Can B Teams Get Promoted

Can B Teams Get Promoted? What You Need To Know

Last updated on October 17th, 2021

You may have seen some teams like FC Barcelona B or Bayern Munich 2 playing in the lower leagues of the Spain or Germany respectively.

This may make you wonder, can they actually get promoted and play against their senior sides?

Here’s what you need to know:

Can B teams get promoted?

For B teams that play in the same league system as the main side, they usually have to play one or more levels below the senior team. As such, they are unable to be promoted to the same league as their senior team.

However, they are still able to get promoted if they play 2 levels below their senior side.

For example, FC Barcelona B was relegated to the Segunda Division B in the 2017/18 season. This is the 3rd tier of Spanish football.

It is possible for them to still get promoted back up to the Segunda Division (2nd tier of Spanish football). However, they cannot be promoted to the La Liga which is where their senior side is playing in!

Can Spanish B teams play in La Liga?

Spanish B teams have to play at least one level below their senior team. This means that the Spanish B teams can never play in the La Liga.

The La Liga is Spain’s top tier of football in the country. If the senior team is playing in the La Liga, the B team cannot be promoted to the La Liga.

They will not be promoted, even if they are eligible for promotion!

If the senior side gets relegated from La Liga, the B team will be relegated to the Segunda Division B as well.

It could be an interesting scenario if the senior side gets relegated, while the B team is eligible for promotion!

However, this is most likely to be an extremely impossible situation.

There are actually quite a few B teams that play in the Segunda Division B, such as:

  1. Atlético Madrid B
  2. Celta B
  3. Getafe B
  4. Athletic Bilbao B
  5. Real Sociedad B
  6. Espanyol B
  7. Villarreal B

Can Real Madrid Castilla play in the La Liga?

Real Madrid Castilla cannot play in the La Liga if their senior side, Real Madrid is already in the league. This is because the reserve teams in Spain have to remain at least one tier below their senior side.

This scenario is highly unlikely as Real Madrid Castilla is currently in the Segunda Division B. The last time they played in the Segunda Division was in the 2013/14 season.

After being the bottom team in the league, they were relegated from the Segunda Division. They have been playing in the Segunda Division B ever since.

Can Barcelona B be promoted to La Liga?

Barcelona B cannot play in the La Liga if their senior side, FC Barcelona is already in the league. This is because the reserve teams in Spain have to remain at least one tier below their senior side.

In the Segunda Division, you can get promoted in 2 ways:

  1. Automatic promotion (1st and 2nd place)
  2. Playing in the promotion playoff for the 3rd spot (3rd-6th place)

In both the 2010/11 and 2013/14 seasons, Barcelona B were in 3rd place. However, they could not participate in the playoffs since they are Barcelona’s reserve team.

Their spot in the playoffs was given to the 7th-placed team instead.

Even if Barcelona B qualifies to be promoted to the La Liga, they are still unable to!

It is also quite unlikely for this scenario to happen as Barcelona B are also in the Segunda Division B (3rd tier).

Can Barcelona B play in the Copa del Rey?

Barcelona B are unable to participate in the Copa del Rey. A rule change that occurred in 1990 prevented reserve teams from taking part in this cup competition.

Before 1990, reserve teams were allowed to take part in the Copa del Rey as well. This led to a very interesting scenario in 1980!

Real Madrid Castilla reached the Copa del Rey Final in the 1979/1980 season. The final was played between Real Madrid Castilla, and their senior side, Real Madrid.

Real Madrid Castilla eventually lost the match 6-1.

Real Madrid had already won the La Liga in the season. This meant that Real Madrid Castilla qualified to play in the European competitions!

At that time, the competition was known as the European Cup Winner’s Cup.

Real Madrid Castilla also managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey 3 other times:

  1. 1984
  2. 1986
  3. 1988

However, the Spanish FA made a change to the rules in 1990. Reserve teams could no longer play in the Copa del Rey.

As such, this marked the end of reserve teams being able to play in this cup competition!

You can view my comparison between La Liga and Copa del Rey to see how they are different.

Can Real Sociedad B get promoted to La Liga?

Real Sociedad B cannot play in the same league as their senior team, Real Sociedad. In the event that Real Sociedad B finishes in the top 6 positions of the Segunda Division, they will be unable to be promoted to La Liga.

Can Bayern Munich 2 get promoted to Bundesliga?

Bayern Munich 2 cannot progress further from the 3. Liga, which is the 3rd tier of German football. The 3. Liga is the highest division that the reserve teams can play in.

The rules in Germany are stricter compared to other European countries. The furthest that a reserve team can go is the 3. Liga!

Bayern Munich 2 were actually the champions of the 3. Liga in the 2019/20 season. However, they could not be promoted to the 2. Liga due to this rule.

Instead, the 2nd and 3rd placed teams were granted immediate promotion. Meanwhile, the 4th placed team, FC Ingolstadt, took part in the promotion playoff round.

There have been other German reserve teams that have played in the 3. Liga as well. This includes:

  1. Werder Bremen II
  2. Mainz 05 II
  3. VfB Stuttgart II
  4. Borussia Dortmund II

You can find out more about the origins of the names of German teams in my guide.

Most of them have either stayed in the 3. Liga or were relegated to the Regionalliga.

You still can promote Bayern Munich 2 on FIFA

When you play FIFA, they do not take this rule into consideration. As such, it is possible for you to promote Bayern Munich 2 to the 2. Liga, or even the Bundesliga!

Can Jong Ajax get promoted?

Jong Ajax is not eligible to be promoted to the Eredivisie, nor participate in the KNVB Cup. The highest level of football they can play is in the Eerste Divisie, which is the second tier of Dutch football.

Jong Ajax is the reserve team for Ajax. The word ‘Jong‘ literally means young in English!

Apart from Jong Ajax, there are other youth teams in the Eerste Divisie too:

  1. Jong FC Utrecht
  2. Jong AZ
  3. Jong PSV

All of these teams can’t be promoted to the Eredivisie. They also can’t play in the KNVB Cup, which is similar to Spain’s Copa del Rey.

Can Benfica B get promoted?

Benfica B cannot play in the Primeira Liga if their senior side, SL Benfica is already in the league. This is because the reserve teams in Portugal cannot play in the same division as their senior team.

Moreover, they are also not eligible to play in the Portuguese domestic cups, such as:

  1. Taça de Portugal 
  2. Taça da Liga

Benfica B cannot be promoted further from the Liga Portugal 2, which is the second tier of Portuguese football.

Porto B is another reserve team that is found in the Liga Portugal 2 as well.

Conclusion

In most domestic leagues, the senior team and reserve team cannot play in the same tier of football. As such, there is a limit to how far the reserve team can be promoted.

However, there are other countries like England, where the reserve teams have their separate league system.

The strictest league is in Germany, where reserve teams cannot progress further from the 3. Liga (3rd tier)!

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