What does consistent mean in football

Soccer: Relegation

For some it is the last chance to save a messed up season, for others the opportunity to crown a good season. Relegation has been back in German professional football since the 2008/09 season. Find out everything about the rules, history and criticism of the relegation games here.

What is relegation?

In football, relegation is understood to mean two play-offs that involve promotion or relegation to another league. In Germany, in the relegation of the professional leagues, the third-placed player in the lower league will play against the third-bottom player in the higher league. There is a return leg. In this mode, relegation games take place between the first and second as well as between the second and third football league.

If the team in the lower league wins, it is promoted, while the team in the higher league must be relegated. If, on the other hand, the team in the higher league emerges victorious, both teams remain in their leagues.

There is no relegation for the first two and the last two clubs in the three professional leagues. You ascend or descend directly.

There are a number of other regulations in the amateur leagues. Sometimes only one game is played, which then takes place on a neutral pitch.


Who will play at home first?

The team that has had the longer break since the last competitive game has to play in the home stadium first. But does the team that plays in the second and decisive game at home have an advantage? The football experts disagree on this. The domestic fans are an incentive, but they can also provide additional pressure.

What is the away goals rule?

The away goals rule is characteristic of the home and return game in football. This means that in the event of a tied goal after the return leg, the team that has scored more goals in the foreign stadium wins. In 2014, for example, Hamburger SV won the relegation against Greuther Fürth with a 1-1 draw in the second leg. The first leg in Hamburg had ended goalless 0-0, which meant that both teams had scored the same number of goals after two games. The decisive factor, however, was that HSV had scored its goal in the Fürth stadium.

Relegation international

The relegation mode is not only available in German professional football. Many other European leagues, including France, also determine the promoted and relegated players in relegation games.

In England and in Spain However, there is no classic relegation, as the last three teams in the Premier League or the Primera Division are relegated directly. The first two clubs in the second division are promoted directly, while the third promoted team is played off in play-off rounds. In the play-off rounds, the four teams compete against each other from third to sixth place.

Also in Italy the second division teams from third to sixth place determine the last promoted team in a play-off mode. However, it is much more complicated than in England or Spain:

• In this way, the third placed can also be promoted directly if he is more than nine points ahead of the fourth placed.

• Depending on how many points the teams between third and eighth place have, the play-offs take place with up to six or just two teams.

• In addition, in these games it is not the away goals rule in the event of a tie that counts, but the table position after the end of the regular season.

In the United States, Canada and Australia By the way, there is no ascent or descent at all!

History of the relegation

Read the history of the relegation here.

Where does the relegation come from?

In German football, relegation goes hand in hand with the introduction of the single-track 2nd Bundesliga in 1982. Before that, there was the double-track Bundesliga, which means that both the first team in the 2nd Bundesliga North and the first team in the 2nd Bundesliga South rose on. The third climber was determined in promotion games in which the two runners-up competed against each other. With the introduction of the single-track 2nd Bundesliga, the first and second-placed teams rose directly and the third-placed team played against the third-last from the 1st Bundesliga

Up until 1991, the promoted and relegated players were played off in relegation games, but in a slightly different mode than today: There was a third playoff on neutral ground if no winner had been determined after the first and second leg. This was the case in 1986, 1988 and 1991.

Since when has the relegation been back in the Bundesliga?

Relegation has been back in German professional football since the 2008/09 season, after it was abolished in 1991 when the West German and East German divisions were merged. The first relegation games since the reintroduction were clearly won by the second division team Nuremberg in 2009. Against Energie Cottbus, the Franks won 3-0 in the first leg and 2-0 in the second leg.


How often has a second division team won the relegation?

The fact that the second division team prevails in the relegation is a rather rare phenomenon. Since 2009, only Fortuna from Düsseldorf made it to the top division when they won against Hertha BSC in 2012. In total, the second division has only triumphed five times over the first division since the relegation matches were played. Interestingly enough, however, since 2009 seven of the nine duels between the second and third division have ended in favor of the third division - an indication that the performance gap between the second and third division is less great?

