Top Flight Promotion 2021/22: The Return of Fallen Champions and Yo-yo Teams

European Top Flight promotion in 2021-22 season sees the return of fallen Champions and yo-yo teams, not only in one but all top five leagues. 

A number of European leagues have just completed their season. Interestingly, several fallen champions, teams that have previously won the league or major European tournaments, are simultaneously poised to return to the top tiers. They are accompanied by the typical yo-yo teams, those that have been relegated and then almost immediately promoted. Some clubs have secured their place to prepare for next season’s campaign while some others are still fighting for the final spot through the playoffs. 

Top Flight Promotion in 2021-22:
Arrival of Fallen Champions and Yo-yo Teams 

Those who Have Secured Places

As the second-tier competitions have concluded or reached the final stages, several clubs have secured their tickets to the top level of the football league pyramid. At least the top two teams from the Bundesliga 2, EFL Championships, Ligue 2, and Italian Serie B have carved their way back, whereas the Spanish Segunda Division still has two games left and no champion has been determined.

In Germany, Schalke and Werder Bremen have climbed back instantly to the top tier after being relegated last season. Meanwhile, Premier League shall see Fulham, the frequent yo-yo club, and Bournemouth again in 2022-23 season. They are guided by two former bosses in EPL, the Portuguese Marco Silva and Scott Parker respectively. 

In France, Toulouse managed to go back to the top-level alongside Ajaccio, which finished second in Ligue 2 final standings. Another infamous yo-yo team that is ready to be back in the top tier next season is Lecce. Since their Serie A debut in 1985/86, they have gone through nine relegation-promotion cycles. Marco Baroni’s team is joined by Cremonese, which have confirmed their first return to Serie B since 1996.

Those whose Battle is Underway 

Normally, the remaining spots for top flight promotion are decided by a playoff. Each league has its own set of rules for determining the final path. The two European Cup 1980 finalists, Nottingham Forest and Hamburg SV are attempting to make their way back through this similar route. Both are only one game away from their return. The Forest is bound to take on Huddersfield in the final, whereas the 1983 European Cup champion, Hamburg has to face off Hertha Berlin, led by their former star, Felix Magath, in a relegation/promotion playoff. 

Meanwhile, AJ Auxerre, the 1996 Ligue 1 champion, will face Sochaux first in order to claim one place in the promotion/relegation playoff. Their opponent is the team ranked 18th in the top flight table. Metz, St.Etienne and Bordeaux are still battling for that final spot for survival. 

In La Liga Segunda Division, the Spanish yo-yo club, Real Valladolid, is on the verge of their fourth instant relegation/promotion since 2006. The club owned by the world cup winner Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima is eyeing a finish in the top two. They are sitting on the third collecting 75 points, just two points adrift from Eibar on second and four points behind Almeria on top. Three of them have been relatively safe in the promotion race, while their five rivals, Tenerife, Real Oviedo, Girona, Las Palmas, and Ponferadina, are vying for a spot in the playoffs. Only the top two will advance directly to the top tier, while one remaining spot will be given to the playoff winner. 

The same way goes for Italian Serie B which has reached the playoff stages. Brescia, Monza, Pisa and Benevento are aiming for the last ticket to Italian top flight. Brescia and Monza will lock horn before meeting the winner of Pisa vs Benevento in the final at the end of May. 


Main Photo: NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 29: General view of action at the City Ground home stadium of Nottingham Forest during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United at City Ground on August 29, 2018 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

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