Promotion to the 2. Bundesliga
Organising bodiesDFL and DFB
Founded1974; 48 years ago (1974)
Number of teams2 or 3
Qualifier for2. Bundesliga
Current champions1. FC Magdeburg
Eintracht Braunschweig
1. FC Kaiserslautern
2022–23 3. Liga

The Promotion to the 2. Bundesliga (German: Aufstiegsrunde zur 2. Bundesliga) was an end-of-season competition, held annually to determine the clubs that were promoted from the Amateurligas, later the Amateur Oberligas to the 2. Bundesligas. It was necessary because there were more third division champions then promotion spots available.

Originally there were fifteen Amateurligas which were reduced to eight Amateur Oberligas in 1978. From 1981 the 2. Bundesliga was reduced to one single league.

After the introduction of the Regionalliga in 1994, the promotion round was greatly reduced in length, generally only involving two teams. Eventually, after 2000, all promotion spots to the 2. Bundesliga were direct with no deciders necessary. Since the 2008–09 season, after the introduction of the 3. Liga, a promotion round was reintroduced.


Tier two

Originally, there were two 2. Bundesligas, the second tier of the German football league system, these being:

In 1981, these were reduced to just one league, the 2. Bundesliga.

Tier three

In 1975, there were 15 Amateurligas, the third level of German football, these being:

Southern Germany

In 1978, these were reduced to four Amateur Oberligas, these being:

Northern Germany

In 1978, these were reduced to four Amateur Oberligas, these being:

North-Eastern Germany

The following three Oberligas were formed in 1991, after the German reunion.

System and modus

2. Bundesliga South promotion modus

From 1975 until 1978 the champions of the Amateurligas Bayern and Hessen were directly promoted to the 2. Bundesliga. The winners of the Amateurligas Nordbaden, Südbaden, Schwarzwald-Bodensee and Württemberg played out a third promotion spot. The winners of the Amateurligas Saarland, Südwest and Rheinland played out a fourth spot. Both these rounds were played in a home-and-away round robin.

In 1979 and 1980 there was no play-offs as the nine southern Amateurligas had merged to four Oberligas and therefore each champion was promoted directly. This fact was actually the main reason for the merger.

2. Bundesliga North promotion modus

In 1975 and 1976 the champions of the Amateurligas Niederrhein, Mittelrhein and the second placed team in the Oberliga Nord played out two promotion spots. The champion of the Amateurliga Berlin, the champion of the Oberliga Nord and the winner of the decider of the two Westfalen champions played out another two spots.

In 1977 and 1978 the top four teams of the Oberliga Nord, the champions of the Amateurligas Niederrhein, Mittelrhein, Westfalen 1, Westfalen 2 and Berlin played out the four promotion spots in two groups of four. Beforehand, a decider between the 4th placed team from the North and the runners-up of Westfalen reduced the number to eight out of those nine.

In 1979 and 1980 there was no play-offs as the six northern leagues merged to form four Oberligas like in the south. The champions of the Oberligas Nord, Nordrhein and Westfalen were promoted directly, the winner of Oberliga Berlin had to play the runners-up of the Oberliga Nord for the last spot.

2. Bundesliga promotion modus

From 1982 until 1991 the play-offs were split into a north and a south group.

In the southern group the four Oberliga champions of Bayern, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen and Südwest played out two promotion spots. In 1982 this was done in a single round system, afterwards in a home-and-away round robin.

In the northern group the winners of the four Oberligas Berlin, Westfalen, Nordrhein and Nord played out two promotion spots. In 1982 this was done in a single round system, afterwards in a home-and-away round robin. From 1984 the runners-up of the Oberliga Nord was also included in this play-off, taking the number of teams to five.

After the reunification of Germany the number of teams was extended.

In 1991 there was an additional two groups of four teams from East Germany. The winner of each of those four groups were promoted.

In 1992 there was 13 teams in four groups with the group winner gaining promotion. Qualified to this play-off were the ten Oberliga champions, the runners-up from Oberliga Nord and two teams from 2. Bundesliga.

In 1993 and 1994 the ten Oberliga champions and the runners-up from Oberliga Nord played in three groups, two times four and one time three, for three promotion spots.

in 1994 the four Regionalliga were introduced as an intermediate between 2. Bundesliga and the Oberligas. Oberliga teams were now promoted to the Regionalligas instead.

