Two of Germany's leading sides are into the semi-finals of this season's Champions League, but two more are already turning their attention to qualifying for next season's tournament.
With Bayern Munich having galloped to the Bundesliga title in record fashion and deposed champions Borussia Dortmund almost secure in second spot, both teams can focus on Europe's premier competition with Bayern facing Barcelona and Dortmund meeting Real Madrid.
Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen do not have such a luxury as they continue their attempt to ring-fence the third spot in the Bundesliga that brings with it guaranteed Champions League football
Leverkusen can take a significant step towards reaching that destination if they can overcome neighbours Schalke in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday, but they will need to forget a period of recent despair.
Leverkusen are four points clear of Schalke in third, have won only one of their last four games while suffering two defeats.
Fourth place in the table means facing a qualifying match to reach the group stages, but a win at Schalke would leave Leverkusen seven points clear with only five matches remaining.
"If we win, we are all but sure to finish third. If we lose, we still can't be overtaken," said Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes.
Schalke seem to have momentum despite being lodged in fourth. They have won five of their last six outings in recovering from some mid-season depression.
Schalke defender Joel Matip is aware of the significance of the occasion.
"It's a crucial game. If we want third place, we really have to win," he said.
Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes admits the focus is on third place and closing to within a solitary point of Leverkusen.
"We are on a good run, but it's going to be close. We had a long, miserable run but if we finish in fourth place we can say we've had a good season, although we have quality to be third."
Schalke will be without forward Jefferson Farfan due to a hamstring injury and midfielder Jermaine Jones, who has a foot injury.