(This is part 2 of our two-part series on the Final Day of the 2020-21 season. Read part 1 from yesterday, where we cover the final day for the Bundesliga.)
Despite the drama at the top of the German football pyramid being relatively non-existent, like any other season, there’s more important things to look out for than championships.
While Bayern Munich wrapped up their ninth consecutive Bundesliga crown two weekends ago, other teams were in a tight competition for coveted European spots. Other clubs across all three of the top divisions of German football were fighting to either move up a division or to stay in their current one.
In part two, we take a look at who is fighting for titles, playoffs, and safety in both the 2. Bundesliga and 3. Bundesliga.
Let’s look at the lay of the land below.
(Bold indicates a clinched position in the table, italics means ONLY clinching a competition [i.e., promotion, safety etc.], teams with normal type means they currently hold the spot, but haven’t officially secured it)
Champion: VfL Bochum
Promotion: VfL Bochum, Holstein Kiel
Promotion Playoff: Greuther Fürth
Fight for the Title pt. 1
As you may have noticed, VfL Bochum (1st, 64 points, +25 GD) will be playing in the Bundesliga next season for the first time since the 2009-10 season. That has been confirmed and is a certainty. With the other two teams in the top 3 of the 2. Liga table, they too will have the chance to play in the top flight. The question is whether or not they will have to play another game.
With fourth place Fortuna Düsseldorf five points off of third place, it now becomes a race to grab the last automatic qualifying spot between Holstein Kiel (2nd, 62 points, +23 GD) and Greuther Fürth (3rd, 61 points, +24 GD).
Looking at who all three teams play, the easier games lie with those further up the table.
Bochum need very little against lowly SV Sandhausen in order to clinch their fourth 2. Bundesliga title in team history.
Holstein Kiel, the team who knocked Bayern out en route to a semifinal appearance in the DFB Pokal, have never played in the Bundesliga before. Their closest taste of it was losing in the promotion round of the 1964-65 season. Kiel have a chance to go up this weekend with a good result against SV Darmstadt.
Meanwhile Greuther Fürth, who have only played one disastrous season in the Bundesliga, have the hardest test ahead of them. To achieve automatic promotion against they need to start with a win against the aforementioned Düsseldorf, and then hope things break their way.
Below are the scenarios for both winning the title and qualifying for the playoff.
VfL Bochum (1st, 64 points, +25 GD) v. SV Sandhausen (15th)
Minimum for BOC to win title: Win and in
OR: Match all results below
OR: Lose AND KIE & FÜR draw
Minimum for BOC to be knocked down to the playoff: Lose AND both KIE and FÜR win
Holstein Kiel (2nd, 62 points, +23 GD) v. SV Darmstadt (8th)
Minimum for KIE to win title: Win AND BOC lose
Minimum for KIE to be knocked down to the playoff: Draw/lose AND FÜR win
OR: Lose AND FÜR draw
Greuther Fürth (3rd, 61 points, +24 GD) v. Fortuna Düsseldorf (4th)
Minimum to win title: Win AND KIE draw/lose AND BOC lose
FÜR already hold playoff spot
14. SSV Jahn Regensburg
15. SV Sandhausen
16. VfL Osnabrück
17. Eintracht Braunschweig
18. Würzburger Kickers
Both the second and third divisions have four teams at risk of relegation.
Jahn Regensburg (14th, 35 points, -16 GD) can breathe the easiest of the four teams. They have no risk of dropping all the way down to automatic relegation and only face the fears of the playoff spot if they can’t manage a good result against FC St. Pauli.
We talked already about SV Sandhausen (15th, 34 points, -17 GD) and the tough challenge they face against 1st place Bochum.
The playoff spot currently belongs to VfL Osnabrück (16th, 33 points, -22 GD), who defeated Hamburg SV on Sunday and eliminated the chances of Der Dino for promotion for a second year in a row. Osnabrück play 13th place Erzgebirge Aue.
The team with the toughest climb, Eintracht Braunschweig (17th, 31 points, -25 GD), need everything to break their way in order to make it out of the relegation zone. After losing four of their last seven, their only chance starts with a win against spurned Hamburg.
