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This season, Bayern, Dortmund and Schalke progressed from the Champions League group stage to the knockout rounds as group winners. The only blemish to the Bundesliga's record was that the fourth team with a chance of competing in Europe's greatest club tournament, Gladbach, failed to qualify for the group stage in their playoff against Dynamo Kiev.
Gladbach were a tremendously inexperienced team whose only European pedigree can be found 30 years back in the history books. They suffered greatly from naivety and were duly knocked out by the Ukrainian side.
The same is entirely a possibility in 2013-14, especially if Freiburg or Frankfurt pip Schalke to fourth place in the final matchday of the current season. But, if the Gelsenkirchen side can hold onto their position this weekend, the Bundesliga will have four strong teams involved in Champions League play next year.
As Champions League finalists, Bayern and Dortmund are to be feared by any side. Even though BVB are likely to be placed in Pot 3, they could well be group favorites depending on the draw. As a Pot 1 side, Bayern most certainly will.
Schalke will likely be seeded for the playoff round, and if they negotiate their way to the group stage, can expect to be placed in Pot 2. They in all likelihood will not be group favorites, but having beaten Arsenal to first in their group this season, they can be confident heading into the next, which will be their third European campaign in four seasons.
Leverkusen are quite inexperienced and somewhat of a wild card. They competed in the Champions League one season ago and advanced from their group, but were humiliated by Barcelona in the first knockout round. Their performance in Europe in recent years has been rather underwhelming, and accordingly the Werkself may be in Pot 4.
With several young talents on the rise, however, it's possible that Leverkusen will progress from their group. It all depends on the draw.