2. Bundesliga Permutations – The 2020-21 Ups and Downs

An intriguing 2. Bundesliga season has reached the final matchday, with very little still settled at either end of the table.

Updated 21st May 2021

Promotion to the Bundesliga

The top two sides will be promoted to the Bundesliga, with the team in third playing the side that finishes third bottom in the Bundesliga in a two-legged play-off.

  1. VfL Bochum: 64 points, +25 goal difference, 33 played
  2. Holstein Kiel: 62 points, +23 goal difference, 33 played
  3. SpVgg Greuther Fürth: 61 points, +24 goal difference, 33 played

Bochum have been favourites to end an 11-year exile from the top flight. They missed their first chance to seal promotion last weekend against Nürnberg but now just need a point from their final game against Sandhausen to confirm it. A win would also guarantee the title. Defeat could see them pushed down as far as third in the final table.

Holstein Kiel also let the chance to reach the Bundesliga for the first time in their history slip last Sunday, but they also have fate in their own hands. They need to beat Darmstadt on Sunday to be certain of promotion, and doing so by two clear goals or more would hand them the title if Bochum slip up. A draw would be enough if Fürth fail to win.

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Fürth sit third, and whilst guaranteed at least a play-off, they can still overtake one or both of the teams above them. A draw against Fortuna Düsseldorf would only be enough if Kiel lost, but if they beat Düsseldorf and Kiel fail to win and/or Bochum lose, they will secure automatic promotion back to the Bundesliga after eight years in the 2. Bundesliga.

Düsseldorf and Hamburger SV saw their promotion chances ended last weekend, whilst 1. FC Heidenheim, FC St. Pauli and Karlsruher SC have also fallen out of the reckoning over the past few weeks.

Relegation to the 3. Liga

The bottom two will be relegated to the 3. Liga, with the side in 16th playing the third placed side in the third tier in a two-legged play-off.

  1. SSV Jahn Regensburg: 35 points, -16 goal difference, 33 played
  2. SV Sandhausen: 34 points, -17 goal difference, 33 played
  3. VfL Osnabrück: 33 points, -22 goal difference, 33 played
  4. Eintracht Braunschweig: 31 points, -25 goal difference, 33 played
  5. Würzburger Kickers: 24 points, -32 goal difference, 33 played (RELEGATED)

Würzburg’s relegation back to the 3. Liga was confirmed a couple of weeks ago when they lost 3-1 to Osnabrück. However they could be set to take Braunschweig back down with them after a consolation win in Lower Saxony last Sunday.

After that damaging defeat, Braunschweig must beat Hamburg to have any chance of at least salvaging a play-off – with goal difference making automatic survival look unlikely – although with the wheels having fallen off at the Volksparkstadion, they will still fancy their chances.

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Osnabrück looked beyond hope a couple of weeks ago but two massive victories leave in the play-off spot on the final day. They need to beat Erzgebirge Aue – more than possible given the recent upheaval in the Ore Mountains – to be sure of finishing above Braunschweig and to give themselves a shot of overtaking Sandhausen and maybe even Regensburg, although a draw could be enough avoid automatic relegation.

Sandhausen face a tough test against promotion-chasing Bochum but a win will secure their survival. A draw or defeat would leave them liable to being overtaken by Osnabrück, but they are unlikely to drop into the second automatic relegation place. A point against St. Pauli could be enough for Regensburg to stay up, but again only a win will ensure they don’t get pushed down into 16th.

Who could replace them?

FC Schalke 04’s inevitable relegation to the 2. Bundesliga was confirmed on the 20th April after defeat to Arminia Bielefeld. 1. FC Köln go into the final matchday in 17th place, one point behind SV Werder Bremen and two behind Bielefeld.

Effzeh need to beat Schalke on Saturday – a draw won’t be enough due to Bremen’s superior goal difference – to have any chance of survival. Bremen, who play out-of-sorts Borussia Mönchengladbach, also have a better goal difference than Bielefeld, who play Stuttgart in their last match.

Last weekend’s results mean that Hertha BSC, FC Augsburg and 1. FSV Mainz 05, despite their awful first half to the campaign, are now safe.

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In the 3. Liga, Dynamo Dresden secured promotion back to the 2. Bundesliga last weekend with a victory against Türkgücü München. Their superior goal difference means just a draw against Wehen Wiesbaden on Saturday will be enough to secure the title as well.

FC Hansa Rostock are the favourites to join them in celebrating promotion, sitting two points clear of FC Ingolstadt 04 and with already-relegated VfB Lübeck their guests in front of 7,500 fans this weekend. A win guarantees second although a draw will likely be enough too due to their better goal difference.

Ingolstadt have a massive game at home to 1860 Munich , and the Lions would pip them to third if they win. A draw would seal a third-successive play-off for Ingolstadt but they need to win and, in all likelihood, hope Rostock lose to go up automatically.

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