The Bavarians were officially condemned to relegation after a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Jahn Regensburg in the playoff. The Bavarians will compete in third-tier football for the first time since season 1992-93.The future of one of Germany’s storied football clubs looks unclear. Former Bundesliga champions 1860 Munich were sent to the third division, after losing 2-0 in the second leg to Jahn Regensburg, who triumphed 3-1 on aggregate.
Relegation to the third tier marks the nadir for the Lions, who have endured a torrid few seasons in the second division. The Bavarians were in the playoffs two years ago, scoring in stoppage time against Holstein Kiel to avoid the drop. Last season, the pattern was similar with the Bavarians finishing two points clear of the playoff position.
One of the founding members of the Bundesliga in 1963, 1860 Munich have been in chaos since 2011 when investor Hasan Ismaik purchased 60 per cent of the shares in the club. Though the Jordanian has the lion’s share of control, he still only claims 49 per cent of the voting rights, so the club abides with the 50+1 regulation.
A bleak future for 1860
But the cracks have been apparent for long enough, with Ismaik targeting the media and making a number of bad decisions on the sporting front.
Two sporting directors with Bundesliga experience have been ditched in the past year, while there have been five different coaches since the start of 2016. The current incumbent, Vitor Pereira, will almost certainly leave the club in the face of relegation, despite his contract running until 2018.
There will be serious ramifications for the Bavarian club, both in a sporting and economic context. In the third division, 1860 will collect just one million euros in TV revenues, compared to the six million in the second tier.
A place in the German Cup from next season won’t be guaranteed if the Bavarians remain outside of the top-two divisions.
Where the club decides to play its football next season remains another point of contention. Although the current lease of the Allianz Arena runs until 2025, 1860 are expected to look for another – and more economically viable – home, with the city-owned Grünwalder Stadion, which is used for reserve and youth matches, in the frame.
Given the instability off the field, there can be no guarantee of a quick revival for the former champions of Germany.