The Regionalliga Bayern, (English: Regional league Bavaria), is the highest association football league in the state of Bavaria (German: Bayern) and the Bavarian football league system. It is one of five Regionalligas in German football, the fourth tier of the German football league system, below the 3. Liga.
|Confederation||Bavarian Football Association|
|Number of teams||18|
|Level on pyramid||Level 4|
|Promotion to||3. Liga|
|Domestic cup(s)||Bavarian Cup|
|Current champions||Bayern Munich II |
The league was established at the end of the 2011–12 season and replaced the Regionalliga Süd at this level in Bavaria.
The German league system, having gone through its last adjustment in 2008, when the 3. Liga was established and the number of Regionalligas increased from two to three, required another adjustment in 2011. The reason for this was the large number of insolvencies on the fourth level, caused by high cost and infrastructure requirements while, at the same time, the clubs at this level complained about low incomes and little interest from TV broadcasters. Some Regionalliga requirements were seen as causing too much of a financial strain on amateur clubs, for example stadiums had to have at least 1,000 seats, and a separate stand with separate entrance for away spectators. Many clubs also struggled to cope with the 400-pages long license application, having to rely on volunteers rather than being able draw on permanent staff.
This led to Oberliga champions even, at times, declining their right for promotion to avoid the financial risk the Regionalliga meant to them, breaking with a basic principle of German football, that league champions would almost always be promoted.
In a special conference of the German Football Association, the DFB, in October 2010, 223 of 253 delegates voted for a reform of the league system on the fourth level. The number of Regionalligas was to be expanded to five, with the reestablishment of the Regionalliga Nordost, the formation of the Regionalliga Bayern and a shift of the Regionalliga Süd to the new 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 was questioned. It 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 the reestablishment of the German amateur football championship as an incentive and goal for top amateur clubs who did not want to turn professional.
On 16 December 2011, the Bavarian Football Association (BFV) introduced the league's logo.
In March 2012 the BFV announced that the league champions, apart from having the opportunity to compete in the promotion round to the 3. Liga, would also qualify directly for the first round of the German Cup. Due to the ban of reserve teams in the German Cup, this spot would be handed to the best placed first team should the champions be a reserve side.
With the deadline for the licence applications for the new league set for 1 April 2012, 32 clubs had applied for the new league. Of those, one came from the 3. Liga, six from the Regionalliga, eight from the Landesliga and two from leagues outside Bavaria. Of the 18 Bayernliga clubs, 15 applied for a licence, with only TSV Gersthofen, TSV Aindling and SpVgg Unterhaching II deciding not to apply. Of the Landesliga clubs, eight applied for a licence.
The BFV planned to complete the licensing procedure by 20 April 2012 and notify all clubs of the outcome by that date, but this process was delayed. On 20 April 2012 the FSV Erlangen-Bruck opted to withdraw its Regionalliga application because of ongoing financial issues. All Bayernliga and Regionalliga clubs had their licence applications approved by 27 April 2012 while the Landesliga clubs had to wait another week before being notified of a decision.
The top goal scorers and spectator statistics for the league are:
|Per game||Best supported Club||Spectators
|Top goal scorer||Goals||References|
|2012–13||20||1860 Munich II||Bayern Munich II||222,885||587||TSV Buchbach||1,011||24|
|2013–14||19||Bayern Munich II||FV Illertissen||245,499||718||1. FC Schweinfurt 05||1,865||21|
|2014–15||18||Würzburger Kickers||Bayern Munich II||274,711||898||Würzburger Kickers||2,482||23|
|2015–16||18||Jahn Regensburg||Wacker Burghausen||368,993||1,206||Jahn Regensburg||6,557||19|
|2016–17||18||SpVgg Unterhaching||Bayern Munich II||234,159||765||SpVgg Unterhaching||1,935||32|
|2017–18||19||1860 Munich||Bayern Munich II||487,996||1,427||1860 Munich||11,772||28|
|2018–19||18||Bayern Munich II||VfB Eichstätt||187,131||612||Viktoria Aschaffenburg||1,210||24|
- Promoted teams in bold.
