Oberliga (football)

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Oberliga
Regional Soccer Assoiciations in Germany
Country  Germany
Leagues 14
Level on pyramid Level 5

The Oberliga (Plural: Oberligen) (English: Upper league) is currently the name of the fifth tier of the German football (soccer) leagues. Before the introduction of the 3. Fußball-Liga in 2008, it was the fourth tier. The word Oberliga is equivalent to Premier League in English, however, its literal translation would be Upper League. At the end of the 2011–12 season the number of Oberligas was increased from eleven to fourteen.

The term Oberliga was also used prior to the establishment of the Gauliga system in 1933 and again between the end of World War II and the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963 for first division leagues in Germany. Between 1978–94 the term Amateuroberliga was used for third tier leagues, which were then the highest level of amateur play in the country. The current usage of the designation Oberliga was introduced in 1994. In East Germany a separate league structure was in place from 1948–1990 and the top flight division there was known as the DDR-Oberliga.

Pre-Bundesliga Oberligen[edit]

Map of the five German Oberligas and East Germany in 1963.

From the end of the 2nd World War until the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963 there were five regional Oberligen:

Based on criteria outlined by the German association in October 1962 an evaluation system covering the last 12 seasons was established through which the sixteen clubs from these five leagues were established which were to form the new nationwide first division Bundesliga, with the others going to the new second tier Regionalligen.[1]

Champions of Pre-Bundesliga Oberligen[edit]

Year Nord West Südwest Süd Berlin
1946 1. FC Saarbrücken VfB Stuttgart SG Wilmersdorf
1947 1. FC Kaiserslautern 1. FC Nürnberg SG Charlottenburg
1948 Hamburger SV Borussia Dortmund 1. FC Kaiserslautern 1. FC Nürnberg Union Oberschöneweide
1949 Hamburger SV Borussia Dortmund 1. FC Kaiserslautern Kickers Offenbach Berliner SV 92
1950 Hamburger SV Borussia Dortmund 1. FC Kaiserslautern SpVgg Fürth Tennis Borussia Berlin
1951 Hamburger SV FC Schalke 04 1. FC Kaiserslautern 1. FC Nürnberg Tennis Borussia Berlin
1952 Hamburger SV Rot-Weiss Essen 1. FC Saarbrücken VfB Stuttgart Tennis Borussia Berlin
1953 Hamburger SV Borussia Dortmund 1. FC Kaiserslautern Eintracht Frankfurt SC Union 06 Berlin
1954 Hannover 96 1. FC Köln 1. FC Kaiserslautern VfB Stuttgart Berliner SV 92
1955 Hamburger SV Rot-Weiss Essen 1. FC Kaiserslautern Kickers Offenbach BFC Viktoria 1889
1956 Hamburger SV Borussia Dortmund 1. FC Kaiserslautern Karlsruher SC BFC Viktoria 1889
1957 Hamburger SV Borussia Dortmund 1. FC Kaiserslautern 1. FC Nürnberg Hertha BSC
1958 Hamburger SV FC Schalke 04 FK Pirmasens Karlsruher SC Tennis Borussia Berlin
1959 Hamburger SV Westfalia Herne FK Pirmasens Eintracht Frankfurt SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin
1960 Hamburger SV 1. FC Köln FK Pirmasens Karlsruher SC SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin
1961 Hamburger SV 1. FC Köln 1. FC Saarbrücken 1. FC Nürnberg Hertha BSC
1962 Hamburger SV 1. FC Köln Borussia Neunkirchen 1. FC Nürnberg SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin
1963 Hamburger SV 1. FC Köln 1. FC Kaiserslautern TSV 1860 München Hertha BSC

Overview[edit]

Oberliga champions are usually promoted to Regionalliga which is directly below the 3. Fußball-Liga. The Oberliga Nordost has two divisions ("Süd" and "Nord").

If the champion of an Oberliga is the B-team of a club which already has a team in the Regionalliga, or which has a team which will be relegated to the Regionalliga, the B-team cannot be promoted, and the next highest qualified team will be promoted instead.

