DAVID SMITH - Monday, May 9, 2016
The promotion picture is nearly complete for several Americans looking to push their teams to the next level of play.
One American saw his team earn the right to compete in a head-to-head playoff in Germany, although at the cost of an up-and-coming American coach, while a veteran of Denmark's top division helped his team secure their return.
Here's a short breakdown of the remaining promotion races for Yanks in Germany and Denmark. Bob Bradley's fight to bring Le Havre to France's top flight will be covered in a separate article.
Germany - 2nd Bundesliga
The picture for teams looking to make the jump to Germany's top division was settled over the weekend with one game to spare. RB Leipzig's 2-0 win over Karlsruhe guarantees their top-flight debut next season as they clinched the division's second automatic promotion spot.
They are now mathematically out of the race for claiming the division crown after first-place Freiburg also won to keep the gap at five points with only one game left. Nevertheless, Leipzig's promotion means that Terrence Boyd's next shot at competitive action after a two-season injury layoff could be against the big boys of the Bundesliga.
Germany - 3rd Liga
The final details on who would claw their way into the promotion playoff spot in the 3. Liga also became clear on Saturday.
Würzburg's 1-1 draw at Kiel coupled with Osnabrück's 2-1 loss at Chemnitz means that Royal-Dominique Fennell's team is mathematically guaranteed to play the third-from-last team one division above for the right to spend next season in the 2nd Bundesliga. Their opponent for the two-legged playoff won't be decided until next Sunday, with Paderborn, Shawn Barry's FSV Frankfurt, Duisburg Fortuna Düsseldorf all possible.
This also resigns Osnabrück head coach Joe Enochs to plan for another season in the 3rd Liga. However, with a strong record of 14 wins and 12 draws against just 7 losses during his 33 games at the helm, the organization should have reason to be optimistic.
Denmark - 1st Division
Conor O'Brien and AC Horsens officially returned to Denmark's top-flight Superliga next season after a dramatic last-minute victory over Skive IK.
Horsens fought hard to the very last second and finally beat their opponents 3-2 thanks to an injury-time goal by Gambian defender Bubacarr Sanneh. The result officially gave them a ten-point cushion with four games left, however with one of those games to be an automatic three points due to the bankruptcy of their opponents, they are mathematically safe.
This ends their three-year stay at the country's second level after their 2013 relegation, and also returns O'Brien to a league where he had a successful run with three different teams over the course of three seasons.