Bundesliga: What happens if there is a tie in the table?

Criteria for Placement
That happens when there is a tie on points in the Bundesliga

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It can be about championship or relegation – and sometimes nuances decide. Especially at the end of the season in the Bundesliga, fans ask themselves the question: What actually happens if there is a tie? Of the stern has the answer.

In the fight for the German soccer championship, for a place in the European Cup or against being relegated to league two, things can sometimes get really tight. Namely when at the end of the season two or the total of 18 teams in each league have the same number of points in the table.

What happens in such a case? The German Football League has listed the criteria for determining placement in the event of a tie in its rules of play. They apply to both major divisions and are applied in the following established order should two teams have the same number of points:

Criteria for equal points in the Bundesliga

  1. the goal difference determined by the subtraction method
  2. Number of goals scored
  3. the overall result from the first and second leg in a direct comparison
  4. the number of goals scored away from home in direct comparison
  5. the total number of goals scored away from home

If the number of goals scored away from home is also identical, the sixth criterion in the rules of the game is a play-off on a neutral pitch, the outcome of which then determines the placement. In the event of a tie after a possible overtime period, a penalty shoot-out would decide the win.

In more than 50 years of Bundesliga history, however, such a decisive game has never had to be played. On the other hand, it has happened before that it is not just the number of points that decides the championship, for example in the 1983/1984 season. At that time, three teams – VfB Stuttgart, Hamburger SV and Borussia Mönchengladbach – ended the season after the 34th matchday with 48:20 points each (the two-point rule still applied). VfB Stuttgart won ahead of HSV simply because of the better goal difference.

+++ You can see the current Bundesliga table here. +++

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on June 13, 2020.

Sources: Rules of the game of the German Football League, Bundesliga final table season 1983/1984 (“Kicker”)

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