So far this season, the following clubs look to be in administration or financial problems:
Alemmania Aachen, VfB Lübeck, FC Oberneuland, MSV Duisburg, Kickers Offenbach and Wuppertaler SV. WSV has of course asked for official insolvency (it’s not granted automatically, you apply and the court-appointed administrator has to show that it’s a viable option. In WSV’s case, that looks to be the case, so it all points to starting over debt-free in the Oberliga).
Duisburg and Offenbach were denied an operating license for their current division and still could appeal. The last I heard was that Offenbach will apparently accept the verdict and go down. Meanwhile, although Duisburg is going to the standing court, Sandhausen, the team that would thus be saved is said to be “planning for the 2.Liga”.
Every year there are teams on the bubble, such as VfR Aalen in the 2.Liga, but in general they get their act together and receive their operating license. Several Bundesliga clubs are heavily in debt, (my guess the worst is Schalke), but I haven’t seen any reports that any haven’t come up with viable financial plans. Given the increasing clout of the top division, any club surviving there is probably in pretty good shape. It’s the lower divisions that are suffering a lot more, but that’s to be expected. The Bundesliga has become all powerful; the attendance and financial boom is not replicated at the lower levels.
Most of the suggestions (e.g. sharing more TV revenue) are pretty unrealistic. Folks want to watch the Bundesliga, but highlights suffice for the lower divisions. And similar to England, in Germany the DFL (EPL) runs the 1/2 divisions, the DFB (FA) the lower
ranks. There is little incentive for the DFL clubs to give up the cash. Attendance at the lower divisions needs to be boosted, but it’s not clear how to do it. One idea might be to do what is done in American football, e.g. Fridays are essentially High School, Saturdays College and Sundays the NFL. It’s not unusual for someone to go to three matches over the weekend. Not sure how that would work in Germany though…
Still, compared with most other European leagues, the finances of German clubs are much sounder.