Only one club is crowned champion at the end of the regular season. The bottom three sides are demoted immediately and replaced by the three top teams from the second division. The second level is known as the 2.Bundesliga since 1974. The third division has been known as the 3.Liga since 2008. It was previously known as the Regionalliga since it was formed in 1963.
The German champion, runners up, third place and fourth-placed teams advance to the Champions League, Europe's best club competition. The fifth-placed team and the winner of the DFB Cup qualify for the Europa League.
The sixth-ranked team makes it to the Europa Conference League. In case the DFB Pokal winner also qualifies for the Champions League, the runners-up of the same cup will compete in the Europa League. The sixth team will get a spot in the Europa League when both the DFB Pokal finalists qualify for the Champions League and the Europa Conference spot will go to the seventh-placed team.
Teams relegated from Germany's top-flight league at the end of the regular season move to the second tier for the following season. The 2.Bundesliga also has 18 clubs competing for the three promotion spots available at the end of the season. The next season, those who finish last are relegated to their regional divisions where they compete for a spot in the 2.Bundesliga.
The team that finishes 16th in the Bundesliga plays the team that comes third in the second tier in a two-match playoff. The victor of the tie participates in the Bundesliga the following campaign, while the loser is relegated to the second division.