Final places taken in new German third division
The final few teams have been confirmed for the new German third football league, ending a long-standing tradition of regional competition in the countryHamburg -- Former Bundesliga club Fortuna Dusseldorf heads the 20-team field in a new-look third German football division for which the final teams qualified on Saturday.
Four relegated teams from the existing second division and eight teams each from the formerly regionally divided third tier form the new semi- professional division.
The so-called 3. Liga (third league) is run by the German football federation (DFB) and not Germany's football league (DFL) which is in charge of the professional first and second Bundesliga divisions.
The aim of the new strengthened third tier is to give young talents better opportunities to rise in the nation's football system and introduce a more gradual change in level between the top and the bottom of the football pyramid.
Germany has worked on a regional system for years, but the success of national leagues in other countries has inspired the DFB to make a change. Although the new league is another level between the national and regional game, it should make it possible for medium sized clubs to grow and achieve promotion to higher divisions.
Other clubs apart from former European Cup Winners' Cup finalists Dusseldorf include Kickers Offenbach and Eintracht Braunschweig, as well as the b-teams from Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen and VfB Stuttgart and cult Berlin team FC Union DPA with Expatica