. On the flip side, the fixture computer has been rather kind in handing Michael Weinzierl's troops a home tie with relegated Fürth on the final day. Three points in that one, coupled with Fortuna failing to win, would see them safe. Should both win, barring a gargantuan goal-swing, Augsburg would have to settle for the play-offs. A draw will only be enough for outright safety if Düsseldorf are defeated in Hannover and Hoffenheim draw or lose. Should Hoffenheim fail to win and Fortuna and Augsburg lose, goal difference would determine whether it's destination play-offs or the holy grail that is 15th in the standings.

Hoffenheim's humbling at the hands of Hamburger SV on Matchday 33 has left them with it all to do. Next up on the menu are UEFA Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund at the Signal-Iduna-Park, where a draw or defeat would send Markus Gisdol's charges down. A win coupled with defeats for both Fortuna and Augsburg is the ideal scenario which would leave the other two hanging by a goal difference-determined thread. To that note, a Hoffenheim win coupled with draws elsewhere would almost certainly see the Sinsheim strugglers relegated by virtue of their inferior goal difference (currently -26 compared to Augsburg's -20 and Fortuna's -15). Defeat doesn't bare thinking about.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge