bundesliga.com looks at who is in contention for what prize and how they might get there come May...
No club set more alarm bells ringing than Borussia Dortmund during the Hinrunde. The five-time Bundesliga champions have a monumental task ahead of them after losing ten of their 17 outings and ending 2014 second-bottom. The gap on the four sides currently on 27 points and vying for the final UEFA Champions League place is a surmountable 12, but Jürgen Klopp's floundering troops have history against them. No side has ever leapt more than ten places during a Rückrunde, with Hamburger SV and FC Schalke 04 the only two outfits to succeed on that front, both rising from 17th to seventh in 1968/69 and 2006/07 respectively. Three clubs have marched nine places up the league ladder to secure European football, though, including SV Werder Bremen who jumped from 11th to second back in 1967/68.
Theoretically, then, BVB need four more wins than fourth-in-the-table Borussia Mönchengladbach to take their seat at European football's top table for the fourth year running. It certainly looks doable, but they are not the only strugglers who are just a handful of wins from a healthy position in the table. Rock-bottom SC Freiburg are level on points (17) and goal difference (-8) with BVB, even if Christian Streich's only real concern is how to avoid the drop. Die Breisgauer did it before in 2011/12, rising from bottom to 12th by the end of the campaign. Only 35 per cent of clubs bottom of the table at the halfway stage have managed to stay up, but Freiburg will be buoyed that the current disparity between the drop zone and mid-table is the tightest it's been since 2000/01 (four points).
The race for European football also looks set to be a close-run affair, with second-placed Wolfsburg currently six points ahead of Bayer 04 Leverkusen and seven clear of the four other clubs - Gladbach, FC Schalke 04, FC Augsburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - jockeying for the last Champions League spot. Since the introduction of the three-point rule in 1995, 62 points has usually been enough to finish fourth, although Leverkusen and Schalke managed it with 61 and 55 in 2013/14 and 2012/13 respectively. Gladbach's form has nosedived in each of the last three Rückrundes, while sixth-placed Augsburg would likely have to set a new half-season club record in points gained to be in with a chance. Interestingly, only on three prior occasions has the Hinrunde's leading quartet finished the season still in the top four.
As for the Meisterschale, it appears Bayern already have one hand on the crown. In the last 20 years, 74 points has always sufficed for the trophy, meaning Pep Guardiola's men would need just another 29 to finish the job. Wolfsburg are currently 11 points off the pace, meanwhile, and would almost certainly have to beat the league leaders on Matchday 18, before stringing together the kind of record-breaking run that culminated in their solitary Bundesliga title back in 2008/09 (43 Rückrunde points). That would see them end on 77 points, but even then Bayern would still have to drop at least eight points elsewhere between now and 23 May. The Reds haven't lost a league match since a 3-0 reverse to Dortmund last April, however, and could become the first team in Bundesliga history to go an entire season unbeaten.