This article is about the men's football regional leagues in Germany. For the division in Austrian football, see Austrian Regional League. For other uses, see Regionalliga (disambiguation).
Country  Germany
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Number of teams 93
Level on pyramid 4
Promotion to 3. Liga
Relegation to Oberliga
Current champions VfL Wolfsburg II (Nord)
FSV Zwickau (Nordost)
Sportfreunde Lotte (West)
SV Waldhof Mannheim (Südwest)
SSV Jahn Regensburg (Bayern)
2016–17 Regionalliga

The Regionalliga (German pronunciation: [ʁeɡi̯oˈnaːlˌliːɡa]) is the fourth tier of football in the German football league system. Until 1974, it was the second tier of the league system before being disbanded. The Regionalliga was then re-introduced as the third tier of the system in 1994. Upon introduction of a new nationwide 3. Liga in 2008, it was demoted to the fourth level of the pyramid.

History of the Regionalligas

1963 to 1974

From the introduction of the Bundesliga in 1963 until the formation of the 2. Bundesliga in 1974, there were five Regionalligas, forming the second tier of German Football:

The champions and runners-up of the respective divisions played out two promotion spots to the Bundesliga in two groups after the end of the season.

In 1974, the two 2. Bundesligas, Süd and Nord became the second tier of German Football and the Regionalligas ceased existing for the next 20 years.

1994 to 2000

In 1994, the Regionalligas were re-introduced, this time as the third tier of German Football. There were initially four Regionalligas:

Between 1994 and 2000, promotion to the 2. Bundesliga was regulated without much continuity. It was a problematic rule, as becoming champion of a division did not automatically mean promotion for that team. The champions of the South and West/Southwest divisions were automatically promoted, however, along with one of the two runners-up. The champions of the North and Northeast divisions had a play-off to decide who would get the fourth promotion spot. This rule was justified because there are more clubs in the southern part of Germany than the north.

In 1998, the promotion rule was changed again: the winner of the play-off between the North and Northeast division champions was promoted, while the loser faced the runners-up from the West/Southwest and South divisions in another play-off for the remaining promotion spot.

2000 to 2008

In 2000 the number of Regionalligas was reduced to two:

The new divisional alignment was not bound to certain states any more so teams could be moved between the divisions in order to balance club numbers. This led to some clubs in the Southern division being geographically further north than some northern clubs, and vice versa.

The champions and the runners-up of both divisions were promoted to the 2. Bundesliga.

2008 to 2012

In 2008, the Regionalliga was demoted to become the fourth tier of football in Germany after the introduction of a new nationwide 3. Liga. However, there was an expansion to three divisions:[1]

"Covering" means that the single divisions will be annually re-aligned to geographic location by a DFB committee in order to have 18 teams assigned to each division every year. This may lead to teams assigned to a division other than their geographical one. An example for this is BV Cloppenburg, who was assigned to the Western division for the 2008–09 season despite being located in Niedersachsen.

2012 onwards

In October 2010, yet another reform of the Regionalligas was decided upon. The number of leagues were now to be expanded to five, with the defunct Regionalliga Nordost to be reestablished and a Regionalliga Bayern to be established. Also, the Regionalliga West would lose the clubs from the south west to a new league, formed out of those clubs and the clubs from Regionalliga Süd without the Bavarian teams. The new system is due to come into operation in the 2012–13 season. It was also decided to limit the number of reserve teams per Regionalliga to seven.[2]

The five league champions and the runners-up of the Regionalliga Süd/Südwest will then play-off for the three promotion spots in a home-and-away series. The new leagues will consist of up to 22 clubs in their inaugural season but will then have to be reduced to between 16 and 18 clubs. The Regionalligas will not be administrated by the DFB but rather by the regional football associations. In regards to reserve teams, initially only seven are permitted per league, however, this rule may be subject to change under certain circumstances. Reserve sides of 3. Liga teams are not permitted in the Regionalliga.[3]

The reorganisation of the Regionalligas so soon after the last changes in 2008 became necessary because of a large number of insolvencies. These were caused by a lack of media interest in the leagues combined with large expenses and infrastructure demands. The five Regionalligas from 2012 are:[3]

Some regional football associations, like the Bavarian one, have also made changes to the league system below the Regionalliga in their area. The Bavarian FA is introduction two Bayernligas below the Regionalliga and increasing the number of Landesligas from three to five below the new Verbandsligas.[4]


The history and development of the Regionalligas in maps:

League setup


A club that wants to play in the Regionalliga must meet two conditions. First, the team must qualify for the league. Second, the club must obtain a license from the DFB. This license is granted if the club can prove that they are financially sound, that their stadium conforms to the security regulations, and that they have a working youth section.


The champions of each division take part in the promotion round to the 3. Liga at the end of the season. Reserve teams will also be eligible for promotion unless the respective first team is playing in the 3. Liga.


The bottom three teams of each division are demoted to their respective Oberliga. In the Regionalliga Nord, the fourth-to-last team will also be demoted.

