What to Know About the Newly Promoted Sides in England, Spain, Italy and Germany
You already know all about the best sides in Europe's top leagues. But what about the new guys on the block?
Today at Set Piece, we're looking at the promoted teams in England, Spain, Italy and Germany. In some cases, all three teams have been decided already. In others, we're still waiting for a few results.
Read on for all the details of this year's group of promoted teams.
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The title win (by a final one-point margin) completed a remarkable turnaround for Reading. After selling top scorer Shane Long (21 league goals in 2010-11) to West Brom, the Royals started poorly and dropped to 23rd in the 24-team table following a four-match losing run in August and September.
The Royals, however, finished the campaign with 17 victories in their final 23 matches. Adam le Fondre led the team with just 12 goals, but seven players scored at least five times in the league.
For his work, Brian McDermott was named LMA Manager of the Year in his second season with the club.
This was Reading's second title in the English second tier, having also won the Championship in 2006. The Royals now head back to the Premiership, where they most recently had a two-season stay in 2006-08.
In January, Thames Sports Investment Ltd announced its purchase of a "significant holding" in the club. Sir John Madejski, for whom Reading's stadium is named, will remain the club's chairman.
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Southampton achieved promotion to the English League Championship in 2011 under new manager Nigel Adkins, then promptly earned promotion to the Premier League in 2012.
Adkins and the Saints secured their latest promotion on the season's final day after beating Coventry City 4-0 at home. Southampton now return to the Premier League for the first time since 2005, when they were relegated after 27 seasons in the English top flight.
Up-and-coming midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was sold to Arsenal in a big-money deal in August, but Southampton began the season with four straight wins without him.
After a run of three defeats in four games in December and January, the Saints went on a 12-match unbeaten run that included seven wins out of eight in February and March.
Southampton finished one point behind league winners Reading and two points ahead of third-placed West Ham. Rickie Lambert (pictured) led the team with 27 league goals and 13 assists.
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Just one season after being relegated from the Premier League, West Ham United secured instant promotion in manager Sam Allardyce's (pictured, center) first year by defeating Blackpool in the Championship playoff final.
Carlton Cole gave the Hammers a 35th-minute lead against Blackpool at Wembley before Tom Ince equalized three minutes after the break. Ricardo Vaz Te then scored the all-important winner three minutes from time.
West Ham finished just two points behind Southampton, who achieved automatic qualification, in the final table. The Hammers then beat Cardiff City 5-0 on aggregate in the two-legged playoff semifinal.
Cole was West Ham's top scorer with 14 league goals, while Kevin Nolan added 12.
In addition to the headlines made on the field, West Ham raised eyebrows with a bid for London's Olympic Stadium.
Deportivo La Coruña
Deportivo, the 1999-2000 Primera División champions, were relegated to the second division following the 2010-11 season.
But Depor bounced right back, achieving promotion as league champions.
With one match still remaining, Tunisian international Lassad is the club's leading scorer with 14 league strikes.
Manager Jose Luis Oltra's side finish the season at Villarreal B on Sunday.
The Rest of the Spanish Pack
Photo: L. Vázquez/Marca
Heading into the final day of the Spanish Segunda División season, Celta Vigo are second, two points ahead of Valladolid.
With a draw or a win Sunday at home to Cordoba, Celta Vigo would clinch second place and automatic promotion to the top flight.
Valladolid are currently third and in line for the four-team playoffs with Cordoba, Hercules and AD Alcorcon in the final three spots. Almeria remain alive in seventh, two points behind Hercules and Alcorcon and three behind Cordoba.
So all we know right now in the Segunda División is that Deportivo (pictured) have been promoted. Everything else is still up for grabs with one match left.
The final day of the season is Sunday, with the playoff semifinals set for June 6 and 10 and the two-legged final set for June 13 and 17.
It will be a while before we know Spain’s final promoted team.
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Pescara achieved promotion to Serie A—and promptly enjoyed this wacky celebration—after claiming the Serie B title over Torino on goal differential.
Torino drew on the final day of the season, and Pescara took advantage with a dramatic 1-0 win over Nocerina. Riccardo Maniero's late winner sent Pescara back to Serie A for the first time since 1992-93, when they finished last.
Marco Verratti, a 19-year-old playmaker and product of Pescara's youth academy, started attracting interest from bigger clubs during the season.
Verratti has reportedly said he would like to remain with Pescara for another year, but AC Milan and Juventus are thought to be chasing his signature this summer.
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Torino led Serie B heading into the final day of the season, but lost out on the title after a draw with previously relegated Albinoleffe.
No matter. Torino earned promotion anyway by finishing second, three points ahead of Sassuolo.
They now head back to Serie A—where they will resume their crosstown rivalry with Juventus—after being relegated in 2009.
Torino have been crowned Italian champions seven times, with the most recent triumph coming in 1975-76.
Serie B Playoffs
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Four teams are fighting for Serie B's final promotion spot in the playoffs.
Sampdoria (sixth place) defeated Sassuolo (third; pictured) in the first leg of their playoff semifinal on Wednesday. The same day, Varese (fifth) beat Hellas Verona (fourth), 2-0.
The second legs will be held Saturday.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth
SpVgg Greuther Fürth (the acronym stands for Spielvereinigung, loosely translated as "playing association") won the Bundesliga 2 by two points over Eintracht Frankfurt, securing promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in club history.
Greuther Fürth clinched the top spot with a 2-2 draw at Hansa Rostock on the final day of the season.
Besides winning their league, manager Mike Büskens' team also made a memorable run in the German Cup this season, falling to eventual winners Borussia Dortmund in the semifinals.
Dortmund needed a goal at the end of extra time to eliminate their less illustrious opponents.
Eintracht Frankfurt spent only one season in the second flight, securing automatic promotion back to the Bundesliga after being relegated in 2010-11.
Coach Armin Veh's team started the season with six straight victories and clinched promotion after a topsy-turvy race with their 3-0 win over Alemania Aachen on the final day of the season.
Fortuna Dusseldorf finished third in the Bundesliga 2 and thus earned the right to face the top flight's 16th-placed team, Hertha Berlin, for a spot in the Bundesliga.
After winning the first leg of the playoff 2-1 away, Fortuna Dusseldorf secured promotion with a 2-2 draw at home in the second leg—a match that will be best remembered for the wrong reasons.
The match featured two stoppages, the second being a pitch invasion before the final whistle. Hertha Berlin appealed the match, claiming the result had been affected by the pitch invasion
After 10 hours of deliberation, a DFB tribunal rejected the appeal.
Following the match, Hertha midfielder Levan Kobiashvili was involved in a physical altercation with referee Wolfgang Stark. Kobiashvili received a one-year ban for his actions.
Fortuna's promotion ended the club's 15-year exile from the German top flight.