While the English Premier League and La Liga in Spain may attract bigger stars, connoisseurs of the beautiful game often point to the German Bundesliga as rivaling them when it comes to pure entertainment. The Bundesliga is known as a thriving breeding ground of top soccer talent and actually has the highest average attendances of any soccer league in the world by virtue of the fantastic stadium infrastructure and the vociferous die-hard fans in Germany. When you add some tasty local derbies into the mix, the attraction of German football is there for all to see.
But how did the Bundesliga start, who have been the best players, and which are the most successful clubs? In this article, we take a brief look!
Origins of the Bundesliga
The Bundesliga was established after the 1962 World Cup as an effort by German soccer administrators to unify the range of regional leagues that had existed in Germany up until that point. Part of the rationale behind this initiative was that the German Football Federation wanted to improve on Germany’s disappointing outing in Chile.
First held in 1963-1964 and contested by 16 teams, the inaugural Bundesliga title for the was won by FC Köln. Preußen Münster and 1. FC Saarbrücken were relegated to the regional leagues for finishing fifteenth and sixteenth respectively. Two extra teams were added to the league to make 18 in 1965, which is the number of teams that make up the league to this day.
Most Successful Teams
By far the most successful team in Bundesliga history is FC Bayern Munich. To date, the Bavarian giants have won 29 Bundesliga titles. Its closest challengers are Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach, both with a distant five titles apiece. Having won the first Bundesliga, FC Köln has gone on to win only one more title.
In recent years, the league has been dominated by Bayern Munich, which has won the league the last eight seasons on the trot. If we were soccer tipsters, we may just advise putting a bet on Bayern to make it nine next summer.
The Bundesliga has had some incredible players down the years, including German legends like Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Rudi Völler, Gerd Müller, Oliver Kahn, and Phillipp Lahm. The league has also had its fair share of foreign superstars such as current Bayern Polish center forward Robert Lewandowski, Dutch wing wizard Arjen Robben, controversial French flier Franck Ribery. Taking your pick from among these fantastic players is a subjective decision, but there is one thing that is certain: this list is set to grow as the league goes from strength to strength in the coming years.