SSV Jahn Regensburg (14th, 35 points, -16 GD) v. FC St. Pauli (9th)
SSV cannot be automatically relegated (BRA is 4 points back)
Minimum for SSV to drop to relegation playoff: Lose AND SAN & OSN win
SV Sandhausen (15th, 34 points, -17 GD) v. VfL Bochum (1st)
Minimum for SAN to drop to automatic relegation: Lose 1-0 AND OSN win AND BRA win by 7 or greater
Minimum for SAN to drop to relegation playoff: Lose 1-0 AND OSN win
Erzgebirge Aue (13th) v. VfL Osnabrück (16th, 33 points, -22 GD)
Minimum for OSN to drop to automatic relegation: Lose AND BRA win
OR: Draw and BRA win by 4 or greater
OSN already hold playoff spot
Hamburg SV (5th) v. Eintracht Braunschweig (17th, 31 points, -25 GD)
Minimum for BRA to clinch safety: Win by 7 or greater AND OSN draw/lose AND SAN lose
Minimum for BRA to clinch relegation playoff: Win AND OSN lose
OR: Win by 4 and OSN draw
Champion: Dynamo Dresden
Promotion: Dynamo Dresden, Hansa Rostock
Relegation Playoff: FC Ingolstadt
Fight for the Title pt. 2
Unlike the 2. Liga, there is some outside pressure on the top 3.
Dynamo Dresden (1st, 72 points, +31 GD), one of the most successful clubs in the history of the former DDR-Oberliga is back in the second division after being relegated last year. They will win the third division title for the second time in club history with a good result against Wehen Wiesbaden.
Another DDR team, Hansa Rostock, is on the verge of returning to the second division for the first time since 2011-12 season. They will clinch automatic promotion with a win over already doomed VfB Lübeck.
But those matchups might pale in comparison to what could be the biggest match in Germany’s lower divisions this weekend. It’s another edition of a Bavarian Derby when Ingolstadt (3rd, 68 points, +14 GD) faces the team right below them, 1860 München (4th, 66 points, +36 GD). Either team can get knocked out. Either team could make the playoff. One of them could clinch automatic promotion. It’s must-watch football.
Wehen Wiesbaden (6th) v. Dynamo Dresden (1st, 72 points, +31 GD)
Minimum for DRE to win title: Match result with ROS
DRE cannot drop to the promotion playoff spot
Hansa Rostock (2nd, 70 points, +19 GD) v. VfB Lübeck (19th)
Minimum for ROS to win title: Win AND DRE lose
Minimum for ROS to drop to playoff: Lose and ING win
OR: Draw and ING win by 6 goals or more
FC Ingolstadt 04 (3rd, 68 points, +14 GD) v. 1860 München (4th, 66 points, +36 GD)
Minimum for ING to clinch automatic promotion: Win and ROS lose
OR: Win by 6 or more AND ROS draw
ING currently hold relegation playoff
Minimum for ING to drop out of promotion playoff: Lose to 1860
1860 cannot clinch automatic promotion
Minimum for 1860 to clinch promotion playoff: Win over ING
16. KFC Uerdingen 05
17. SV Meppen
18. FC Bayern München II
19. VfB Lübeck
20. SpVgg Unterhaching
A draw for 1. FC Kaiserslautern this weekend saved one of the biggest traditional clubs in Germany from dropping out of professional football for the first time in their 120-year history. VfB Lübeck had two games left to play in their season as of Sunday night. But, after losing to FSV Zwickau on Monday, their chances at survival were officially shattered.
After winning back-to-back games in April, KFC Uerdingen 05 (16th, 40 points, -12 GD) only managed two wins in their next nine matches - including five losses. Of the three teams in relegation trouble, they face the toughest opponent in 8th place SV Waldhof Mannheim.
One anecdote summarizes why SV Meppen (17th, 38 points, -25 GD): they have not won a game since March 21st. Even worse, their record is a horrifying 0W-2D-6L. They play underachievers MSV Duisburg in their last game of the season.
In what has to be one of the worst title defenses in all of European football, FC Bayern München II (18th, 37 points, -10 GD) are staring at the abyss. If you thought Meppen’s winless streak was bad, Bayern II’s has been worse. Their last win came against Wiesbaden all the way back on March 7th and they have gone 0W-4D-7L since. A minimum of a win against Hallescher FC is required to avoid complete embarrassment.
Unlike the top two divisions, there is no relegation playoff between a team from the lower parts of the 3. Liga and a team from the Regionalliga. Three teams are fighting for one spot.
SV Waldhof Mannheim (8th) v. KFC Uerdingen 05 (16th, 40 points, -12 GD)
Minimum for KFC to stay up: Win and in
OR: Draw AND have MEP win by less than 13 goals
SV Meppen (17th, 38 points, -25 GD) v. MSV Duisburg (14th)
Minimum for MEP to stay up: Win AND KFC lose
OR: Win by 13 goals or more AND KFC Draw
Bayern München II (18th, 37 points, -10 GD) v. Hallescher FC (11th)
Minimum for BM2 to stay up: Win AND MEP draw/lose AND KFC lose
This is it everyone: who stays up? Who goes down? Let us know what you think below.