It may be the fourth tier of German football, but next season Regionalliga Nordost is going to be tremendously attractive for football fans of a certain persuasion (i.e. me). How many other fourth tiers around the world contain a former Cup Winners’ Cup winner (1. FC Magdeburg) AND two other former UEFA Cup finalists (FC Carl-Zeiss Jena and 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig)? The heydays of some of these clubs may have been over 20 years ago, but that doesn’t stop them being huge sides with corresponding fanbases. And the promise of classic matches from the days of the DDR is sure to attract even higher crowds, especially at sides such as Lokomotive Leipzig who, with promotion, will have clambered back up to the level they were at when they went bust eight years ago. An added interest for me is the fact that the reserve side of my club, 1.FC Union Berlin, have just won promotion to the tier the first team were in a mere seven years ago.
The make-up of the division is still dependent on a number of factors, namely undecided promotion battles in the Oberligas and the Regionalliga Nord and the submission of applications for promotion to the Nordostdeutscher Fußball Verband (NOFV). It may be the case that smaller teams such as Fortuna Chemnitz see the step up to the Regionalliga Nordost as too high and consciously decide to remain in the Oberliga.
In principle, the division will consist of 16 teams. Eligible are teams falling under the remit of the NOFV, which conveniently corresponds with the geographical area of the former GDR (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia). All NOFV teams currently in the Regionalliga Nord will qualify for the Regionalliga and the remaining places will be filled by teams from the Oberliga Nordost-Nord (roughly covering Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg and Berlin) and the Oberliga Nordost-Süd (covering Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia). Assuming it is Hallescher FC who win promotion to the 3. Liga and not Holstein Kiel, 8 teams will move from the Regionalliga Nord to the Regionalliga Nordost and be joined by FC Carl-Zeiss Jena, who were relegated from the 3. Liga. That leaves 7 spaces for promotion from the Oberligas; with the top three from being promoted directly and the fourth-placed teams playing a two-legged playoff.
This all sounds simple enough, but another regulation is that reserve sides from the 3. Liga cannot be promoted. That rules out three of the top seven in the Oberliga Süd and the current leaders of the Oberliga Nord, Hansa Rostock II, as can be seen below.
Provisional list of clubs, those in bold are already assured of their place.
|1.||FC Carl-Zeiss Jena||Relegated from 3. Liga.|
|2.||RB Leipzig||Assuming Hallescher FC pick up the point they require for promotion from this season’s Regionalliga Nord away at ZFC Meuselwitz on Saturday.|
|6.||Hertha BSC II|
|8.||FC Energie Cottbus II|
|9.||1. FC Magdeburg|
|10.||FSV Zwickau||Champions of the NOFV Oberliga Nordost-Süd|
|11.||1. FC Union Berlin II||Runners-up in the NOFV Oberliga Nordost-Nord.|
|12.||VfB Auerbach||Runners-up in the NOFV Oberliga Nordost-Süd|
|13.||Optik Rathenow||Need one point from remaining two games|
|14.||1.FC Lokomotive Leipzig||Will seal promotion with victory against Dynamo Dresden II on Sunday. Budissa Bautzen are waiting to pounce should they slip up.|
|15.||TSG Neustrelitz||Require 4 points from final two games to secure promotion, otherwise Torgelower Greif could sneak in.|
|16.||Playoff||Playoff between teams from the NOFV Oberliga-Süd and Oberliga-Nord for the final place.
TSG Neustrelitz/Torgelower Greif/Berliner FC Viktoria 89 vs. 1.FC Lokomotive Leipzig/Budissa Bautzen/VfB Fortuna Chemnitz