Modus from 1994

With the introduction of the four Regionalligas in 1994, the system for promotion was somewhat simpler. The champions of the Regionalligas Süd and West/Südwest were always directly promoted. The Regionalligas Nord and Nordost were considered a single entity for the purpose of promotion, therefore only one of the two winners could get directly promoted. From 1996, the two winners of the league had to play a home-and-away decider. The reason for this was that each of the first two Regionalligas covered areas with a population and playing strength roughly equal to the combined second two. The fourth promotion spot was allocated the following way:

With the reduction of the numbers of Regionalligas in 2000 to two, play-offs became unnecessary and two teams from each league were directly promoted.

Modus from 2000

After the changes in the league system in 2000, the reduction of the numbers of Regionalligas from four to two, direct promotion was available to the 2. Bundesliga once more. The champions and runners-up of the two Regionalligas moved up without having to play a promotion round. In some instances, a promotion spot was held by a reserve team of a Bundesliga or 2. Bundesliga side, in those cases, the next-best placed first team was promoted instead.

In 2008, the 3. Liga was established as the new third tier, between Regionalligas and 2. Bundesliga. The top-two teams out of the third division are directly promoted. The third placed club has to play the 16th placed team of the 2. Bundesliga in a home and away round to determine who receives the last spot in the second division.[1] Reserve sides, which also play in the 3. Liga, can not earn promotion.

Clubs taking part in the promotion round

Southern Germany (1975–1978)

Season Amateurliga Bayern Amateurliga Hessen
1974–75 Jahn Regensburg FSV Frankfurt
1975–76 Würzburger FV KSV Baunatal
1976–77 Würzburger Kickers VfR Bürstadt
1977–78 MTV Ingolstadt FC Hanau 93
Season Amateurliga Saarland Amateurliga Südwest Amateurliga Rheinland
1974–75 ASC Dudweiler Eintracht Bad Kreuznach Eintracht Trier
1975–76 Borussia Neunkirchen Wormatia Worms Eintracht Trier
1976–77 Borussia Neunkirchen Wormatia Worms TuS Neuendorf
1977–78 Borussia Neunkirchen Mainz 05 TuS Neuendorf
Season Amateurliga Nordbaden Amateurliga Südbaden Amateurliga Württemberg Amateurliga Schwarzwald-Bodensee
1974–75 VfB Eppingen Offenburger FV VfR Aalen SSV Reutlingen
1975–76 VfR Mannheim FC 08 Villingen SpVgg Ludwigsburg BSV Schwenningen
1976–77 SV Neckargerach Freiburger FC SSV Ulm SSV Reutlingen
1977–78 FV Weinheim SC Freiburg SSV Ulm SSV Reutlingen

Southern Germany (1982–1994)

Season Oberliga Bayern Oberliga Hessen Oberliga Baden-Württemberg Oberliga Südwest
1981–82 FC Augsburg FSV Frankfurt SSV Ulm FC Homburg
1982–83 SpVgg Unterhaching VfR Oli Bürstadt SSV Ulm 1. FC Saarbrücken
1983–84 1860 Munich VfR Oli Bürstadt Freiburger FC FC Homburg
1984–85 SpVgg Bayreuth Viktoria Aschaffenburg SV Sandhausen FSV Salmrohr
1985–86 1860 Munich Kickers Offenbach SSV Ulm FSV Salmrohr
1986–87 SpVgg Bayreuth Kickers Offenbach SV Sandhausen Eintracht Trier
1987–88 SpVgg Unterhaching Viktoria Aschaffenburg FV 09 Weinheim Mainz 05
1988–89 SpVgg Unterhaching Hessen Kassel SSV Reutlingen SV Edenkoben
1989–90 Schweinfurt 05 Rot-Weiss Frankfurt SSV Reutlingen Mainz 05
1990–91 1860 Munich Hessen Kassel 1. FC Pforzheim Borussia Neunkirchen
1991–92 SpVgg Unterhaching Viktoria Aschaffenburg SSV Reutlingen FSV Salmrohr
1992–93 1860 Munich Kickers Offenbach SSV Ulm Eintracht Trier
1993–94 FC Augsburg FSV Frankfurt SSV Ulm Eintracht Trier

Northern Germany (1975–1978)

Season Amateurliga Mittelrhein Amateurliga Niederrhein Oberliga Nord
1974–75 Bayer Leverkusen Union Solingen Arminia Hannover
1975–76 Bonner SC 1. FC Bocholt VfL Wolfsburg
Season Amateurliga Westfalen Amateurliga Mittelrhein Oberliga Nord Oberliga Nord
1976–77 Rot-Weiß Lüdenscheid Siegburger SV 04 Union Salzgitter Holstein Kiel
1977–78 DSC Wanne-Eickel Viktoria Köln VfL Wolfsburg Göttingen 05
Season Amateurligas Westfalen Oberliga Berlin Oberliga Nord
1974–75 Westfalia Herne Spandauer SV VfB Oldenburg
1975–76 SC Herford Union 06 Berlin Arminia Hannover
Season Amateurliga Niederrhein Oberliga Berlin Oberliga Nord Qualifier
1976–77 1. FC Bocholt Spandauer SV TuS Bremerhaven SVA Gütersloh
1977–78 Olympia Bocholt Wacker Berlin OSV Hannover Holstein Kiel