As clubs in the Regionalliga must have their teams licensed by the DFB on a per-season basis, a team may also be relegated by having its license revoked or by going into administration. Reserve teams are also relegated when the respective first team is relegated to the 3. Liga.

Squad rules

Matchday squads in the Regionalliga must include at least six players of German nationality and under the age of 24, two under the age of 21, and a maximum of three non-EU players.



Season Regionalliga Nord Regionalliga West Regionalliga Berlin Regionalliga Südwest Regionalliga Süd
1963–64 FC St. Pauli Alemannia Aachen SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin Borussia Neunkirchen KSV Hessen Kassel
1964–65 Holstein Kiel Borussia Mönchengladbach Tennis Borussia Berlin 1. FC Saarbrücken Bayern Munich
1965–66 FC St. Pauli Fortuna Düsseldorf Hertha BSC FK Pirmasens 1. FC Schweinfurt 05
1966–67 Arminia Hannover Alemannia Aachen Hertha BSC Borussia Neunkirchen Kickers Offenbach
1967–68 Arminia Hannover Bayer Leverkusen Hertha BSC SV Alsenborn SpVgg Bayern Hof
1968–69 VfL Osnabrück Rot-Weiss Oberhausen Hertha Zehlendorf SV Alsenborn Karlsruher SC
1969–70 VfL Osnabrück VfL Bochum Hertha Zehlendorf SV Alsenborn Kickers Offenbach
1970–71 VfL Osnabrück VfL Bochum SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin Borussia Neunkirchen 1. FC Nürnberg
1971–72 FC St. Pauli Wuppertaler SV SC Wacker 04 Berlin Borussia Neunkirchen Kickers Offenbach
1972–73 FC St. Pauli Rot-Weiss Essen Blau-Weiß 1890 Berlin FSV Mainz 05 SV Darmstadt 98
1973–74 Eintracht Braunschweig SG Wattenscheid 09 Tennis Borussia Berlin Borussia Neunkirchen FC Augsburg


Season Regionalliga Nord Regionalliga Nordost Regionalliga West/Südwest Regionalliga Süd
1994–95 VfB Lübeck Carl Zeiss Jena Arminia Bielefeld SpVgg Unterhaching
1995–96 VfB Oldenburg Tennis Borussia Berlin FC Gütersloh Stuttgarter Kickers
1996–97 Hannover 96 FC Energie Cottbus SG Wattenscheid 09 1. FC Nürnberg
1997–98 Hannover 96 Tennis Borussia Berlin Rot-Weiß Oberhausen SSV Ulm 1846
1998–99 VfL Osnabrück Chemnitzer FC Alemannia Aachen SV Waldhof Mannheim
1999–2000 VfL Osnabrück 1. FC Union Berlin 1. FC Saarbrücken SSV Reutlingen 05


Season Regionalliga Nord Regionalliga Süd
2000–01 1. FC Union Berlin Karlsruher SC
2001–02 VfB Lübeck Wacker Burghausen
2002–03 Erzgebirge Aue SpVgg Unterhaching
2003–04 Rot-Weiss Essen Bayern Munich II
2004–05 Eintracht Braunschweig Kickers Offenbach
2005–06 Rot-Weiss Essen FC Augsburg
2006–07 FC St. Pauli SV Wehen
2007–08 Rot Weiss Ahlen FSV Frankfurt


Season Regionalliga Nord Regionalliga West Regionalliga Süd
2008–09 Holstein Kiel Borussia Dortmund II 1. FC Heidenheim
2009–10 SV Babelsberg 03 1. FC Saarbrücken VfR Aalen
2010–11 Chemnitzer FC Preußen Münster SV Darmstadt 98
2011–12 Hallescher FC Borussia Dortmund II Stuttgarter Kickers


Season Regionalliga Nord Regionalliga Nordost Regionalliga West Regionalliga Südwest Regionalliga Bayern
2012–13 Holstein Kiel RB Leipzig Sportfreunde Lotte KSV Hessen Kassel TSV 1860 München II
2013–14 VfL Wolfsburg II TSG Neustrelitz SC Fortuna Köln SG Sonnenhof Großaspach Bayern Munich II
2014–15 Werder Bremen II 1. FC Magdeburg Borussia Mönchengladbach II Kickers Offenbach Würzburger Kickers
2015–16 VfL Wolfsburg II FSV Zwickau Sportfreunde Lotte SV Waldhof Mannheim SSV Jahn Regensburg


  1. "Official DFB article on the 3rd Bundesliga and Regionalliga" (in German). DFB. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  2. "DFB-Bundestag beschließt Reform der Spielklassen" (in German). DFB. 22 October 2010. Archived from [[showUid]=25239&tx_dfbnews_pi1[sword]=Regionalligareform&tx_dfbnews_pi4[cat]=212 the original] on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  3. 1 2 "DFB weitet die Spielklassenreform aus" (in German). 29 April 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  4. "Die Ligenstruktur - Auf- und Abstieg" (in German). BFV. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
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