The first-ever round of the new Regionalliga Bayern kicked off on 19 July 2012 with the opening game held at Bamberg, ending with a 1–0 home victory for FC Eintracht Bamberg against SpVgg Bayern Hof. Alexander Deptalla of Bamberg became the first ever goal scorer in the league. While the league attendance in the early rounds was below 900 spectators a match an attendance record was set when the reserve teams of Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 met in front of 6,000 spectators on 5 August 2012. The league was won by the reserve team of 1860 Munich, while FV Illertissen finished as the best non-reserve side and thereby earned the title of Bavarian amateur champion, which qualified the club for the first round of the German Cup. The league champions in turn qualified for the promotion round to the 3. Liga, in which it met the runners-up of the Regionalliga Südwest, SV Elversberg, and lost.
FC Bayern Munich II won the league title in the second season of the league but was, like the reserve of 1860 Munich the year before, unable to win promotion in the promotion round to the 3. Liga. TSV Rain am Lech, Bayern Hof and Viktoria Aschaffenburg were directly relegated while FC Schweinfurt 05 and TSV 1860 Rosenheim entered the relegation round, with the former defending its league place while the later was relegated. The FV Illertissen was, for the second consecutive season the best non reserve side in the league and thereby qualified for the first round of the German Cup again.
The league was won by Würzburger Kickers which thereby qualified for the promotion round to the 3. Liga and also the first round of the 2015–16 DFB-Pokal. Second and third place were taken up by the reserve teams of Bayern and TSV 1860 Munich. The encounters of these two teams also attracted the most spectators per game, being seen by 12,000 spectators on each occasion.
The 2015–16 season saw a new Regionalliga Bayern record set when 15,224 spectators attended Jahn Regensburg's home match in their new stadium against FC Bayern Munich II. Regensburg, relegated from the 3. Liga the previous season, won the league and gained promotion by defeating VfL Wolfsburg II in the promotion play-off. At the bottom of the table newly promoted FC Amberg and TSV Rain am Lech were both relegated again.
The biggest home win in the league's history was recorded: 12–0, by FC Augsburg II against SV Seligporten. Marco Richter scored seven goals. Meanwhile, the biggest away win was 8–1, for SpVgg Unterhaching over VfR Garching. Unterhaching won the league for the first time, beating SV Elversberg for promotion. 1860 Munich II were relegated due to the 1860 Munich first team not being able obtaining a licence for the 2017–18 3. Liga and subsequently being admitted to the Regionalliga Bayern for the 2017-18 season. Originally they had finished the season in second place. 18th placed Bayern Hof were also relegated.
The league was expanded for the 2017–18 season to admit TSV 1860 Munich. This meant that this year's league was held with 19 teams instead of 18. As no Bavarian team was relegated from the 3. Liga after the season, the number of teams was restored to 18 in the 2018–19 season. 1860 Munich captured the league title and, after a one-goal aggregate victory against 1. FC Saarbrücken in the promotion play-offs, earned promotion to the 3. Liga.
Rules & regulations
Promotion to the 3. Liga
The new five Regionalligas with their five league champions will not have the right to direct promotion to the 3. Liga anymore. Instead, the five league winners and the runners-up of the Süd/Südwest would play-off for three promotion spots. The promotion round will be played in home-and-away format, whereby the two clubs from the Süd/Südwest region can not be paired against each other.
As the 3. Liga relegated four teams starting at the end of the 2018–19 season, the champions of the Regionalliga Nordost, along with their counterparts from the Südwest and West, were promoted directly to the 3. Liga. The West was chosen by a draw. The remaining two champions also determined by the same draw, Bayern and Nord, played 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 Nordost and the West champions participate in the play-off. This format was installed initially as a temporary solution until the DFB-Bundestag in September 2019 decided on a format that could have enabled all Regionalliga champions to be promoted. On that date, the Bundestag delegates voted to grant the Südwest and West champions two direct promotions indefinitely starting in 2021. A third direct promotion place will be assigned according to a rotation principle among the Regionalliga Nord, Nordost and Bavarian champions. The representatives from the two remaining Regionalligen will determine the fourth promoted club in two-legged playoffs.
From the 3. Liga and Regionalliga
The new league nominally plays with 18 clubs, however, in its first, transitional season the DFB permitted up to 22 clubs in the league, with the number eventually settling at 20. All Bavarian clubs from the current Regionalliga Süd were directly qualified for the league. Additionally, any Bavarian club relegated from the 3. Liga in 2012 would also have been qualified, however this did not eventuate. Restrictions existed however 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 3. Liga clubs are not permitted to play in the Regionalliga from 2012–13 onwards. 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.
