Winter Break: 3.Liga Review

The standings in the 3.Liga:

 1  Jahn Regensburg        21   10 8 3    36:19 +17   38
 2  SV Sandhausen          20   10 7 3    28:18 +10   37
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 3  1. FC Saarbrücken      21    8 8 5    37:27 +10   32
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 4  Kickers Offenbach      21    9 5 7    27:23 +4    32
 5  1. FC Heidenheim       21    8 7 6    25:21 +4    31
 6  VfR Aalen              20    8 7 5    22:19 +3    31
 7  VfB Stuttgart II       21    7 9 5    25:26 -1    30
 8  VfL Osnabrück (A)      21    6 11 4   22:17 +5    29
 9  Wacker Burghausen      21    6 11 4   31:28 +3    29
10  Rot-Weiß Erfurt        21    7 8 6    24:22 +2    29
11  SpVgg Unterhaching     21    8 4 9    36:30 +6    28
12  SV Babelsberg 03       21    7 7 7    31:30 +1    28
13  Preußen Münster (N)    21    6 9 6    21:24 -3    27
14  Arminia Bielefeld (A)  21    6 8 7    27:30 -3    26
15  Chemnitzer FC (N)      21    7 5 9    22:28 -6    26
16  SV Wehen Wiesbaden     20    6 7 7    23:24 -1    25
17  SV Darmstadt 98 (N)    21    6 6 9    25:29 -4    24
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18  Rot-Weiß Oberhausen (A)21    4 7 10   18:27 -9    19
19  Carl Zeiss Jena        21    4 5 12   23:42 -19   17
20  Werder Bremen II       20    3 5 12   19:38 -19   14

There’s less interest in the 3.Liga this season, as three very popular clubs all got promoted: Braunschweig, Dresden and Rostock led the league in attendance, and they’re all gone. Average attendance has dropped from 5500 per match down to 4500.

The most interesting aspect is the dominance of the southern teams, along with the failure of many of the well known clubs.

Regensburg has never been any good, but was expected to be fairly decent. Sandhausen is basically an overgrown village, but was sensationally topping the table. (That can’t be too thrilling for 2.Liga treasurers). Nevertheless, both have opened a slight gap and hold down the auto-promotion spots.

Big clubs like Saarbrücken or Offenbach were expected to contend. I wouldn’t rule them out, but it’s not going to be easy.

The relegated clubs from the 2.Liga, Osnabrück, Bielefeld and Oberhausen are all well-known. Osnabrück has stumbled at times, but basically is still in the hunt. The Purples maintain one of the most expensive squads in the 3.Liga, but of course the average market value of each player is only around 250,000 euros – which isn’t really that much. (In the 2.Liga, Braunschweig is by far the cheapest, and they’re at 370,000 average).

Bielefeld got off to a horrible start. Arminia was in financial turmoil after dropping out of the Bundesliga only in 2009. After being unable to bounce back immediately, the meltdown continued with relegation. All players were dumped, and it looked truly like Bielefeld would disappear into the 4th division Regionalliga. Halfway through the campaign, they were dead last and looked pathetic. But they’ve turned things around and have stabilized. If they can keep their finances in order, they should have no problem staying up in the 3.Liga and eventually forcing their way up again.

On the other hand, Oberhausen has been phoning it in and it’s showed, as they’ve slid into relegation zone.

Among other sad performances, Carl Zeiss Jena has sucked, another ex-GDR club struggling.  Erfurt was hot last season, finishing 5th. They’re mid table, but it’s pretty packed and they could repeat their performance. Wehen is very disappointing. The village Wiesbadeners (they play in Wiesbaden now) missed the playoffs by a single point last season and are mired in the depths. Not too late to turn it around, but they haven’t shown any signs of it.

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