There are fourteen "Oberligen", based on states and regions of Germany.

Promotion from the Oberligas to the 2nd Bundesliga[edit]

From 1974 to 1994, the Oberligas, originally called 1st Amateurliga, were set right below the two 2nd Bundesligas, North and South. Originally there was 15 Amateurligas which were reduced to 8 Oberligas in 1978. From 1981 the 2nd Bundesliga was reduced to one single league. Because there always were more Oberliga champions then promotion spots, these clubs had to determine the promoted teams by the way of a promotion play-off to the 2. Bundesliga, called "Aufstiegsrunde zur 2. Bundesliga".

Short history of the Oberligas[edit]

Since 2012–13 fourteen leagues exist on Oberliga level, increased from eleven the previous season:

Oberliga Baden-Württemberg[edit]

The Oberliga Baden-Württemberg was formed in 1978 to provide a single-division 3rd tier league for the state of Baden-Württemberg. Previously, the clubs in the state had played in four separate Amateurligas; Nordwürttemberg, Schwarzwald-Bodensee, Nordbaden and Südbaden. Two of those were merged, the Amateurligas Nordwürttemberg and Schwarzwald-Bodensee to form the Verbandsliga Württemberg.

Feeder leagues to the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg

Fußball-Bayernliga[edit]

The Fußball-Bayernliga was formed in 1945. In 1946–47, 1947–48 and from 1953–54 till 1962–63 it was split in a northern and a southern division. From 1963 to 2012 it played in the single division format. Since 2012 it again plays with a northern and a southern division.

Feeder leagues to the Bayernliga

Bremen-Liga[edit]

The Bremen-Liga was established in 2008.

Feeder league to the Bremen-Liga

Oberliga Hamburg[edit]

The Oberliga Hamburg was established in 2008.

Feeder leagues to the Oberliga Hamburg

Hessenliga[edit]

The Hessenliga was formed in 1945. In its first two seasons, 1945/46 and 1946/47 it played in two separate divisions, east and west. Since then it has been a single league and is the oldest Oberliga to operate continuously in this format.

Feeder leagues to the Hessenliga

Oberliga Mittelrhein[edit]

The Oberliga Mittelrhein was elevated to Oberliga status in 2012 after the disbanding of the NRW-Liga which it previously had served.

Feeder leagues to the Oberliga Mittelrhein

Oberliga Niederrhein[edit]

The Oberliga Niederrhein was elevated to Oberliga status in 2012 after the disbanding of the NRW-Liga which it previously had served.

Feeder leagues to the Oberliga Niederrhein

Oberliga Niedersachsen[edit]

The Oberliga Niedersachsen was established in 2008, initially in two regional divisions, in 2010 reduced to a single division league.

Feeder leagues to the Oberliga Niedersachsen

NOFV-Oberliga[edit]

The NOFV-Oberliga was established in 1991 after the German reunification. It covers former East Germany and the city of Berlin. Originally having three divisions, in 1994 the NOFV-Oberliga Mitte ceased and its clubs were split between the other two divisions, NOFV-Oberliga Nord and NOFV-Oberliga Süd.

Feeder Leagues to the NOFV-Oberliga

The participating teams are redistributed between the northern and the southern division based on geographical needs. If possible, teams from Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern promote to the northern division, whereas teams from Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia promote to the southern division.

Schleswig-Holstein-Liga[edit]

The Schleswig-Holstein-Liga was established in 2008.

Feeder leagues to the Schleswig-Holstein-Liga

Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar[edit]

The Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar, named Oberliga Südwest until 2012, was formed in 1978 to provide a single-division third tier league for the two states Saarland and Rheinland-Pfalz. Previously, the clubs that make up this Oberliga played in three separate leagues; the Amateurligas Südwest, Saarland, and Rheinland.

Feeder leagues to the Oberliga Südwest

Oberliga Westfalen[edit]

The Oberliga Westfalen was formed in 1978 to provide a single-division for the Westphalia region. It was disestablished in 2008 with the introduction of the NRW-Liga but reestablished in 2012.

