D3 looks to be getting harder and harder to get out of.
The average points tally needed to win the D3 title is 71, but that wasn’t enough in three of the last four seasons.
And 66 points is the average needed to ‘guarantee’ automatic promotion in third place, but that hasn’t been enough in three of the last fours seasons, either.
Which is what Montpellier discovered last season.
Of the relegated teams, Borussia Monchengladbach must be firm favourites to make an immediate return to D2.
Newcastle have finished lower than 4th in D3 only once in Top history.
D2 bottom club in S10, Villarreal, may find themselves fighting to avoid another drop.
Of last season’s playoff losers, Lazio will be expecting to mount a serious challenge for the promotion places this time around.
Similarly, Sevilla look to be strong contenders this season, too.
Of the rest, Levante have improved every season under manager Dario Saviano, and should be expected to push for a playoff place this season.
Of the promoted teams, D4 champions Koln could well continue their impressive record of improvement every season under boss Neil Frankland.
Stoke City – managed by one of the most decorated managers in Top 100 history – are another improving side, and last season’s D4 runners up could surprise many a team in D3 this season.