Darmstadt, Cologne and Mainz occupy the bottom three with 11 rounds of fixtures remaining. - © DFL
Darmstadt, Cologne and Mainz occupy the bottom three with 11 rounds of fixtures remaining. - © DFL

The 2023/24 relegation battle: Darmstadt, Mainz and Cologne fighting for Bundesliga survival


Two Bundesliga teams will go down automatically, another will get a shot at redemption via the relegation play-off. Find out who's in danger of playing Bundesliga 2 football next season...

How does promotion and relegation work in the Bundesliga?


Position: 18th (automatic relegation)
Points: 13 (23 games)
Goals: 24-52 (-28)
Next fixture: Augsburg (h)

Promoted Darmstadt are in real danger of an immediate return to Bundesliga 2. Torsten Lieberknecht's side have won just twice, whilst conceding a league-high 52 goals after 23 rounds of fixtures. The good news is they're still a surmountable four points off the play-off spot.

Darmstadt need more performances like their comeback draw against Eintracht Frankfurt, if they're to beat the drop. - IMAGO/Jan Huebner


Position: 17th (automatic relegation)
Points: 15 (23 games)
Goals: 18-37 (-19)
Next fixture: Borussia Mönchengladbach (h)

Mainz are already on their third coach of the season, and Bo Henriksen celebrated a winning debut against Augsburg to take Mainz to within a point of the relegation play-off berth. He arrived proclaiming he will keep them up, but the trip to league leaders Bayer Leverkusen proved as tough as it sounded in a 2-1 loss. Defeat to Gladbach on Matchday 23 would leave them firmly in the mire.

Watch: Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Mainz - highlights


Position: 16th (promotion/ relegation play-off)
Points: 17 (23 games)
Goals: 16-37 (-21)
Next fixture: Bayer Leverkusen (h)

A first relegation since 2018 is a distinct possibility for Cologne. Ten defeats across the first 16 games cost Steffen Baumgart his job. Former St. Pauli and Basel boss Timo Schultz has overseen a welcome improvement, though, with seven points from his first seven games (W1, D4, L2) giving the Billy Goats a slender buffer on the automatic drop zone.

Watch: Cologne take first win of 2024 against Frankfurt

Looking over their shoulders

Bochum are a good eight points clear of the bottom three in 15th (25 points), level with Union Berlin, Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach who occupy the next three rungs on the league ladder.

Click here for the full Bundesliga standings!