Schalke head coach Felix Magath has urged his side to ensure that they finish second in the Bundesliga if they fail to win the title race in Germany.
Magath guided Wolfsburg to the title last season and has helped Schalke mount a strong challenge this term, but his focus remains on a longer-term goal.
He told the club's official website: "If you finish the season second, then you know what you are planning for.
"You know that you are certainly in the Champions League and that you are therefore guaranteed millions of euros in income.
"If you finish third, on the other hand, you have to go into the qualifying and Schalke experienced a few years ago that you can be knocked out there.
"We are second, are two points behind the top and have a small cushion over Leverkusen. We have earned ourselves a position which not many people would have expected from us at the start of the season."