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German football league system
Nation
Germany.png Germany
Map Germany Länder-de
States
Baden-Württemberg
Bavaria}
Berlin
Brandenburg
Bremen
Hamburg
Hesse
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia
Rhineland-Palatinate
Saarland
Saxony
Saxony-Anhalt
Schleswig-Holstein
Thuringia
Current Champions (2015–16)
Bayern Munich

The German football league system, or league pyramid, refers to the hierarchically interconnected league system for the association football in Germany that in the season 2014–15 consists of 2,257 divisions having 32,163 teams, in which all divisions are bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. The top three professional levels contain one division each. Below this, the semi-professional and amateur levels have progressively more parallel divisions, which each cover progressively smaller geographic areas. Teams that finish at the top of their division at the end of each season can rise higher in the pyramid, whilst those that finish at the bottom find themselves sinking further down. In theory it is possible for even the lowest local amateur club to rise to the top of the system and become German football champions one day. The number of teams promoted and relegated between the divisions varies, and promotion to the upper levels of the pyramid is usually contingent on meeting additional criteria, especially concerning appropriate facilities and finances.

Structure

The German football league system is held under the jurisdiction of the nationwide German Football Association and its professional body German Football League, along with its five regional associations and their 21 state associations.

On top of the system sit the level one Bundesliga and the level two 2. Bundesliga, both organized by the professional German Football League. The two top flights then are followed by the level three 3. Liga, the lowest full professional division in Germany, held by the German Football Association itself.

The semi-professional level four Regionalliga is divided into 5 regional divisions, these typically organised by one or two of the five regional associations of the German Football association, these being the Northern German Football Association, the North East German Football Association, the Western German Football and Athletics Association, the Regional Football Association South West and the Southern German Football Association. This is except for Bavaria, where the Bavarian Football Association, a state member state association of the Southern German Football Association, runs their top division under their own jurisdiction.

Starting at level five, the various fully amateur divisions are usually governed by the 21 state associations. This is except for the North East German Football Association and Regional Football Association South West, where the regional bodies still run the level five divisions under their jurisdiction, with their state member associations' pyramids therefore set to start at level six.

Level Division
1 Bundesliga
18 teams
↓ 2 relegation spots + 1 relegation playoff spot
2 2. Bundesliga
18 teams
↑ 2 promotion spots + 1 promotion playoff spot
↓ 2 relegation spots + 1 relegation playoff spot
3 3. Liga
20 teams
↑ 2 promotion spots + 1 promotion playoff spot
↓ 3 relegation spots
4 Regionalliga Nord
18 teams
↑ 1 promotion playoff spot
↓ 2 to 3 relegation spots
Regionalliga Nordost
18 teams
↑ 1 promotion playoff spot
↓ 2 to 3 relegation spots
Regionalliga West
19 teams
↑ 1 promotion playoff spot
↓ 3 to 4 relegation spots
Regionalliga Südwest
18 teams
↑ 2 promotion playoff spots
↓ 2 to 5 relegation spots
Regionalliga Bayern
18 teams
↑ 1 promotion playoff spot
↓ 2 to 4 relegation spots
5

Hamburg
state league system

↑ 1 promotion playoff spot

Bremen
state league system

↑ 1 promotion playoff spot

Schleswig-Holstein
state league system

↑ 1 promotion playoff spot

Lower Saxony
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot
+ 1 promotion playoff spot

2 divisions of
NOFV-Oberliga
32 teams
↑ 2 promotion spots
↓ 5 to 9 relegation spots

Lower Rhine
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Middle Rhine
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Westphalia
state league system

↑ 2 promotion spots

Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar
18 teams
↑ 1 to 2 promotion spot
↓ 2 to 5 relegation spots

Oberliga Baden-Württemberg
18 teams
↑ 1 promotion spot
↓ 3 to 6 relegation spots

Hesse
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Bavaria
state league system
6

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Brandenburg
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Berlin
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Saxony-Anhalt
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Thuringia
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot

Saxony
state league system

↑ 1 to 2 promotion spots

Rhineland
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot to
Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar

Saarland
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot to
Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar

Southwest
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot to
Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar

Baden
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot
+ 1 promotion playoff spot to
Oberliga Baden-Württemberg

South Baden
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot
+ 1 promotion playoff spot to
Oberliga Baden-Württemberg

Württemberg
state league system

↑ 1 promotion spot
+ 1 promotion playoff spot to
Oberliga Baden-Württemberg

External links

Football in Germany
League competitions The DFB Cup competitions
1. Bundesliga Germany (B) (U21) DFB-Pokal
2. Bundesliga, 3. Liga, Regionalliga List of clubs DFB-Ligapokal
Oberliga, Verbandsliga, Landesliga List of stadiums
(by capacity)
DFL-Supercup
Bezirksoberliga, Bezirksliga, Kreisliga, Kreisklasse List of leagues
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