Northern Germany (1982–1994)

Season Oberliga Nordrhein Oberliga Westfalen Oberliga Berlin Oberliga Nord (1st) Oberliga Nord (2nd)
1981–82 BV Lüttringhausen TuS Schloß Neuhaus Tennis Borussia Berlin Arminia Hannover
1982–83 Rot-Weiß Oberhausen Eintracht Hamm SC Charlottenburg FC St. Pauli
1983–84 1. FC Bocholt FC Gütersloh Blau-Weiß Berlin FC St. Pauli SV Lurup
1984–85 Rot-Weiss Essen Eintracht Hamm Tennis Borussia Berlin VfL Osnabrück Hummelsbütteler SV
1985–86 Rot-Weiß Essen ASC Schöppingen SC Charlottenburg FC St. Pauli VfB Oldenburg
1986–87 BVL Remscheid SpVgg Erkenschwick Hertha BSC SV Meppen Arminia Hannover
1987–88 MSV Duisburg Preußen Münster Hertha BSC Eintracht Braunschweig VfL Wolfsburg
1988–89 MSV Duisburg Preußen Münster Reinickendorfer Füchse TSV Havelse Göttingen 05
1989–90 Wuppertaler SV Arminia Bielefeld Reinickendorfer Füchse VfB Oldenburg TSV Havelse
1990–91 FC Remscheid SC Verl Tennis Borussia Berlin VfL Wolfsburg Göttingen 05
1991–92 Wuppertaler SV Preußen Münster VfL Wolfsburg TSV Havelse
1992–93 Rot-Weiß Essen Preußen Münster VfL Herzlake SC Norderstedt
1993–94 Fortuna Düsseldorf TuS Paderborn-Neuhaus Kickers Emden Eintracht Braunschweig

North-Eastern Germany (1991–1994)

Season NOFV-Oberliga Nord NOFV-Oberliga Mitte NOFV Oberliga Süd
1991–92 FC Berlin Union Berlin FSV Zwickau
1992–93 Tennis Borussia Berlin Union Berlin Bischofswerdaer FV
1993–94 BSV Brandenburg Energie Cottbus FSV Zwickau


Season Regionalliga Süd Regionalliga West/Südwest Regionalliga Nord Regionalliga Nord-Ost
1994–95 SpVgg Unterhaching Arminia Bielefeld VfB Lübeck Carl Zeiss Jena
1995–96 Stuttgarter Kickers FC Gütersloh

Rot-Weiss Essen

VfB Oldenburg Tennis Borussia Berlin
1996–97 1. FC Nürnberg

Greuther Fürth

SG Wattenscheid Hannover 96 Energie Cottbus
1997–98 SSV Ulm Rot-Weiß Oberhausen Hannover 96 Tennis Borussia Berlin
1998–99 Waldhof Mannheim

Kickers Offenbach

Alemannia Aachen VfL Osnabrück Chemnitzer FC
1999–2000 SSV Reutlingen 1. FC Saarbrücken

LR Ahlen

VfL Osnabrück Union Berlin

The Nord versus Nordost play-off games

These were staged in the five seasons from 1996 to 2000 to determine which team was directly promoted. From 1998, the loser of this games got a second chance for promotion by playing the runners-up of the other two Regionalligas.

Date Team A Team B Game 1 Game 2
1995–96 Tennis Borussia Berlin VfB Oldenburg 1–1 1–2 (a.e.t.)
1996–97 Hannover 96 Energie Cottbus 0–0 1–3
1997–98 Tennis Borussia Berlin Hannover 96 2–0 0–2 (1–3 p)
1998–99 VfL Osnabrück Chemnitzer FC 1–0 0–2
1999–2000 Union Berlin VfL Osnabrück 1–1 1–1 (7–8 p)


All listed teams were promoted:

