Second Division – Bundesliga 2. Rather dramatic race for top positions in pretty much equal league. Last 4 – relegated, the top 2 – directly promoted, third-placed team going to promotion/relegation play-off against the 16th in the Bundesliga. Various strict requirements – largely financial ones – existed, so at the end one of the relegated team was actually going down because their license was revoked.
Union Solingen was the outsider this season – last with 20 points and relegated.
FSV Mainz 05 – 19th with 29 points and relegated.
Viktoria Aschaffenburg – 18th with 34 points. Quite unlucky – relegated on worse head-to-head record.
SpVgg Bayreuth – 17th with 34 points and ahead of Viktoria Aschaffenburg on better head-to-head record. Normally, they should have been relegated, but there was unexpected luck – Kickers Offenbach had their license revoked and Bayreuth remained in the league.
Rot-Weiss Essen – 16th with 35 points. Barely surviving now and their decline was not going to end.
Kickers Offenbach – 15th with 35 points. However, the club was in serious trouble and its license was revoked – and with that, they were relegated.
VfL Osnabruck – 14th with 34 points.
Hertha BSC – 13th with 36 points.
Schalke 04 – 12th with 36 points.
SV Darmstadt 98 – 11th with 37 points.
SV Meppen – 10th with 37 points
Eintracht Braunschweig – 9th with 38 points.
Blau-Weiss 90 West Berlin – 8th with 41 points.
Alemannia Aachen – 7th with 41 points.
SG Wattenscheid 09 – 6th with 42 points.
SC Freiburg – 5th with 42 points.
Fortuna Koln – 4th with 45 points. Tony Woodcock played for them, but his career was going downhill with aging.
1.FC Saarbrucken – clinched 3rd place with 46 points. Lost direct promotion by a point too, but still had a chance to go up at the promotion/relegation play-off. Unfortunately, it was not to be – they lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 and 2-1. One goal down… and no going up. As a trivia note, the first legally transferred Bulgarian was here – the former defender of Lokomotiv (Sofia) Nasko Zhelev (Jelev) arrived in January 1988, so technically he was in his second season, but the first full season. Of course, he was the first ever Bulgarian playing in Germany, but that was mostly before the Second World War. Stefan Abadzhiev, assistant coach of FC Homburg 09 at this time, played a little bit earlier, but he arrived too old for longer successful career and did not appear in the Bundesliga at all. However, he defected – Zhelev’s transfer was genuine and too bad Saarbrucken failed to get promoted – because of that, the first Bulgarian player in the Bundesliga debuted a few years later. And curiously, also from Lokomotiv (Sofia), where he was teammate with Zhelev.
FC Homburg – 2nd with 47 points. Clinched direct promotion and were going to try Bundesliga football one more time.
Fortuna Dusseldorf managed to win the championship with 49 points from 19 wins, 11 ties, and 8 losses. 85-52 goal-difference. Difficult victory, but a victory and promotion back to Bundesliga. Probably it is already noticeable that West German clubs imported largely Polish players at this time.