VW’s Soccer Team Faces Relegation

VfL Wolfsburg, Volkswagen’s soccer club, faces relegation from the Bundesliga just a year after finishing in first in the league.

With a two-game playoff against Braunschweig, a soccer club from a neighboring city (sponsored by SEAT, incidentally), the expensive team will be booted from Germany’s top soccer league if they don’t win.

With cost-cutting the name of the game at VW, a relegation could spell trouble for the soccer team, which costs VW roughly €90 million a season, according to a source who spoke to Reuters.

The team was long the beneficiary of investment from the company that built the city it calls home, spending millions to acquire world class players. Now, though, VW’s CEO, Matthias Müller, says the team will focus more on homegrown talent and less on expensive players from abroad.

The dieselgate scandal has already impacted the team, which saw plans for a youth training center halted in the immediate aftermath of the scandal.

The game, meanwhile, will be a difficult one for the VW faithful to stomach whatever the case. Braunschweig is only 25 km (15 miles) away from Wolfsburg and is the home of VW’s finance department. Many VW employees are from the town and to see it miss out on being promoted to the Bundesliga would be sad, indeed.

“It’s a double whammy for us,” a source from VW told Reuters. “That fixture is the worst possible outcome for the region.”

[source: Reuters]