The new 2. Bundesliga season has just begun, and everyone is looking forward to a fierce fight for the promotion. But who is the favorite in this race?

In our Bundesliga 2 preview, we have analyzed 5 promotion contenders teams so that you can know what to expect about them in the season 2023/24.

Schalke 04

The team led by Thomas Reis was close to saving their position in the top division, but a very tough schedule in the last matches where they played against Bayern, Eintracht, and RB Leipzig dashed all their dreams.

Before the start of the new season, Schalke sold one of their leaders, Marius Bülter, who went to Hoffenheim for 3 million euros. Young midfielder Rodrigo Zalazar also left the club and moved to Braga. Central defender Maya Yoshida decided not to renew his contract, so he left the club as a free agent.

Schalke 04 season preview

If we talk about incoming transfers, there are also enough of them. The most outstanding transfer is Paul Seguin, who played four seasons in the Union Berlin. “Die Knappen” paid about 750 thousand euros for him. Also, Schalke’s squad was replenished with midfielders Lino Tempelmann, Ron Schallenberg, and forward Bryan Lasme.

Season prediction: Schalke has saved a good part of their squad and therefore can count on promotion in class, at least fighting for promotion next season.

Starting match: Hamburger SV – Schalke 04

Holstein Kiel

Marcel Rapp’s squad has lingered in the second division for numerous years, even though they come close to promotion every season. The club consistently ranks among the top contenders for the Bundesliga but always falls short at the final hurdle. 

Holstein Kiel season preview

Rapp has curated an impressive team for the new season, aiming for a spot in the top tier. They’ve retained most key players and added a mix of young and promising talents. 

Shuto Machino, a young Japanese striker, looks poised to become one of the team’s central figures this season. Additionally, the experience of players like Steven Skrzybski, who has consistently netted goals for Kiel, can’t be overlooked. He seems determined to continue his scoring streak in 2. Bundesliga 2023/24.

Season prediction: Most likely, Kiel will be fighting for a chance to play in the top league, but this will depend on many factors.

Starting match: Braunschweig – Kiel


“Die Rothosen” was very close to promotion last season. The team from Hamburger was in second position almost until the last match but two losses against Kaiserslautern (2:0) and Magdeburg (3:2) broked all their hopes about promotion. And even 3 wins in a row in the last matches don’t help them.

Hamburger SV season preview

If we talk about transfers, Hamburger saved all their key players. Even top scorer Robert Glatzel has scored 19 goals and is interested by Werder and has some better offers from higher divisions still staying in Hamburg.

Season prediction: “Der Dino” has all the chances to be promoted in the new season of Bundesliga 2. The team was solid last season and has great chances in the next one.

Starting match: Hamburger SV – Schalke 04


In our Bundesliga 2 season preview, we can’t not to mention Paderborn, who is among one of the contenders for promotion almost every year. Last season, Lukas Kwasniok’s team finished in 6th place, 11 points behind the third place, but the season for this team seemed to be quite good. The club started with 8 wins in the opening 12 matches. It steadily gained victories during the season and only the loss of points against direct competitors prevented them from reaching the dream promotion in the class.

Paderborn season preview

The team kept almost all their key players in the new Bundesliga 2 season 2023/24. Only Dennis Srbeny went to Greuther Furth, Julian Justvan went to Hoffenheim and Ron Schallenberg went to Schalke.

However, Maximilian Rohr has moved to Paderborn on a permanent basis from Hamburg and the club has also added the experienced Max Kruse, who has played for many Bundesliga clubs for many years.

Season prediction: Paderborn will fight for the promotion place this season, but their result may not be as good as expected.

Starting match: Greuther Furth – Paderborn

Fortuna Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf team is a constant contender for the last seasons. After relegation from the Bundesliga in season 2019/2020, “Fortunen” always tries to back into the higher league. The previous season they finished in 4th place and lost 8 points to Hamburger, which was 3rd. Daniel Thioune’s team has been doing well the whole season but powerful rivals and lost points against not the most potent teams did their job as well.

Fortuna Dusseldorf season preview

The most significant loss for Fortuna before 2 Bundesliga 2023/24 was the departure of top scorer Dawid Kownacki who moved to the Werder Bremen. He is to be replaced by Vincent Vermeij, who showed himself well in the 3. Liga playing for the Freiburg II.

Season prediction: Fortuna has all the chances to fight for the promotion, but they need to strengthen their squad.

Starting match: Fortuna – Hertha