The Regionalliga Südwest (English: Regional League Southwest) is the fourth tier of the German football league system in the states of Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. It is one of five leagues at this level, together with the Regionalliga Bayern, Regionalliga Nordost, Regionalliga Nord and the Regionalliga West.
|Number of teams||19|
|Level on pyramid||Level 4|
|Promotion to||3. Liga|
|Current champions||1. FC Saarbrücken |
The league was formed at the end of the 2011-12 season, when the clubs from the Regionalliga Süd, except those from Bavaria, were joined by the clubs of the Regionalliga West from Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.
The German league system had been reformed in 2008, when the 3rd Liga was established and the number of regional leagues increased from two to three. A further alteration was made in 2011. This was prompted by the large number of insolvencies in the fourth tier, caused by high costs and infrastructure requirements while, at the same time, the clubs at this level complained about low incomes and lack of interest from TV broadcasters. Regionalliga stadiums had to have at least 1,000 seats and a separate stand with separate entrance for away spectators; and such requirements were seen as causing excessive financial strain on amateur clubs. Many clubs also struggled to cope with the 400-pages long license application, as they had to rely on volunteers rather than being able to draw on permanent staff.
This led to Oberliga champions sometimes even declining their right to promotion to avoid the financial risks of the Regionalliga, thus breaking a basic principle of German football, that league champions would almost always be promoted.
In October 2010, at a special conference of the German Football Association, the DFB, 223 of the 253 delegates voted for a reform of the league system at the fourth level. The number of Regionalligas was to be expanded to five, with the re-establishment of the Regionalliga Nordost, the formation of the Regionalliga Bayern and a shift of the Regionalliga Süd to the new Regionalliga Süd/Südwest, later renamed Regionalliga Südwest.
The suggestion for the league reform had come from Bavaria, where, in a meeting of the Bavarian top-level amateur clubs at Wendelstein, the financial survival of the leagues and clubs in the current system had been questioned. This meeting resulted in the publication of what was called the Wendelsteiner Anstoß, which demanded a clear demarcation between professional football on the first three tiers of German football and amateur football below that. For this purpose, the paper also demanded a re-establishment of the German amateur football championship as an incentive and goal for top amateur clubs who did not want to turn professional.
In 2017, the league signed an agreement to host the China national under-20 football team, allowing the team to compete in the league in friendly matches to fill in as the league's 20th club. The arrangement was only approved by 16 of the 19 clubs in the league, with those in opposition criticising it as part of the increasing commercialisation of football. During the team's match against TSV Schott Mainz, the display of a Tibetan flag led to the team walking off in protest. Consequently, the Chinese players were recalled and the agreement was abrogated.
Rules & regulationsEdit
Promotion to the 3rd LigaEdit
The league champions of the five new regional leagues no longer have the right to direct promotion to the 3rd Liga. Instead, the five league winners and the runners-up of the Süd/Südwest would play-off for three promotion spots. The play-offs are played in home-and-away format, and the two clubs from the Süd/Südwest region can not be paired against each other.
As four teams will be relegated from the 3rd Liga starting at the end of the 2018–19 season, the Regionalliga Südwest champions, along with their counterparts from the Nordost and West, will be promoted directly to the 3. Liga. The West was chosen from a draw. The remaining two champions also from the same draw, from Nord and Bayern, will play a two-legged promotion play-off for the last promotion spot. In 2020, the three direct promotion spots will go to the Südwest champions and the champions of the two leagues that participated in the promotion play-off in the previous season, while the champions of the Nordost and the West participate in the play-off. This format was installed as a temporary solution until the DFB-Bundestag in 2019 can decide on a format that enables all Regionalliga champions to be promoted.
The new league was nominally going to have 18 clubs; however, in its first, transitional season the DFB permitted up to 22 clubs in the league. Restrictions existed on reserve sides. No more than seven reserve teams were permitted per Regionalliga; should there be more in a league the additional ones would have to be moved to a different Regionalliga. Reserve teams of 3rd Liga clubs are not permitted to play in the Regionalliga. The make up of the clubs entering the new Regionalligas from the leagues below was left to the regional football association and not regulated by the DFB.
One exception to the rule was the Bavarian club FC Bayern Alzenau, who had traditionally played in Hesse's league system. This club would participate in the new Regionalliga Südwest, at their own request, rather than in the Regionalliga Bayern.
19 clubs qualified to play in the league's first season (2012–13):
- From the Regionalliga Süd: FC Bayern Alzenau, SC Freiburg II, Eintracht Frankfurt II, FSV Frankfurt II, Sonnenhof Großaspach, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II, KSV Hessen Kassel, Waldhof Mannheim, SC Pfullendorf, Wormatia Worms
- From the Regionalliga West: Eintracht Trier, SV Elversberg, SC Idar-Oberstein, 1. FC Kaiserslautern II, TuS Koblenz, 1. FSV Mainz 05 II
- Promoted from the Oberligas: 1. FC Eschborn, FC 08 Homburg, SSV Ulm 1846
Champions & runners-upEdit
The league champions and runners-up:
|2012–13||Hessen Kassel||SV Elversberg|
|2013–14||Sonnenhof Großaspach||SC Freiburg II1|
|2014–15||Kickers Offenbach||1. FC Saarbrücken|
|2015–16||Waldhof Mannheim||SV Elversberg|
|2016–17||SV 07 Elversberg||Waldhof Mannheim|
|2017–18||1. FC Saarbrücken||Waldhof Mannheim|
- Promoted teams in bold.
