Monday's soccer news starts with the Bundesliga table. With Bayern Munich already wrapping up the title and Borussia Dortmund finishing 2nd, we head into Saturday's final matchday with only a few questions remaining. 3rd through 5th-place could still change, with two of those three clubs taking the remaining Champions League places.
RB Leipzig leads that list with 63 points, a point ahead of 4th-place Gladbach. Bayer Leverkusen is 5th with 60 points. Leipzig plays at 15-place Augsburg, good news considering it's a mismatch and since the season resumed they're better away from home. Gladbach is home to 10th-place Hertha BSC, while Leverkusen finishes at home to 13th-place Mainz. The safe assumption is that the table stays the same.
"It’s an extremely important game," Gladbach's Lars Stindl said of the finale against Hertha. On the one hand, we’re happy to be in fourth right now and to have control of our destiny. We will take this week to recover and to prepare ourselves for Saturday. We’ve had a pretty successful season so far and are definitely looking to end the season with a win."
The remaining Europa League spots go to the 6th and 7th-place finishers with Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim level on 49 points. Hoffenheim is going to have to pass Wolfsburg on points. Goal difference favors Wolfsburg +6 to -4. The four-point gap between 7th and 8th place means there's no danger for either of them falling out of the European spots, but position matters. 6th-place qualifies for the group stage. 7th-place means the second qualifying round. Wolfsburg hosts Bayern while Hoffenheim is at Borussia Dortmund. It's another set of matchups that leads to the safe assumption that the table stays the same.
Meanwhile, there's a better than good chance that the relegation zone doesn't change. There's a six-point gap between 16th-place Fortuna Dusseldorf and safety, meaning Fortuna's job is holding onto what they have and entering the relegation playoff. Werder Bremen two points behind in 17th-place could spoil that, but it would take a lot going in their favor. They'd need to beat 14th-place Cologne at home, not a monumental scenario by itself. Then Fortuna would have to not win at 12th-place Union Berlin. Werder winning and Fortuna drawing would need a goal swing to push the tiebreaker in Fortuna's favor. That means making up the difference between Werder's '32 and Fortuna's -28.
As for the rest of the clubs with USMNT players, Eintracht hosts Paderborn with the potential to move from 9th to 8th. Goal difference means they can only drop a spot to 10th regardless of what happens on Saturday. That goal difference advantage is over 11th-place Schalke, realistically only capable of moving up one spot to 10th with a win at Freiburg and Hertha BSC losing to Gladbach. Only three points separate 11th-place from 15th, with the potential for a final day shakeup.
"We’re all very disappointed," Schalke's Daniel Caligiuri said following Saturday's 4-1 loss to Wolfsburg. "We wanted to end our bad run in our final home game of the season. Wolfsburg were deserved winners. I’m annoyed about the set-piece goals – we had a clear plan for dead balls. You will concede goals if you’re not wide awake. What’s going on in our heads plays a big role – it can certainly hinder us. We can’t think so negatively in the future, but it’s really difficult for us right now. We will fight until the season is over and we will try to end our slump in Freiburg."
Moving to the soccer news, The Guardian's Andy Brassell works through Werder Bremen's unlikely chance of getting to the relegation playoffs. AP's Rob Harris reports on the next Bundesliga TV deal. The NY Times' Tariq Panja also explains the TV rights issue for the Bundesliga, with less money coming from broadcasters. The Athletic's Jack Pitt-Brooke questions how the Championship clubs treat the possibility of promotion.
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