Hamburger SV have never before had to deal with the 'R-word', while VfB Stuttgart have a history which includes more titles than tribulations. Relegation has been more frequent for 1. FC Nürnberg, although it had seemed one of the oldest and most successful clubs in German football had finally distanced themselves from that spectre - until now.
bundesliga.com looks at three of Germany's proudest Traditionsvereine on the brink of dropping into Bundesliga 2 next season, analysing what has gone wrong and assessing their chances of survival.
1. FC NürnbergCurrent position: 15th, 26 points.
Remaining fixtures: Borussia Mönchengladbach (h), VfL Wolfsburg (a), Bayer 04 Leverkusen (h), 1. FSV Mainz 05 (a), Hannover 96 (h), FC Schalke 04 (a)
Relegated three times since the turn of the millennium, and eight times in their history, the Nürnberg ship had been steadied with a sixth and two 10th-placed finishes in the past three seasons, but this year has been more reminiscent of their former troubled times. Michael Wiesinger was dismissed replaced as coach by Gertjan Verbeek before the midway stage of the campaign, and it was not until Matchday 18 that they celebrated their first win. After a brief recovery at the start of 2014, they have slumped once again, but misfortune has certainly played its part. No other side have hit the woodwork as many times as FCN (21), while they appear overly reliant on 16-goal hitman Josip Drmic.
Prospects: If Drmic (pictured) remains fit, der Club retain a fighting chance, but their run-in is by no means kind. Up next are Gladbach, Wolfsburg, Leverkusen and Mainz and are all fighting for a place in Europe, but in truth, there are no easy games at this stage of the season.
VfB StuttgartCurrent position: 16th, 24 points.
Remaining fixtures: SC Freiburg (h), Borussia Mönchengladbach (a), FC Schalke 04 (h), Hannover 96 (a), VfL Wolfsburg (h), FC Bayern München (a)
Relegated just once in 1975, Stuttgart have been crowned Bundesliga champions three times since returning to the top flight in 1977, most recently in 2007. Their form over the last few years betrays a more worrying trend, and though they began the current campaign with top-five ambitions, things have not clicked under either Bruno Labbadia or Thomas Schneider, leaving the experienced warhorse Huub Stevens attempting to lead them across the finishing line.
Prospects: There is no doubting the quality within the Stuttgart side, with Timo Werner perhaps the most exciting talent in Germany today. When they head to Bayern on the final day of the season, however, VfB will need to already have enough points on the board to survive, but with Champions League-chasing Gladbach, Schalke and Wolfsburg on the agenda, it's not easy to see where they might come from.
Hamburger SVCurrent position: 17th, 24 points.
Remaining fixtures: Bayer 04 Leverkusen (h), Hannover 96 (a), VfL Wolfsburg (h), FC Augsburg (a), FC Bayern München(h), 1. FSV Mainz 05 (a)
The only club to have played every one of the 51 Bundesliga campaigns so far are arguably closer now than they have ever been to ending their top-flight tenure. The season started badly, with Thorsten Fink let go after five defeats in the opening six games, and although HSV improved temporarily under his replacement Bert van Marwijk, the results have still been poor. Mirko Slomka is now calling the shots, but with just eight points from seven games, and with the goals drying up for top-scorer Pierre-Michel Lasogga, the north German giants are meekly heading towards an historic relegation.
Prospects: Hamburg fans could be forgiven for sounding a doomsday note given the remaining fixtures Northern derbies with Hannover and Wolfsburg look as tricky as trips to Augsburg and Mainz, meaning they may be pinning their hopes on a slice of charity from champions Bayern in their penultimate outing this term.