Specifically, this would have meant that, for Bavaria, should one or more of the three 3. Liga clubs from the state, SSV Jahn Regensburg, SpVgg Unterhaching or Wacker Burghausen, be relegated at the end of the 2011-12 season, they would directly enter the new Regionalliga Bayern. Additionally, the Bavarian Regionalliga clubs FC Memmingen, 1. FC Nürnberg II and Bayern Munich II would be directly qualified for the league, unless they earned promotion to the 3. Liga. The same rule also applied to the other three Bavarian clubs in the league, 1860 Munich II, Greuther Fürth II and Ingolstadt 04 II. However, as their first teams played in the 2. Bundesliga and could possibly have been relegated to the 3. Liga after the 2011–12 season, the reserve sides would then be barred from entry to the Regionalliga Bayern. As no Bavarian team was relegated from the 2. Bundesliga or 3. Liga, this clauses had no effect on the make up of the new league.
It also meant that Bayernliga side SpVgg Unterhaching II and the Landesliga sides SSV Jahn Regensburg II and Wacker Burghausen II could not gain entry to the Regionalliga unless the first teams won promotion to the 2. Bundesliga. As Jahn Regensburg did indeed earn promotion the club's reserve side could have entered the league but finished only third in its Landesliga division and thereby narrowly missed out.
Of the 3. Liga clubs, only the SpVgg Unterhaching considered it necessary to apply for a Regionalliga licence, as both Wacker and Jahn were placed in the top third of the 3. Liga at the time of the deadline and were unlikely to suffer relegation. Eventually, Unterhaching was able to finish above a relegation rank in the 3. Liga, too.
From the Bayernliga and Landesliga
The top nine clubs from the Bayernliga at the end of the 2011–12 season gained direct entry to the new Regionalliga. The clubs placed tenth to fifteenth took part in a promotion play-off with six Landesliga clubs, nominally the champions and runners-up of each of the three Landesligas, in a home-and-away knockout format for three additional clubs in the Regionalliga. The losers of these games would remain on Bayernliga level.
Only eight Landesliga clubs opted to apply for a Regionalliga licence, the clubs being FC Augsburg II, BC Aichach, SV Schalding-Heining, SSV Jahn Regensburg II, SpVgg Landshut, SpVgg Bayreuth, Würzburger Kickers and the SpVgg Selbitz. Of those BC Aichach, for example, had finished only eighth in its league but as two licences were available and only BC Aichach and FC Augsburg II had applied for one from this league, the two clubs were automatically qualified for the play-off, without regards to the final position.
Apart from the nine directly qualified clubs from the Bayernliga only the SV Heimstetten qualified for the Regionalliga through the play-offs. The other two available spots went to FC Augsburg II and Würzburger Kickers, who thereby jumped directly from the sixth to the fourth tier of the league system.
From outside Bavaria
The qualifying modus allowed for Bavarian clubs not playing in the states league system to qualify for the league, too, should they finish on a direct qualification rank in their equivalent league to the Bayernliga or Landesliga. Viktoria Aschaffenburg decided to take up this option in November 2011, voting to join the Bavarian association from 2012. Playing in the Hessenliga, the club, finishing in the top nine, was automatically qualified for the Regionalliga Bayern. If it finished tenth or worse, it would have been grouped in the northern division of the Bayernliga.
Both Aschaffenburg and Illertissen fulfilled the qualifying norm and gained entry to the Regionalliga for 2012–13.
Below the Regionalliga
The level below the new Regionalliga continued to be taken up by the Bayernliga, but now in two regional divisions, north and south. The league would consist of all the Bayernliga and, possibly, Regionalliga Süd clubs who failed to gain entry to the new Regionalliga Bayern. Additionally, the six Landesliga champions and runners-up who failed to qualify for the Regionalliga were also to be grouped in the Bayernliga. From the three Landesligas, the clubs placed third to eighth would also be directly qualified. Further places in the two Bayernligas were then determined between the Landesliga clubs placed ninth to 13th and the Bezirksoberliga champions.
For the league's first season, 2012–13, 20 clubs qualified to play in it, these being:
Placings in the Regionalliga Bayern
Final league positions of all clubs who have played in the league:
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