Most soccer fans focus on the English Premier League simply because it is easily accessible. But if you know how to take advantage of the internet and technology, you can watch one of the world’s best soccer leagues-Bundesliga. The German football league has some of the best teams, talent and fans around the world. Although you might have seen Bayern Munich and some other teams in the Champions League, there are still some interesting facts about one of the world’s most exciting leagues you need to know.
History of Bundesliga
Historically, German professional soccer was divided into multiple regional leagues before the Bundesliga was officially formed in 1963. There was a debate about dissolving these leagues to form a single top division for years. And until after the 1962 World Cup, Germany’s national soccer federation decided to implement a single, national league. The Bundesliga has existed ever since.
The Bundesliga is one of the world’s most exciting leagues
As you might be familiar with the name Bayern Munich, it is also the most successful club since the introduction of the Bundesliga. Having won 28 Bundesliga titles and owned five Champions League/European Cup titles, the Bavarian giants are the gold standard of German club soccer. This club also has some of the best football players in German history, including Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, Lothar Matthaus, Gerd Muller, and Oliver Kahn. There is no surprise that Bayern Munich is the best club in Germany, it is also one of the best clubs in the world.
The next successful and famous club in Germany is Borussia Dortmund, with five Bundesliga titles. In the 1990s, Dortmund was a power and saw a resurgence under manager Jurgen Klopp in 2010. In particular, they won the Bundesliga in 2011 and 2012, also made the Champions League final in 2013. Borussia Dortmund comes from North Rhine-Westphalia-Germany’s most fertile football state. The region has five clubs currently in the Bundesliga. The others are Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, FC Koln and Schalke 04.
The Bundesliga also has other successful and popular clubs, including Werder Bremen, Hamburger SV, Eintracht Frankfurt, and VfB Stuttgart. If you notice, they are mostly from the western half of Germany. That can be explained by the effects of the Cold War in Germany. In fact, there is no club from the former East Germany competing in the current iteration of the Bundesliga.
The league’s structure
If other Europe’s top leagues has 20 clubs, the Bundesliga is a little bit different, they only have 18 clubs competing. That is also the UEFA country coefficient, which gives the Bundesliga four spots to compete in the Champions League every year.
There are 18 clubs competing in the Bundesliga
Similar to other best leagues in the world, the Bundesliga uses a system of promotion and relegation. However, compared to England, the system is still a bit different. In England, the three teams at the bottom in the Premier League will automatically be relegated, and the top two teams in the Championship will be promoted. In addition to that, the third-through-sixth-place teams will be competing in a playoff for the final spot. In Germany, the two bottom teams in the Bundesliga will be relegated, and the top two teams in the Bundesliga 2 which is the German second division will be promoted. Moreover, the 16th Bundesliga team and third Bundesliga 2 team will be competing in a two-leg playoff. The winner will get the final spot in the top German division which creates a pair of high-stakes and dramatic matches at the end of the season.
In addition, compared to many other leagues, the Bundesliga has more financial oversight. Since 2009, the Bundesliga has had a set of regulations which stipulates clubs can’t spend more than they bring in and go into debt. If a club doesn’t follow, they will be subject to fines and a reduction of points. Also, to continue to compete, clubs must apply for a license with the DFB after each season. With that being said, the DFB will go through financial documents of the clubs to assess their financial health. The main reason is because the ownership model implemented by the DFB.
Fans of the Bundesliga
In England, clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea were bought by billionaires and used as their personal play things. In Germany, the Bundesliga has its own rule. In particular, a majority of the ownership shares of any German club must be owned by club members. This rule has helped protect them from foreign investments like in the Premier League. In turn, the fans take much pride in their clubs, as their clubs are fan-owned. So there is no surprise that the Bundesliga has some of the biggest and most passionate crowds in Europe.
The Signal Iduna Park stadium has the biggest capacity
However, there are still exceptions. Clubs like Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg were both formed as factory teams, now are owned by pharmaceutical company Bayer and Volkswagen. If you have ever attended any Bundesliga match, you will see huge crowds. Most of the stadiums can hold from 30,000 to 60,000 spectators, while five clubs can hold more than 60,000. There are only two stadiums in the Bundesliga have capacity under 20,000.
The two biggest stadiums are the Allianz Arena, which belongs to Bayern Munich and can hold 75,000. The other one is the Signal Iduna Park, also known as the Westfalenstadion, which is owned by Borussia Dortmund and can hold more than 81,000. The Westfalenstadion is well known to be home to some of the most passionate fans in the world. This stadium also makes it an extremely difficult place for the club’s opponents. Additionally, the southern terrace is the largest free-standing grandstand in Europe.
The Bundesliga has some of the best players in the world in recent years. The system has produced great talent players such as Marco Reus, Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and many others. They don’t just make the clubs better, they also helped Germany win in the 2014 World Cup.