The German Bundesliga teams that have never been relegated

The German Bundesliga teams that have never been relegated

Kevin Omuya
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:13 PM

There is no greater penalty in football than relegation for a poor season. Until the beginning of the 2017-18 season, Hamburg was the only team in the German Bundesliga to have never dropped from the top-flight competition since its formation in 1963. Let us look at the German Bundesliga teams, which have never been relegated.

Bundesliga teams that have never been relegated
German Bundesliga teams that have never been relegated. Photo: @FCBayern, @BlackYellow, @bayer04_en, @VfLWolfsburg_EN on Twitter
Source: UGC

As you may have guessed, Bayern Munich is one of the few German clubs to have never been demoted from the Bundesliga, Germany's top-flight League. Aside from Bayern Munich, though, we also have clubs like Bayer Leverkusen, Vfl Wolfburg, and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim that have never been demoted.

Which Bundesliga teams have never been relegated?

Since its inception, the German league has featured 56 clubs in the competition. Bayern Munich has the most championship wins among Bundesliga clubs with 31. Although there have been other champions in the Bundesliga, the most notable ones besides Bayern are Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, Werder Bremen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and VfB Stuttgart.

According to UEFA's league coefficient ranking for the 2021–22 season, based on performances in European competitions over the previous five seasons, the league is one of the top national leagues and is ranked fourth in Europe. Here are the teams that have never been relegated from Bundesliga since its inception.

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1. Bayern Munich

Bundesliga teams that have never been relegated
Bayern players celebrate victory with fans after the UEFA Champions League match against FC Barcelona at Allianz Arena on September 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. Photo: Markus Gilliar
Source: Getty Images

Bayern Munich is frequently regarded as the most successful club in Germany due to its abundance of league and cup victories. The only time in the history of the German league giants to be relegated was in 1955 when they were demoted from Oberliga 1, the highest league in the German football league system, before the Bundesliga was created in 1963.

With a record 32 national championships, including ten straight ones since 2013, 20 national cups, and countless European awards, Bayern is the most successful club in German football history.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Bayern Munich FC
  • Founded: 27 Feb 1900 (122 years ago)
  • Stadium: Allianz Arena
  • Capacity: 75,000
  • Head Coach: Julian Nagelsmann

2. Hamburger SV

Which teams in the Bundesliga have never been relegated?
Hamburger SV players celebrate a win in front of their fans. Photo: Michael Schwartz
Source: Getty Images

HSV has won the DFB-Pokal three times, the old League Cup twice, and the German national title six times. The team's most prosperous phase was from the middle of the 1970s to the middle of the 1980s, during which time they won the European Cup in 1982 and the European Cup in 1976, in addition to other domestic awards.

When the Bundesliga was founded in 1963, Hamburger SV was the only original top-tier team to continuously play in the top division without being demoted. However, they were demoted in the 2017–18 season after finishing in 17th place.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Hamburger Sport-Verein e.V.
  • Founded: 29 September 1887 (135 years ago)
  • Stadium: Volksparkstadion
  • Capacity: 57,000
  • Head Coach: Tim Walter

3. VFL Wolfsburg

What Bundesliga team has never been relegated?
VfL Wolfsburg players embrace the fans after their sides draw during the Bundesliga match against FC Bayern München at Volkswagen Arena on May 14, 2022, in Wolfsburg, Germany. Photo: Stuart Franklin.
Source: Getty Images

In their history, Wolfsburg has only ever won the DFB-Pokal (2015), the DFL-Supercup (2015), and the Bundesliga (2008).

Before ultimately being promoted to the top level in 1997, Wolfsburg spent its formative years in Germany's regional divisions and Bundesliga 2. Despite a few relegation play-off scares, they have remained in the top flight ever since.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Verein für Leibesübungen Wolfsburg
  • Founded: 12 September 1945 (77 years ago)
  • Stadium: Volkswagen Arena
  • Capacity: 30,000
  • Head Coach: Niko Kovač

4. Bayer Leverkusen

What Bundesliga team has never been relegated?
Leverkusen fans show off their scarves before the game on 12 February 2022, at North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: David Inderlied
Source: Getty Images

The 118-year-old Bayer Leverkusen team has never won a league championship, but they are often considered to have some of Germany's best players. Never in their history have they been demoted from the German league competition. Bayer had continuously played in the Bundesliga since 1979 when it was promoted there for the first time.

Bayer Leverkusen holds the record for most Bundesliga runner-up finishes without ever taking home the trophy. The team has two trophies to their name, the DFB-Pokal and the UEFA Cup. Bayer also lost the UEFA Champions League championship game to Real Madrid by 2-1 in 2001–02. FC Köln is one of their main local rivals.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fußball GmbH
  • Founded: 1 July 1904 (118 years ago)
  • Stadium: Bay Arena
  • Capacity: 30,210
  • Head Coach: Xabi Alonso

5. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Teams that have never been relegated from Bundesliga
Players of Hoffenheim celebrate their win with the fans after their Bundesliga match against FSV Mainz 05 at PreZero-Arena on September 10, 2022, in Sinsheim, Germany. Photo: Lukas Schulze
Source: Getty Images

Hoffenheim has been playing in the Bundesliga since 2008. Hoffenheim achieved its greatest league position (third place) and advanced to the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in club history in the 2017–18 campaign.

However, it should be remembered that only TSG 1899 Hoffenheim has not been relegated; the other three top German clubs have all been demoted at least to the second division since the formation of the top-tier German league.

Profile summary

  • Full name: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
  • Founded: 1 July 1899 (123 years ago)
  • Stadium: Rhein-Neckar-Arena
  • Capacity: 30,150
  • Head Coach: Andre Breitenreiter

6. Borrusia Dortmund

Which Bundesliga teams have never been relegated?
Supporters of Borussia Dortmund during the German Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munchen at the Signal Iduna Park on October 8, 2022, in Dortmund, Germany. Photo: Dennis Bresser
Source: Getty Images

The team was readmitted to the Bundesliga in 1976 after being expelled. In the 1980s, Dortmund's financial woes persisted. In 1986, after finishing the regular season in the 16th position, BVB avoided relegation by winning a third and deciding playoff game against Fortuna Köln.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Borrusia Dortmund
  • Founded: 19 December 1909 (112 years ago)
  • Stadium: Signal Iduna Park
  • Capacity: 81,365
  • Head Coach: Edin Terzić

Did Bayern ever get relegated?

Bayern Munich was only ever demoted in 1955. The following year, they were back playing at the first level football league after being promoted.

The German teams that have never been relegated enjoy many benefits in the top-tier league. When a team drops to a lower division, the disadvantages are losing out on financial sponsors, the risk of losing players, and finding it harder to attract new players.

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Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.