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From first to fourth

All options open for FCB in last day thriller

The 2008-9 Bundesliga finale is one of the most exciting ever, with just three points covering the teams from leaders VfL Wolfsburg down to fourth-placed Hertha BSC Berlin. The Wolves are the bookies’ favourites for the title with 66 points and the best goal difference of all, but Bayern and VfB Stuttgart on 64 points, and even theoretically Berlin with a point less, can all still claim the shield. has studied the various permutations from the point of view of Germany’s most successful club. As it happens, the side supervised by caretaker boss Jupp Heynckes could finish anywhere from first to fourth – or in other words, from successfully defending their league crown, to missing out on the Champions League altogether and dropping into the Europa League, next year’s newly-established successor to the UEFA Cup.

Bayern are champions…
…if they win at home to VfB Stuttgart and leaders Wolfsburg lose at home to Werder Bremen.
…if they win by seven goals and Wolfsburg draw 0-0.
…if they win by eight goals and Wolfsburg play out a scoring draw.

Bayern finish second…
…if they beat Stuttgart and Wolfsburg take a point against Bremen.
…if they draw with Stuttgart and Hertha BSC fail to win in Karlsruhe.

Bayern finish third…
…if they lose at home to Stuttgart and Hertha BSC take no more than one point off Karlsruhe.

Bayern finish fourth…
…if they lose to Stuttgart and Hertha win in Karlsruhe.

If two or more teams finish level on points at the end, the final positions are decided on the following criteria (in this order):
1. Goal difference
2. Total goals scored
3. Direct (head-to-head) comparison
4. Number of away goals scored in the direct comparison
5. Total away goals scored
6. Play-off at a neutral venue