Bundesliga preview: Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen close on Champions League places
Schalke and Leverkusen lead the race for the final Champions League places going into the 32nd round of the Bundesliga.
Last Updated: 25/04/14 9:06am
With three games of the season remaining, nine points separate Schalke in third from Borussia Monchengladbach in sixth with Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg sandwiched in between.
Three sides qualify directly from the Bundesliga for the Champions League with the side finishing fourth entering the play-offs, and this weekend could be decisive.
Schalke can end Gladbach's hopes when the two teams meet on Sunday evening while Bayer Leverkusen face a tricky test at home to Borussia Dortmund, leaving Wolfsburg with a chance to snatch fourth on Saturday afternoon when they host Freiburg.
"I'm going to give everything over the next three weeks for the maximum success," said Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking.
The last time the Wolves featured in the Champions League was after they won the title in 2009. They have failed to qualify for Europe since.
"I just want us to win our final three matches because anything else is irrelevant if we don't," added the club's director of sport Klaus Allofs.
Behind the top six, Mainz have the chance to clinch their berth in the Europa League next season when they host Nurnberg, who arrive at the Coface Arena with their third new coach of the season.
Roger Prinzen has been placed in charge of the Bavarians for the final three games of the season after Gertjan Verbeek was sacked this week, and he has a challenge on his hands lifting the Bavarians out of the bottom two.
They trail Hamburg by just a point, but are five adrift of Stuttgart, who can pull further away on Friday night when they travel to Hannover.
Hamburg travel to Augsburg on Sunday when they will already know how valuable a win will be to their hopes of avoiding a first ever relegation.
Meanwhile, Eintracht Braunschweig would all but bid the Bundesliga farewell unless they can get the better of Hertha Berlin in the capital on Saturday.
Elsewhere, champions Bayern Munich host Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim entertain Eintracht Frankfurt in the only two games this weekend where nothing, other than pride, is at stake.