The Start of the Bundesliga
58 years ago in 1963 saw the start of the German Bundesliga. Founded much later than many national leagues prior to the Bundesliga, West Germany used to organise its football regionally. Teams could qualify through their regional leagues for the finale of the season, a national championships. East Germany organised its teams into an Oberliga from 1950 onwards. On reunification in the early 1990's the two teams from the Oberliga, Dynamo Dresden and Hansa Rostock were entered into the then-established Bundesliga.
It was felt that the lack of serious national football league tournaments was damaging the standard of the German national team. With nationally organised leagues in England from the late 1800's, in Spain from the early 1900's (La Liga) and across Europe it was felt that German football had to act in order to halt a perceived decline and achieve better World Cup results.
In the present day Bundesliga football is a popular product. Bundesliga matches are broadcast live around the world as the league looks to pick-up a new generation of fans and attract them away from La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League.
Early Bundesliga Seasons
FC Koln (or Cologne in English) claimed the very first Bundesliga title in 1964 in what would end up being one of only two Bundesliga titles, their second came in 1978 though they would be runners up on a further five occasions. 16 teams entered that very first Bundesliga season including many unfamiliar names to the modern day football fan. Koln beat MSV Duisburg (now in the 3. Bundesliga) into the runners-up spot. Current giants Bayern Munich were not involved in that first season.
The following year Werder Bremen took the top spot. One of German football's most famous names actually had one of the smallest stadiums. At that time Germany was blessed with some huge grounds. Hertha Berlin who ended up losing their Bundesliga status in that season could fit 100,000 into the Olympiastadion, Hannover 96 could fit 86,000 people in on matchdays and Eintracht Frankfurt 87,000.
In the following seasons the Bundesliga was won by 1860 Munich, Eintracht Braunschweig and FC Nurnberg. But in the sixth Bundesliga season FC Bayern Munich took the title and the German football landscape would change forever.
Top Bundesliga Teams
FC Bayern Munich: Bayern have won 30 Bundesliga titles, 25 more than their closest rivals. They have brought their last nine Bundesliga titles back to the Allianz Arena in the last nine seasons, a streak that is a record for the league. As well as the Bundesliga Munich's focus now is on the Champions League where season upon season they do battle against the best in Europe. At the time of writing Bayern are rated the top team in Europe based on UEFA coefficients ahead of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid. With Bayern leading the Bundesliga clubs the next German club in the list is Borussia Dortmund in 16th.
Borussia Dortmund: The team based at Signal Iduna Park have won five Bundesliga titles all from 1995 to 2012, a golden period in the club's history. If it wasn't for Bayern they would have won many more. Since their last Bundesliga win they have finished runners-up to Bayern on five occasions.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Gladbach have also won the Bundesliga five times, all in the 1970's. Since then they have had periods outside of Germany's top flight but are now once again established as a regular.
Other Bundesliga winners include Werder Bremen (4), Hamburger SV (3), VfB Stuttgart (3), FC Koln (2), FC Kaiserslautern (2), 1860 Munich (1), VfL Wolfsburg (1), Eintracht Braunschweig (1) and FC Nurnberg (1).
The 2020/21 Bundesliga Season
Bayern Munich sealed their 30th Bundesliga season in a strange period that was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and saw stadiums with no or limited spectators allowed in. Bayern ended up as champions by 13 points over runners-up RB Leipzig.
Leipzig turned the Red Bull Arena into a fortress, losing only to Bayern and Dortmund, and only losing seven games all season, including three in their last five games. Running out of steam at the end of this strange season they finished off with a loss against Union Berlin.
The remaining Champions League places were taken by Dortmund and Wolfsburg, securing Champions League football at the Volkswagen Arena after entering the Europa League qualifying rounds the season before.
Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen qualified for the Europa League and Union Berlin the Conference League.
Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 were relegated, making way for VfL Bochum and Spvgg Greuther Furth.
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