The former England and France champions, Nottingham Forest and Auxerre finally ended their long waiting to return to the top flight. Both sides sealed the last ticket for promotion through a playoff stage last weekend.
The Forest was involved in an intense match against Huddersfield. They managed to score but only through an own goal from Levi Colwill. Danny Ward and Co had been knocking on the door to find the equaliser but they wasted more crosses than decent chances. Steve Cooper’s side eventually clinched the place in the Premier League next season after waiting for more than two decades. The European Cup (the old version of Champions League) winner in 1979 and 1980 might have to revamp the squad to survive in the most competitive league in the world to avoid going down again.
The other two sides have secured their return for finishing the top two on the tables. Fulham is back again followed by Bournemouth. Interestingly, the latter is led by Scott Parker, the former Fulham boss while being relegated two seasons ago. The ex-Chelsea man was able to guide Dominic Solanke and Co to bounce back since 2020.
Meanwhile, in France, the 1996 Ligue 1 winner, AJ Auxerre also clinched the last ticket to the top tier after thumping St.Etienne in the promotion/relegation playoff. They could only muster a 1-1 draw in both home and away fixtures. Consequently, the winner had to be decided on penalties. Jean-Marc Furlan’s men at last ended their 10-year waiting to climb up to the top flight. On the other hand, Denis Bouanga and Co had to follow Bordeaux and Metz to be relegated this season.
Auxerre follows the footsteps of Toulouse and AJ Ajaccio which had already sealed their promotion automatically. They respectively finished first and second in Ligue 2 final standings.
In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi’s current club, Monza, at last have a chance to taste their first ever promotion to Serie A in the club’s history. They managed to win over Pisa 4-3 dramatically in a tight Serie B playoff on the road. In the reverse fixture, Christian Gytkjaer and Co already beat their opposition 2-1. Monza is the last team to climb up to the first tier after Lecce and Cremonese were set to return earlier automatically.
Apart from Italy, France and England, German Bundesliga have already completed their playoff two weeks ago. Schalke and Werder Bremen, which went down to Bundesliga 2 in 2021, instantly returned. Unfortunately, another former giant, Hamburg SV, lost another chance despite winning the away match against Hertha Berlin in the promotion/relegation playoff. The capital side made a stunning come back with 2-0 win in style.
Last but not least, Spain Segunda Division has just completed their season but the promotion playoff has yet begun. Almeria and Real Valladolid are back while the last promotion berth will be decided on June 11 and 19. Girona, Eibar, Tenerife and Las Palmas are bound to fight over the last spot to La Liga next season.