The roadmap to Europe

With one match of the season remaining, TSG Hoffenheim have wrapped up their place in European competition. Nonetheless, the Borussia Dortmund clash is still hugely important for TSG.

The 4-0 victory over Union Berlin means TSG Hoffenheim can no longer finish lower than seventh place. As both DFB Cup finalists FC Bayern Munich and Bayer 04 Leverkusen have already booked their places in European competition for next term, seventh place is enough for a Europa League qualifying berth.

That said, TSG are still in with a chance of sixth place and an automatic Europa League spot. But for that to happen, they will be partially reliant on results elsewhere: TSG Hoffenheim need more points against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 34 than VfL Wolfsburg can get from their home game against FC Bayern Munich.

The side that finishes seventh in the Bundesliga would enter the competition in the second qualifying round and would need to get through three rounds in total to reach the Europa League group stages. According to the current schedule, the team would play their first qualifier on 17 September. Rather than the usual home and away legs, there will simply be one knockout fixture.  The third qualifying round would then take place on 24 September, with the play-offs to follow on 1 October.  The draw for the group stages is set to take place on 2 October, and the dates for the six group fixtures have already been set too: 22 and 29 October, 5 and 26 November, 3 and 10 December.

The corona crisis means that qualification for next season's Europa League will kick off significantly later than usual – and possibly even after Matchday 1 of the new Bundesliga campaign. Last season, the seventh-placed team had to start their qualifying campaign in pre-season.

If Hoffenheim are to circumvent qualifiers and book their place in the Europa League directly, they will need to move up to sixth spot on Saturday.

The expected Europa League dates at a glance:

Second qualifying round: 17 September

Third qualifying round: 24 September

Play-offs: 1 October

Draw for the group stages: 2 October

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