Season Regionalliga Süd Regionalliga Nord
2000–01 Karlsruher SC FC Schweinfurt 05 1. FC Union Berlin SV Babelsberg 03
2001–02 Wacker Burghausen Eintracht Trier VfB Lübeck Eintracht Braunschweig
2002–03 SpVgg Unterhaching SSV Jahn Regensburg Erzgebirge Aue VfL Osnabrück
2003–04 Rot-Weiß Erfurt 1. FC Saarbrücken Rot-Weiß Essen Dynamo Dresden
2004–05 Kickers Offenbach Sportfreunde Siegen Eintracht Braunschweig SC Paderborn 07
2005–06 FC Augsburg TuS Koblenz Rot-Weiß Essen FC Carl Zeiss Jena
2006–07 SV Wehen TSG 1899 Hoffenheim FC St Pauli VfL Osnabrück
2007–08 FSV Frankfurt FC Ingolstadt 04 Rot-Weiß Ahlen Rot-Weiß Oberhausen

3. Liga

With the introduction of the 3. Liga in 2008, the first two teams of this league earned promotion to the 2. Bundesliga while the third placed team had to go through a promotion round.

Season Champions Runners-up Promotion Playoff Standings
2008–09 Union Berlin Fortuna Düsseldorf SC Paderborn Table
2009–10 VfL Osnabrück Erzgebirge Aue FC Ingolstadt Table
2010–11 Eintracht Braunschweig Hansa Rostock Dynamo Dresden Table
2011–12 SV Sandhausen VfR Aalen Jahn Regensburg Table
2012–13 Karlsruher SC Arminia Bielefeld VfL Osnabrück Table
2013–14 1. FC Heidenheim RB Leipzig Darmstadt 98 Table
2014–15 Arminia Bielefeld MSV Duisburg Holstein Kiel Table
2015–16 Dynamo Dresden Erzgebirge Aue Würzburger Kickers Table
2016–17 MSV Duisburg Holstein Kiel Jahn Regensburg Table
2017–18 1. FC Magdeburg SC Paderborn Karlsruher SC Table
2018–19 VfL Osnabrück Karlsruher SC Wehen Wiesbaden Table
2019–20 Würzburger Kickers[A] Eintracht Braunschweig FC Ingolstadt Table
2020–21 Dynamo Dresden Hansa Rostock FC Ingolstadt Table
2021–22 1. FC Magdeburg Eintracht Braunschweig 1. FC Kaiserslautern Table

3. Liga promotion round

From the 2008–09 season onwards, the third placed team in the 3. Liga had to play the 16th placed team in the 2. Bundesliga for one more spot in the second division:

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
SC Paderborn (3L) 2–0 VfL Osnabrück (2B) 1–0 1–0
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
FC Ingolstadt (3L) 3–0 Hansa Rostock (2B) 1–0 2–0
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Dynamo Dresden (3L) 4–2 VfL Osnabrück (2B) 1–1 3–1 (a.e.t.)
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Jahn Regensburg (3L) 3–3 (a) Karlsruher SC (2B) 1–1 2–2
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
VfL Osnabrück (3L) 1–2 Dynamo Dresden (2B) 1–0 0–2
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Darmstadt 98 (3L) 5–5 (a) Arminia Bielefeld (2B) 1–3 4–2 (a.e.t.)
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Holstein Kiel (3L) 1–2 1860 Munich (2B) 0–0 1–2
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Würzburger Kickers (3L) 4–1 MSV Duisburg (2B) 2–0 2–1
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Jahn Regensburg (3L) 3–1 1860 Munich (2B) 1–1 2–0
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Karlsruher SC (3L) 1–3 Erzgebirge Aue (2B) 0–0 1–3
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Wehen Wiesbaden (3L) 4–4 (a) FC Ingolstadt (2B) 1–2 3–2
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
1. FC Nürnberg (2B) 3–3 (a) FC Ingolstadt (3L) 2–0 1–3
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
FC Ingolstadt 4–3 VfL Osnabrück 3–0 1–3
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Dynamo Dresden 0–2 1. FC Kaiserslautern 0–0 0–2
Symbol Key
(2B) 2. Bundesliga – 16th placed team
(3L) 3. Liga – 3rd placed team

See also


  1. ^ The champions of the 2019–20 3. Liga, Bayern Munich II, could not be promoted as they are a reserve team, so the promotion spot was instead passed down to the next eligible team.


  1. ^ Beschlüsse des DFB-Bundestages – Spielklassenstrukturreform (in German) DFB website, official bulletin regarding the establishment of the 3rd Liga, published: 30 September 2006. Retrieved 13 November 2008
  2. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2008/2009" (in German). Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2009/2010" (in German). Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2010/2011" (in German). Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2011/2012" (in German). Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2012/2013" (in German). Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2013/2014" (in German). Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2014/2015" (in German). Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2015/2016" (in German). Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2016/2017" (in German). Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2017/2018" (in German). Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2018/2019" (in German). Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2019/2020" (in German). Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2020/2021" (in German). Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Relegation 2. Bundesliga 2021/2022" (in German). Retrieved 8 May 2022.