With only two points separating the bottom three clubs, that scenario could conceivably even spill over into the final matchday, making for a nail-biting finale of rare scope. On the other hand, matters could equally well be a lot more clear-cut come the end of this weekend's programme. bundesliga.com has the overview on the possible Matchday 33 permutations:
Five points clear of third-bottom Hamburger SV, Stuttgart technically still need a win at home to VfL Wolfsburg to be definitively safe from the threat of relegation, regardless of results elsewhere. If they lose and Hamburg and 1. FC Nürnberg both fail to win, it will likewise be mission accomplished for Huub Stevens' charges. A draw would put them beyond Nürnberg's mathematical reach, as well as leaving HSV needing to beat both FC Bayern München and 1. FSV Mainz 05 decisively. Even then, Gotoku Sakai (l., with Ibrahima Traore) and Co. would have to lose heavily enough at Bayern on Matchday 34 to allow der Club to make up the current nine-goal difference between the sides.
Third-bottom and five points down on 15th-place Stuttgart, Hamburg could yet wriggle free of the drop zone given an unlikely combination of results, but following last week's
3-1 defeat at FC Augsburg even head coach Mirko Slomka (r.) conceded the Bundesliga's only ever-present side are now targeting “the play-off spot and nothing else.” Victory over a Bayern side on the rebound from their UEFA Champions League mauling at the hands of Real Madrid would secure it, should Nürnberg simultaneously lose at home to Hannover 96, while even a draw for Nürnberg would leave the Red Shorts needing three points and a goal difference of at least nine better off going into the final matchday.
As it stands, even Nürnberg have a theoretical chance of edging past Stuttgart and out of the bottom three on goal difference. Back in the real world, they aim to stake their claim for the play-off berth by beating Hannover in their final home game to ensure they still have a fighting chance of avoiding a record eighth Bundesliga demotion going into the regular season closer at Champions League-chasing FC Schalke 04. To do so, FCN will have to turn around a dismal run of nine defeats in their last ten outings - and of course, any slip-ups from their direct rivals will be welcome grist to the mill.
Down in 18th but far from out, Eintracht Braunschweig could even propel themselves into the play-off place ahead of the final matchday with a , should Hamburg lose at home to Bayern and Nürnberg fail to beat Hannover. Come what may, three points on Saturday would keep Eintracht in the Bundesliga at least until the final matchday. Should they lose, though, even a draw for HSV would make survival very tough for Torsten Lieberknecht's men, given their inferior goal difference - and were Nürnberg to win as well, the outlook would be very gloomy indeed. A draw, meanwhile, would be enough to keep Braunschweig's hopes still flickering for another week, barring a win for Hamburg against FC Bayern.