Feeder leagues to the Oberliga Westfalen

Defunct Oberligas[edit]

The Amateur-Oberliga Berlin was established in 1974 to accommodate the majority of clubs of the Regionalliga Berlin when this league ceased to exist. With the German reunification in 1991 the Oberliga Berlin ceased to exist and its clubs were spread between the NOFV-Oberliga Nord and the NOFV-Oberliga Mitte. The highest level of league play in Berlin is now the Berlin-Liga.

The NOFV-Oberliga Mitte existed from the German reunification in 1991 until its dissolution in 1994. Its clubs were moved to either the NOFV-Oberliga Nord or the NOFV-Oberliga Süd.

The Oberliga Niedersachsen/Bremen existed from 1994 till 2004 as a replacement for the Oberliga Nord. With the reestablishment of the Oberliga Nord, the Oberliga Niedersachsen/Bremen ceased to exist.

The Oberliga Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein existed from 1994 till 2004 as a replacement for the Oberliga Nord. With the reestablishment of the Oberliga Nord, the Oberliga Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein ceased to exist.

The Oberliga Nordrhein was established in 1978 as a new joint amateur top flight for the best teams of the Verbandsliga Niederrhein and the Verbandsliga Mittelrhein. It was replaced by the NRW-Liga in 2008, which is a merger of the Oberliga Nordrhein and the Oberliga Westfalen.

The NRW-Liga was formed in 2008 and disbanded again in 2012 and replaced by the Oberliga Westfalen, the Oberliga Mittelrhein and the Oberliga Niederrhein.

The Oberliga Nord was formed in 1974 to form a highest playing level for the states of Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Bremen. As such it was a continuation of the old Regionalliga Nord which was superseded by the 2. Bundesliga Nord in 1974. It stopped operating in 1994 when the Regionalliga Nord was reformed, now as the third tier of the German football league system. It was replaced by the Oberliga Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein and the Oberliga Niedersachsen/Bremen. In 2004 the Oberliga Nord was re-established to replace these two leagues. To add to the confusion, the Oberliga Nord again ceased to exist after the 2007–08 season with the establishment of the 3. Liga.

Oberliga Timeline[edit]

Oberliga Niederrhein Oberliga Mittelrhein Oberliga Niedersachsen Oberliga Niedersachsen-West Oberliga Niedersachsen-Ost Schleswig-Holstein-Liga Bremen-liga Oberliga Hamburg NRW-Liga Oberliga Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein Oberliga Niedersachsen/Bremen NOFV-Oberliga Süd NOFV-Oberliga Mitte NOFV-Oberliga Nord Oberliga Baden-Württemberg Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar Oberliga Westfalen Oberliga Nordrhein Oberliga Nord Oberliga Berlin Bayernliga Bayernliga Bayernliga Hessenliga Oberliga Nord (1947-63) Oberliga West (1947-63) Oberliga Berlin (1945-63) Oberliga Südwest (1945-63) Oberliga Süd (1945-63)

Source:"The German football leagues: Bundesliga to Verbandsliga". Das deutsche Fußball-Archiv. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zwölfjahreswertung – article in the German Wikipedia covering the details for the selection of the initial members of the Bundesliga

Sources[edit]

  • Die Bayernliga 1945 – 1997, (German) published by the DSFS, 1998
  • Deutschlands Fußball in Zahlen, (German) An annual publication with tables and results from the Bundesliga to Verbandsliga/Landesliga, publisher: DSFS
  • Kicker Almanach, (German) The yearbook on German football from Bundesliga to Oberliga, since 1937, published by the Kicker Sports Magazine
  • Süddeutschlands Fussballgeschichte in Tabellenform 1897–1988 (German) History of Southern German football in tables, publisher & author: Ludolf Hyll
  • Die Deutsche Liga-Chronik 1945–2005 (German) History of German football from 1945 to 2005 in tables, publisher: DSFS, published: 2006

External links[edit]