Bayern Munich may be within touching distance of the title, but below them it is turning into a thriller with ten clubs battling it out for European qualification.

Right down to Hertha Berlin in 11th, and potentially also Freiburg in 12th, European football next season is still high up on the agenda for more than half the clubs in the Bundesliga, with an enthralling European scramble in store.

Changes to European club competitions from next season mean that the top four finishers in Europe's top four leagues – Germany, England, Spain and Italy – will all go straight into the Champions League group stage, and the race is well and truly on.

Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig have all spent time in second place in recent weeks, while Eintracht Frankfurt have muscled their way into the top three off the back of an excellent recent run of form. They are the most palpable candidates for a top-four finish, but with two UEFA Europa League berths on offer to those below, rarely have so many clubs still been in contention heading into the final quarter of the campaign.

This, once again, sets the Bundesliga apart.

By comparison, in England's Premier League, the top six places are as good as decided. The top five seem set to contest four berths in the Champions League, with a seven-point gap down to Arsenal in sixth and a further nine points to seventh-placed Burnley.

In Spain, Barcelona have a 17-point advantage over their perennial rivals Real Madrid, but Atletico are only seven adrift of the Catalans in what is still, on paper at least, an open race for the title. However they, together with third-placed Valencia and Real in fourth, are odds-on to take Spain's four UEFA Champions League berths.

Down in Italy, Napoli and Juventus are battling it out for the Scudetto, with a gap of 15 points down to the two Rome clubs Roma and Lazio in third and fourth. Inter Milan are clinging on behind them, but they have left Sampdoria and Milan seven points in their wake, effectively leaving just three clubs competing for two places in the Champions League.

Dortmund are leading a fierce chase behind Bayern for a place in the Champions League next season. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Back in Germany, Hannover 96, Augsburg, Hoffenheim, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hertha are all grouped within just two points in pursuit of sixth-placed Schalke, who in turn could be as high as second come the end of Matchday 24 – it is that tight up there.

With Bayer Leverkusen hosting Bayern and Schalke entertaining Frankfurt in the semi-finals of the DFB Cup, the eventual winner seems set to come from the top six, which means seventh place becomes meaningful, with a Europa League qualifying berth the reward.

It stands to reason, then, that seven of the nine fixtures on Matchday 24 will have an impact on the chances of the sides chasing European football, with Hannover's clash with Gladbach and Schalke's trip to Leverkusen standing out. Schalke host Hertha a week later, with Leipzig entertaining Dortmund, but do not bet against this being a race which will go down to the wire.

Watch: the most exciting conclusion to a season EVER!

That stirs up memories of scenarios such as Schalke's crucial win at Freiburg to snatch Champions League football in 2014, or the most dramatic of title victories of all time in 2001.

On the final day of the season, Hoffenheim host Borussia Dortmund, Hertha entertain Leipzig, Freiburg welcome Augsburg to the Black Forest, Eintracht Frankfurt travel to Gelsenkirchen and Bayer Leverkusen have Hannover as their guests at the BayArena. Five final-day fixtures could potentially determine who will be waving the Bundesliga's flag around the continent next season.

Stick with us – it promises to be a thriller.

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