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Bundesliga Return: SC Paderborn's Hectic Relegation Story

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SC Paderborn's return to the Bundesliga

Every SC Paderborn 07 fan will have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions over the past few decades. The club who only turned professional in 2005, found themselves in Germany’s top division in 2014, only to fall back down the leagues and be relegated to the amateur Regionalliga in 2017.

What soon followed was an incredible spot of fortune, with third division side 1860 Munich being demoted due to a failure to pay bills which saw Paderborn reinstated in the 3. Liga. They then went on to finish that season by getting promoted into the 2. Bundesliga via a 2nd placed finish.

Another top two finish saw them attain back-to-back promotions, both as runners-up in the league. Now, they are back in the top tier of German football since 2014, but things have not been a fairytale so far.

We take a look back on their Bundesliga return and see if they club can make it through to the end.

Not a happy return

Paderborn are currently sat rock bottom of the table with 16 points after winning just four of their 25 league games. Just like in the Premier League and other big divisions across Europe, the bottom two of the league at the end of the season are relegated to the second tier.

However, in the Bundesliga and German football, the bottom two teams are relegated to the division below whilst the third from bottom side battles the club that finished third in the lower division for a place in the higher tier. Therefore, whilst finishing out of the relegation zone may look out of reach for Paderborn, a third placed playoff isn’t too far off for what would be a glimmer of hope of keeping their Bundesliga status after a season that hasn’t been good enough so far.

They sit two points behind 17th placed Werder Bremen and six points adrift of 16th placed Fortuna Dusseldorf. And, considering how long is left of the season, a position outside the relegation zone looks too far away with 15th placed Mainz, who are ten points away.

A decent fight up against the Bundesliga giants

The stats and standings reflect Paderborn’s inferiority in Germany’s top-flight this season. Steffen Baumgart’s side have the most league defeats this season, having been on the receiving end of the scoreline 17 times from the 25 league games this season.

Only 17th placed Werder Bremen have a lower goal difference with -28, compared to Paderborn’s -24. That is also the case with goals conceded, with the 55 goals Bremen have conceded being the only total greater than 54 goals that have gone against Paderborn.

Interestingly though, Paderborn have shown that they will not roll over at the hands of the big boys in the league. German football has been dominated by Bayern Munich over the course of the past decade, but the Bundesliga’s bottom side have not them get three points easily at their dispense.

Even though they have ultimately lost both games at home and away at the Allianz Arena, both games have ended in 3-2 wins for the Bavarians, with Paderborn fighting until the end and being a challenge for the current champions. The most recent encounter between the two at Bayern’s 75,000-seater home in February saw Paderborn come from behind twice, with Bayern needing a late winner from goal machine Robert Lewandowski to clinch the three points in the 88th minute.

Paderborn have also put up a courageous effort against other big teams in the league this season. They were 3-0 down at half time when they hosted title challengers RB Leipzig earlier in the season, before bringing it back to 3-2 in the second half and making it a nervy final 15 minutes for the Red Bulls.

Perhaps the biggest showing of Paderborn’s grit and determination was shown in November, when they were 3-0 up at half time away to Borussia Dortmund. The team that are placed second in the Bundesliga managed to pull it back in the end, but Paderborn can use the way they didn’t roll over and get beat by Dortmund to build upon.

They can look back on the point earned against a team everybody expected them to be annihilated by, to give them some confidence for the final run in and look to complete a great escape that everybody seems to think is near impossible at this moment time.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Whilst relegation is looking increasingly more likely by each week, Paderborn can dream of lightning striking twice and seeing a miracle to keep them in a division again.

Paderborn’s run-in sees them come up against three of the four teams they have beaten this season in Fortuna Dusseldorf, Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen. Another nine points would be enormous for their battle if they can get them, especially with Dusseldorf and Werder Bremen in the two relegation and relegation play-off spots above them.

Everybody loves an underdog story and great escapes, so can history repeat itself and can Paderborn survive relegation yet again against all odds?

By Jordan Edmonds