They were not alone – of the three relegated from Bundelsiga clubs only Rot Weiss (Essen) had strong season, finishing 2nd in the Nord. Tennis Borussia (West Berlin) ended even lower than Karlsruher - 10th in Nord. But the promoted from the regional leagues fared no better than the relegated – 4 of 7 total clubs winning promotions in 1976-77 lasted only one year, going right where they came from: 1. FC Bocholt and OSC Bremerhaven finished 18th and 19th in Nord; VfR OLI Burstadt and Kickers Wurzburg took the same places in Sud. The survivors were just that – survivors: Rot Weiss (Ludenscheid) finished 13th in Nord, the same place took Freiburger SC in Sud. VfR Wormatia (Worms) was the best newcomer - 9th in Sud. Of all newcomers, promoted and relegated, only Rot Weiss (Essen) had really strong season – and even theirs was not exactly satisfactory.
To a point, there was no race in the South Second Division: SV Darmstadt finished first 5 points ahead of 1. FC Nurnberg, who also had no real competition, for 3rd placed FC 08 Homburg was 4 points behind them. And judging by the clubs playing in the league, there was hard to imagine even the winners establishing themselves in the Bundesliga.
Top row, from left: Hahn, Weiss, Sprey, Bechtold, Lindemann, Frey, Wagner, Krumbein
Middle row: Lothar Buchmann,Masseur Zacheis, Dörenberg, Kleppinger, Cestonaro, Drexler, Westenberger, Schneider, Co-Trainer Sclappner Sitting: Weber, Pampuch, Rudolf, Seyffer, Metz, Schabacker
Good for them, but it was clear that the most this squad could hope for in the Bundesliga was escaping relegation for a year or two. The best they had were Kleppinger and Cestonaro – second division stars, no more.
1. FC Nurnberg was another victim of Bundesliga – ones upon a time, it was strong club, often champions of Germany. Perhaps the 1950s were their peak, followed by significant slump. Nurnberg won their last title in 1968 and after that they lost their place among the top German clubs, eventually sinking to second level. And not able to win even there... second place gave them still a chance for promotion, though: they were to play promotional play-off against the second-placed team in Northern group.
At the bottom the fight for survival was not very heavy either: dead last were FK Pirmasens, finishing with 6 points! 1 win and 4 ties in 38 matches, 25:120 goal difference. Kickers Wurzburg, 19th, were way above with their 17 points, yet... no fighters either, for they were also 8 points behind the 18th team, VfR OLI Burstadt. Who were doomed early too, for 8 points divided them from the 17th spot. It was this last relegation spot where clubs fought to escape from – six clubs trembled to the end. SV Eintracht (Trier) and Freiburger SC eventually finished 12th and 13th with 35 points. Three clubs finished with 34 points – FC Augsburg was 14th with curious positive goal difference 57:54, followed by FSV Frankfurt and KSB Baunatal. The unlucky one was FC Bayern (Hof). They ended with only 33 points, 17th and out of the league.