With the introduction of German football club quizzes and our Bundesliga quiz our guest editor Nash gives us his run down on German football.
The emergence and dominance of German football is evident with the fact that three of the last four years German clubs have contested the Champions League final.
The German football league or “Bundesliga” as it is known has been in existence since 1963 and comprises of 18 teams its top division. A total of 52 clubs have competed in the Bundesliga since its founding but there is no doubt that only one team stands out of the 52 and that is Bayern Munich, Germany’s top club winning the Bundesliga twenty three times. Starting to emerge and challenge Bayern Munich ascendency are Borussia Dortmund – although they have a long way to go match Munich’s titles haul.
The Bundesliga is composed of 2 Divisions and like most other continental leagues it’s season runs from August to May with a winter break for six weeks (mid-December through to the end of January), most of the games are played on Saturdays and Sundays and then a few games played midweek.
The Bundesliga holds the record for the highest league average attendance in Europe. German fans are also one of the most passionate in Europe and this clearly showed when I visited the “Commerzbank Arena” home of Eintracht Frankfurt. The crowds were unbelievably passionate and moisy. The most interesting about Bundesliga games is that once a goal is scored the announcer announces the first name of the goal scorer and the crowd scream his surname, so you can imagine 40,000 plus fans screaming the goal scorers second name.
Every team in the two Bundesliga must have a licence to play in the league, or else they are relegated into the regional leagues. To obtain a licence, teams must be financially healthy and meet certain standards of conduct as organisations.
As in other national leagues, there are significant benefits to being in the top division:
- A greater share of television broadcast licence revenues goes to 1. Bundesliga sides
- Bundesliga teams draw significantly greater levels of fan support. Average attendance in the first league is 42,673 per game — more than twice the average of the 2. Bundesliga.
- Greater exposure through television and higher attendance levels helps 1. Bundesliga teams attract the most lucrative sponsorships.
- Bundesliga teams develop substantial financial muscle through the combination of television and gate revenues, sponsorships and marketing of their team brands. This allows them to attract and retain skilled players from domestic and international sources and to construct first-class stadium facilities.
As mentioned above the most popular Bundesliga team is Bayern Munich followed by Borussia Dortmund, these two teams would be the best known internationally followed by the likes of Schalke 04, Bayern Leverkusen, Hamburg and Stuttgart.
In the 2008–09 season, the Bundesliga reinstated an earlier German system of promotion and relegation, which had already been in use from 1981 until 1991
- The bottom two finishers in the Bundesliga are automatically relegated to the 2. Bundesliga, with the top two finishers in the 2. Bundesliga taking their place
- The third-from-bottom club in the Bundesliga will play a two-legged match with the third-place team from the 2. Bundesliga, with the winner taking up the final place in the following season’s Bundesliga
From 1992 until 2008, a different system had been used in which the bottom three finishers of the Bundesliga had been automatically relegated, to be replaced by the top three finishers in the 2. Bundesliga. From 1963 until 1981 two respectively three teams had been relegated from the Bundesliga automatically, while promotion had been decided either completely or partially in promotion playoffs.
The Bundesliga is certainly up there with the likes of “La Liga” and “The Premiership” in terms of having strong teams when playing in the Champions League as Real Madrid and especially Barcelona – who found out last year what it was like to receive a thumping by the hands of Bayern Munich who over the two legs triumphed 7-0 and this led journalists to believe that the Bundesliga is currently the number one league in the world.