Why do Football teams don't scout in Regionalliga?

Getting promoted into professional football isn't easy in Germany. Even if you ended up on the first spot of your regional fourth league ("Regionalliga"), you need to win a two-legged play-off against one of your peers in the other regions. Because six regional leagues are competing for only three spots, a lot of talent is stuck in the Regionalliga that would be actually quite competitive in the third league.

Team League Goalimpact Average PeakGI
VfL Wolfsburg II Regionalliga Nord 112.39 125.44
SG Sonnenhof Großaspach Regionalliga Südwest 107.84 114.79
TSG Neustrelitz Regionalliga Nordost 103.93 108.97
Fortuna Köln Regionalliga West 102.52 110.00
1. FSV Mainz 05 II Regionalliga Südwest 102.11 116.57
Bayern München II Regionalliga Bayern 99.33 124.73

This years contenders are listed in the table. You can see that the second teams of the Bundesliga clubs have usually the more talented players as indicated by the higher PeakGI. The PeakGI of a player is the current expectation of the players Goalimpact at the age of 26.

We expect Wolfsburg to win the promotion spot against Großaspach. They drew the first leg in Großaspach, so Wolfsburg is on a good track, but should be careful not to concede a goal in the second match. Neustrelitz against Mainz is a close call according to Goalimpact. However, as Mainz won on foreign ground 2:0, the odds favor now Mainz. Köln is favorite against Bayern, especially as Bayerns rating is further reduced because Green and Hojbjerg are with their respective national teams and can't play.

Relegated Team League Goalimpact Average PeakGI
SV 07 Elversberg 3. Liga 95.23 104.34
1. FC Saarbrücken 3. Liga 93.33 104.86
Wacker Burghausen 3. Liga 91.28 103.45

Whoever gets promoted, is likely to increase the competition in 3. Liga.  The relegated teams have, on average, lower Goalimpacts and especially much less talent. When we speak to football clubs on scouting targets, they usually are suspicious on the high ratings of players in the Regionalliga. Players there are traded with a clear discount.

To check if we overrate Regionalliga players, let's look into history. From last years promoted teams, only Elversberg got relegated again. The other two had even a positive goal differential in 3. Liga. Holstein Kiel +4, albeit on rank 16 due to an unlucky distribution of the goals, and Leibzig even had +31 and went straight through to get promoted to 2. Liga. If we take this analysis a bit more systematically, we find this for the goal differentials of the promoted teams.

Promoted in Season Team
2009/2010
2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014
2008/2009 Holstein Kiel -18
(Relegated)
+4
(Rank 16)
2008/2009 1. FC Heidenheim +10
(Rank 6)
+1
(Rank 9)
+12
(Rank 4)
+22
(Rank 5)
+34
(Promoted)
2008/2009 Borussia Dortmund II -15 (Relegated) -19
(Rank 16)
-8
(Rank 4)
2009/2010 SV Babelsberg 03 -8
(Rank 13)
-15
(Rank 17)
-22
(Relegated)
2009/2010 VfR Aalen -12
(Rank 16)
+8
(Promoted)
2009/2010 1. FC Saarbrücken +10
(Rank 6)
+10
(Rank 10)
-10
(Rank 11)
-25
(Relegated)
2010/2011 Chemnitzer FC +4
(Rank 9)
+9
(Rank 6)
-3
(Rank 12)
2010/2011 SV Darmstadt 98 +4
(Rank 14)
-14
(Rank 18)
+29
(Promoted)
2010/2011 Preußen Münster -4
(Rank 12)
+30
(Rank 4)
+5
(Rank 6)
2011/2012 Hallescher FC -13
(Rank 10)
-5
(Rank 9)
2011/2012 Stuttgarter Kickers -9
(Rank 17)
-1
(Rank 8)
2012/2013 RB Leipzig +31
(Promoted)
2012/2013 SV Elversberg -22
(Relegated)

Since the 3. Liga exists, thus since 2008/2009, only three teams got relegated again right after being promoted to the league. In fact, from the 15 promoted teams only 5 got relegated at all, while 4 even got promoted to the second league.

Hence, in the results of the past years, we find no evidence whatsover that amateur teams promoted to the 3. Liga from Regionalliga are in any way inferior to the professional football clubs in that league. On the contrary, if we omit the first year, more former Regionalliga teams got promoted to the 2. Liga than got relegated again.

So maybe football clubs should pay more attention to Regionalliga clubs while scouting then they used to do.