Following on from my look at the history of Division One, here’s my take on D2.
Firstly, the relegated clubs.
Napoli are well placed for a swift return to the top division, although five seasons of slow decline may work against them.
Under normal circumstances, you would expect Manchester United to bounce straight back, but a massive rebuilding programme is underway at the former champions, so an immediate return may be asking too much.
Internazionale have spent most of their Top 100 life in the upper reaches of D2, and something similar might be expected again this time around.
Standard Liege have risen through all five divisions, but are another side undergoing a big rebuild, so another promotion push, while it wouldn’t be a great surprise, may be too much to expect this season.
On to last season’s playoff losers.
Internacional will have been disappointed to miss out on an immediate return to D1 last season, and will expect to be there or thereabouts this time, too.
Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to get of the a good start this season. If they do, they could be one of the favourites to gain promotion.
Another team who have made steady progress through the divisions are Espanyol. Arguably the strongest team in the division, they can reasonably expect to build on last season’s 7th place and push for automatic promotion.
Of the rest, Monaco who just missed out on the playoffs last time, will look to improve on that this season.
There are plenty of other clubs who could easily mount a challenge, too, so D2 looks set to be very competitive this season, as ever. History suggests the teams above will be the ones to watch, though.