- 1 SC Freiburg II did not apply for a 3. Liga licence and was replaced by third placed 1. FSV Mainz 05 II in the promotion round, which Mainz completed successfully.
The top goal scorers and spectator statistics for the league are:
|Per game||Best supported Club||Spectators
|Top goal scorer||Goals|
|2012–13||319,159||933||Hessen Kassel||3,489||Jérôme Assauer (TuS)||20|
|2013–14||388,257||1,269||Kickers Offenbach||6,147||Petar Slišković (FSV)||23|
|2014–15||476,243||1,556||Kickers Offenbach||6,364||Daniele Gabriele (SCF)||21|
|2015–16||521,523||1,704||Waldhof Mannheim||6,539||Mijo Tunjić (SVE)||21|
|2016–17||599,772||1,754||Kickers Offenbach||5,229||Muhamed Alawie (TRI)
Patrick Schmidt (SAA)
|2017–18||584,788||1,710||Kickers Offenbach||6,199||Karl-Heinz Lappe (MA2)||22|
Placings in the Regionalliga SüdwestEdit
Final league positions of all clubs who have played in the league:
- 1 At the end of the 2013–14 season Eintracht Frankfurt decided to withdraw its reserve side from all competitions after a ruling by the DFL allowed all Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs to freely choose whether or not to operate an under-23 reserve team. Previous to that such teams had been compulsory.
- 2 SSV Ulm 1846 declared insolvent at the end of the 2013–14 season and was relegated.
|Blank||Played at a league level below this league|
- DFB-Bundestag beschließt Reform der Spielklassen (in German) DFB website, published: 22 October 2010, accessed: 28 October 2010
- Geschichte (in German) DFB website - Regionalliga History, accessed: 6 July 2011
- Regionalliga-Reform: Top-Amateure - Top-Talente in einer Liga! Archived 2012-07-29 at Archive.today (in German) Bavarian FA website, published: 4 October 2010, accessed: 6 July 2011
- Wendelsteiner Anstoß (in German) Bavarian FA website - The Wendelstein paper, accessed: 6 July 2011
- Untere Ligen erfahren eine Aufwertung (in German) Augsburger Allgemeine, published: 11 April 2011, accessed: 2 May 2011
- Bartlett, Evan (22 June 2017). "Chinese U20 team set to become newest member of German fourth division". The Independent. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "China under-20 team face triple German league snub over 'commercial gesture'". South China Morning Post. Agence France-Presse. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "China under-20s protest Tibetan flags at friendly in Germany". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 18 November 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "China holt seine U20 nach Hause" [China brings its U20 back home]. SWR.de (in German). Südwestrundfunk. 18 November 2017.
- "Freundschaftsspiele mit chinesischer U 20 werden nicht fortgesetzt" [Friendlies with Chinese U 20 will not continue]. DFB.de (in German). German Football Association. 22 December 2017.
- Grundzüge der Spielklassenreform (in German) DFB website - Basics of the Regionalliga reform, accessed: 6 July 2011
- "Lauth lost Aufstiegsspiele zur 3. Liga aus" [Lauth draws promotion matches to the 3. Liga]. DFB.de (in German). German Football Association. 27 April 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- "Änderung der Aufstiegsregelung in der Regionalliga beschlossen" [Change of promotion format in the Regionalliga decided upon]. dfb.de. Deutscher Fußball-Bund. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- Spielklassenreform offiziell beschlossen Archived 2013-01-05 at Archive.today (in German) Bavarian FA website, published: 7 June 2011, accessed: 6 July 2011
- Lizenz da: Der FC Bayern Alzenau kann für die Regionalliga planen (in German) Main Echo, published: 3 May 2011, accessed: 6 July 2011
- Regionalliga Südwest 2012/2013 .:. Zuschauer .:. Heimspiele (in German) Weltfussball.de, accessed: 28 May 2013
- Regionalliga Südwest 2012/2013 .:. Torschützenliste (in German) Weltfussball.de, accessed: 28 May 2013
- Regionalliga Südwest 2013/2014 .:. Zuschauer .:. Heimspiele (in German) Weltfussball.de, accessed: 22 May 2014
- Regionalliga Südwest 2013/2014 » Torschützenliste (in German) Weltfussball.de, accessed: 22 May 2014
- Regionalliga Südwest 2014/2015 .:. Zuschauer .:. Heimspiele (in German) Weltfussball.de, accessed: 20 May 2015
- Regionalliga Südwest 2014/2015 .:. Torschützenliste (in German) Weltfussball.de, accessed: 20 May 2015
- "Regionalliga Südwest 2015/2016 » Zuschauer » Heimspiele" [Regionalliga Südwest 2015–16 spectators home games]. weltfussball.de (in German). Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Regionalliga Südwest 2015/2016 » Torschützenliste" [Regionalliga Südwest 2015–16 goal scorers]. weltfussball.de (in German). Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Regionalliga Südwest 2016/2017 » Zuschauer » Heimspiele" [Regionalliga Südwest 2016–17 spectators home games]. weltfussball.de (in German). Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- "Regionalliga Südwest 2016/2017 » Torschützenliste" [Regionalliga Südwest 2016–17 goal scorers]. weltfussball.de (in German). Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- "Regionalliga Südwest 2017/2018 " Zuschauer " Heimspiele" [Regionalliga Südwest 2017–18 spectators home games]. weltfussball.de (in German). Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- "Regionalliga Südwest 2017/2018 " Torschützenliste" [Regionalliga Nord 2017–18 goal scorers]. weltfussball.de (in German). Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- Eintracht Frankfurt meldet U23-Team ab (in German) weltfussball.de, published: 6 April 2014, accessed: 22 May 2014