Demystifying Betting Myths
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German Bundesliga 2012-2013: Bottom 2 Automatic Relegation Betting Statistics

In our recent article “Who’s going to win the 50th German Bundesliga title?” we analysed the Meisterschale winning chances of each team taking into consideration the previous 49 seasons’ data.

We now switch attention to the other end of the table and run the rule especially over teams who are already under the spectre of relegation purely because of what has happened to predecessors sharing similar circumstances in the past.

Remember, the bottom two teams at the end of the season are automatically demoted to Bundesliga 2, whilst the 16th placed team enters a play-off with the 3rd placed Bundesliga 2 team to decide which will play in the top tier the following season…

Stressed-out man being interviewedImage: Carlos Yudica (Shutterstock)

Many seasoned followers of top-flight German football will have developed a feeling over the years that the likelihood is pretty high that newly promoted teams do not tend to survive their first season in the Bundesliga 1.

However, the exact probabilities are probably something that not many bettors can quickly produce and Soccerwidow has therefore looked at the statistics in detail to provide answers.

Last Season’s Top 5 Automatic Relegation Outlook

It may be a slight surprise to learn that the probability of automatic relegation (bottom 2 finish) for a team having finished in the top 5 of Bundesliga 1 during the previous season is not zero; in fact it has happened 3 times in the last 49 seasons:

  • In 1967-68, FC Nuremberg won the Bundesliga 1 title only to be relegated the following season.
  • During 1968-69, Alemannia Aachen battled to a 2nd place finish but found themselves a year later playing in the second tier.
  • The last memorable slide to oblivion of this nature was not so long ago: In 2008-09 Hertha BSC gained a creditable 4th place, the reward for which was Europa League football in 2009-10, but in the latter season they were demoted to Bundesliga 2, having finished 18th out of 18 in the top-flight.

Therefore, statistically speaking, the probability that any one of last season’s top 5, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach or Bayer Leverkusen, are automatically relegated at the end of the 50th Bundesliga 1 season is 6.1%.

The statistics suggest that on average in Bundesliga 1, surprises such as this happen once every 16 years.

Newcomers’ Automatic Relegation Perspective

The probability is as high as 39.8% that a newly promoted team will not survive their first season in Bundesliga 1, but there is no guarantee that the automatic relegation positions at the end of the season will contain any of these teams.

Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf and Greuther Fürth share a 37.5% chance that none of them will finish either 17th or 18th at the end of this season.

In 49 seasons, all of the newly promoted teams have avoided the bottom 2 positions on 18 occasions.

Last season FC Cologne (10th in 2010-11) and FC Kaiserslautern (7th in 2010-11) ended the season in the automatic relegation spots, 17th and 18th respectively, rather than either of the newly promoted teams FC Augsburg or Hertha BSC (although Hertha eventually succumbed in a play-off to Fortuna Düsseldorf).

Only 7 times in the history of Bundesliga 1 have newly promoted teams been automatically relegated in both the bottom 2 positions the following season. Last time this happened was 2007-08 when both Hansa Rostock and MSV Duisburg, finished 17th and 18th respectively after just a single season in the league.

The statistical chance of 2 of the 3 newly promoted teams (Fortuna Düsseldorf, Eintracht Frankfurt or Greuther Fürth) filling the bottom 2 positions at the end of 2012-13 is 14.6%.

The chance that just 1 of the 3 finishes in the bottom 2 spots is however fairly high at 47.9%.

So, the probability that 1 or 2 of the new arrivals do not survive longer than the 50th Bundesliga 1 season is 62.5% (47.9% plus 14.6%). The corresponding odds for this statistical probability are 1.6.


The market is currently offering the following odds for relegation:

  • Fortuna Düsseldorf = 3.0 (33.3%)
  • Eintracht Frankfurt = 5.0 (20%)
  • Greuther Fürth = 2.8 (35.7%)

A “Dutch” back bet (weighted stakes for equal risk/return) on all 3 teams calculates to 89% (“Dutch” combined odds: 1.12)

The acid question is therefore whether it is better to “Dutch” back or “Dutch” lay all 3 of the newly promoted teams, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Eintracht Frankfurt and Greuther Fürth, in this the “Golden Jubilee” Bundesliga 1 season?

For a change we’ll let you decide…

Last Update: 23 August 2012

Categories:Match Previews Statistics & Historical Data

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