Since the introduction of the single-track Bundesliga with twelve teams for the 2003/2004 season, the 2nd Bundesliga has played in two seasons (north, south) of ten teams each. This is followed by the four regional leagues (south, west , east, north). The champions of the 2nd Bundesliga are promoted to the Bundesliga. The last two teams in each season are relegated to the regional league.
The 2nd Bundesliga was introduced for the 1988 season and started with the following 16 founding members: