German football | The Bundesliga

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The Bundesliga is the highest competition in German professional men’s football and is known within the football world as one of the strongest and most exciting competitions in the world.

How did the Bundesliga come about?

The Bundesliga as it is played today has only been around since the 1963-1964 season, but it does have a long history.

The first official football associations were established worldwide in 1890. The first real German championship was organized under the name Bezirksliga in 1902-1903, based on a regional division. Several clubs from five German regions competed for the title of national champion. The first in each series from the regions of Northern Germany, West Germany, Central Germany, Southeast Germany and Berlin-Brandenburg played the final round.


In 1920 the highest football class changed its name and was henceforth called Kreisliga. The regional division was maintained until a number of Hamburg clubs started their own league in protest at the complicated division. This protest resulted in a simplification of the Kreisliga.


In the 1930s, the regime of the political party NSDAP banned all workers’ clubs from participating in the official national competition. This meant the end for some teams anyway. The popular Kreisliga was completely wiped out and replaced by the Gauliga as the new league. The Gauliga had sixteen regional series, with the first from each series qualified directly for the final round. From the end of the thirties and also during the Second World War, there was even more regional play because of the difficult distances.


After the turbulent war years, the then great German Empire became a lot smaller. Large parts of then Germany went to Russia, Austria regained its independence and Alsace-Lotheringen became a department under French rule again. What remained of Germany was split into the GDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) and the BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland). The Oberliga was founded as the newest highest football class. Five regional series: Nord, Süd, West, Südwest and Berlin competed for the national title.


It was not until 1962 that the German Football Association decided to abandon the regional division from the next playing season and to organize a fully national competition. During this brand new Bundesliga 16 teams played, all from the former West Germany. Only after the fall of the Berlin Wall, teams from East Germany were also accepted for the Bundesliga, which has been played with 18 football teams since the 1992-1993 season.

The best teams in this league

Without a doubt, Bayern Munich can claim the title of best team in the Bundesliga. “Die Bayern”, as this successful team is often called, has won the national title no fewer than thirty times. For the last eight years (from 2013 to 2020), the win has been theirs without interruption.

Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund share second place with five wins each. Shortly after, Werder Bremen with four national titles. The difference with Bayern Munich is therefore huge.

When we look at the final standings of the last five editions of the Bundesliga, we see the following teams appear in the top three of best performing teams:

Bundesliga - FC Bayern Munich

Bayern München

Bayern have been playing at top level for the last ten years and are leaving their opponents far behind. They also play well in Europe. Bayern Munich have won all UEFA main competitions: the European Cup I, the UEFA Champions League, the European Cup II and the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League. Only three other teams succeeded in this: Mancheser United, Chelsea, Ajax and Juventus Turin.

Bundesliga - Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dorrmund took second place three times (2016, 2019 and 2020), third place once (2017) and fourth place once (2018). Dortmund took part in the Champions League a total of 16 times, winning the competition in 1997. In addition, they also played 3x the European Cup I, 10x the UEFA CUP, 3x the Europa League and 3x the European Cup II, which they also won in 1966.

RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig

Since 2017, Leipzig has been playing at European top level. That year they took second place in the national competition. For the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons, Leipzig finished in a creditable third place. The club also participated twice in the Europa League and three times in the Champions League.

What is the competition like?

The Bundesliga competition consists of 34 rounds in which eighteen teams compete against each other. There are seven tickets to the European competition to win:

  • The winner will receive a direct ticket to the UEFA Champions League
  • The second, third and fourth teams can advance to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League
  • The teams that finish fifth and sixth will receive a direct ticket to the Europa League
  • The club that can complete the Bundesliga in seventh place will receive a ticket to participate in the preliminary rounds of the Europa League

As with the other national competitions, the last two teams that have finished are relegated to the second division, the 2.Bundesliga. The first two teams of this second division take their places. In addition, the number 16 of the first division and the number 3 of the second division will play another match for 16th place in the Bundesliga. The team that loses this match will be relegated inexorably to Bundesliga 2. The winner will play in the highest division.

Extra informatie

– All-time top scorer is Gerd Müller who scored a total of 365 goals between 1965 and 1979. He also holds the record for most goals in one season. He scored no fewer than 40 times during the 1971-1972 playing season!

– The fastest goal in the Bundesliga goes to Karim Bellaribi who scored after 9 seconds for Bayer 04 Leverkusen on 23 August 2014. Bellaribi has to share this first place with Kevin Volland, who also scored a goal after 9 seconds for Hoffenheim in the game against FC Bayern Munich on August 22, 2015.

– The current top five top scorers: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Münhen, 36 goals), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund, 25 goals), André Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt, 25 goals), Wout Weghorst (VfL Wolfsburg, 20 goals) and Andrej Kramarić (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 17 goals).


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