Fan riots

For one it is about bare survival and for the other it is about the long-awaited promotion to the higher division. Understandable that emotions boil up in the relegation. Not infrequently there are fanatic riots:

Fortuna Düsseldorf's win against Hertha BSC in 2012 is definitely one of the most memorable relegation games. The reason for this is the storm of the euphoric Fortuna fans one minute before the end of the game. Believing that the game was over, thousands stormed onto the field to celebrate the supposed victory. A trailer even stole the penalty spot. Only after 15 minutes could the game start again and finally ended 2: 2 (first leg 2: 1) in favor of Düsseldorf. The Berliners protested the result, but failed in two instances and were relegated.

Fan riots also occurred in 2017 in the game 1860 Munich against Jahn Regensburg. When the defeat of the Lions and with it the relegation to the third division became apparent, the fans of Munich began to riot. A storm could only be prevented with a large contingent of police officers in protective clothing. Ten officers were injured by projectiles such as seat shells and bars. The game had to be interrupted for a total of 13 minutes.

When are the relegation games in the Bundesliga?

The relegation games are always played at the end of the regular season. The duels between the 16th of the first and the third of the second division will take place on May 17th and 21st in 2018. The dates are set anew every season.

Who has had to play the relegation so far?

The following teams have fought to stay in the first division or to move up to the top German division.

Where is the relegation broadcast?

In 2018, ZDF will broadcast the relegation to the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga free of charge on free TV. The Eurosport streaming service also shows the games. To do this, however, you have to purchase the Eurosportplayer for a fee.


Your friends want to watch the crucial relegation game with you, but you have no idea about football? No problem! If you drop the following phrases during the game (at the right moment), no one will notice that you are a footballer:

• If a clear victory for the favorite is expected before the game, but you want to say that the underdog also has a chance: "Every game starts with 0-0."

• The universal wisdom before every game: "There must be zero at the back."

• If your friends express displeasure with the unsightly quality of the game: "There is no beauty prize to be won in football."

• If the defense allows many chances: "There is a blaze in the back."

• Always fits: "Anything is possible in football."

• When things get a little rough on the pitch: "You have to find your way to the game through the fight."

• When a team consistently plays forwards: "You are playing to win here."

• When your friends talk about the away goals rule: "Away goals count twice."

• If a team does come back after a long deficit: "Those who have been told dead live longer."

• If the decisive hit was just missed: "That would have been the decision."

Criticism of the relegation

Critics of the relegation often disapprove of the excessive emotionality of the games, which often leads to fan riots, as described above.

Protection of the first division?

With a view to the statistics, it is also criticized that the relegation serves to protect the first division. In fact, only two temporary division clubs have made it to the top since 2009. As a result, top division clubs that have played a bad season would be rewarded with one last chance in the end. Teams that would actually have been promoted after years of development would be deprived of the wages they deserve. The season will be reduced to two games. It is fairer to score the entire season. The relegation twisted the sporting reality, say the critics.

Clear wrong decisions

Hamburger SV is usually used as a prominent example in this line of argument. The Bundesliga dinosaur, who has never been relegated in its history, saved himself after two desolate seasons in 2014 and 2015 with the last of his strength in the relegation and won there both times happily. In the game against Karlsruher SC, a clear wrong decision by the referee in favor of HSV caused a heated debate.

In this year's relegation first leg between Wolfsburg and Braunschweig, the referee was the focus with a controversial penalty decision for Wolfsburg. The first division team converted the penalty kick to 1-0 final score and thus laid the foundation for relegation. Braunschweig's coach summed up the dilemma of the relegation after the final whistle: “With such a decision, the whole season may be screwed up.” He was proven right: Wolfsburg stayed in the league.

Design your own soccer jerseys

We hope that we were able to explain to you what relegation is and that you have received some exciting background information. You can also find more about football in our article “The history of football at a glance.” Take a look at our range of jerseys and design your own team's shirts!

Pictures: Cover picture: © iStock / snowflock, picture 1: © iStock / simonkr, picture 2: © iStock / cbies