The Daves I Know Guide to Bundesliga

koln goat

Well, well, well, here we are, so desperate for soccer content that we dove headfirst into Belarusian football and became FC Slutsk fans. Don’t have to worry about cheering for a league in a country that, let’s be frank, perhaps 10% of the new people watching had ever heard of before.

No sir, we are back to one of the Big Five leagues in Europe, the Bundesliga!

“But, I’ve only ever watched German football when they are playing my team in Champion’s League, how will I pick the correct team” you say. Fear not friends, we here at The DavesIKnow.com are ardent German soccer knowers having scoured Wikipedia for all of 15 minutes and watched the occasional Dortmund and FC St. Pauli match when they happen to kick off right before an EPL match. We will give you a short breakdown of every team so that you can pick with confidence* the German fußball team that you will follow religiously, or at least until the EPL comes back sometime in June. So sit back, pour yourself a Jägermeister pint and a shot of Pilsner and let us give you some reasons to pick at least 12 of the 18 teams in the Bundesliga.

*zero confidence guaranteed.

Where we at: The Bundesliga was one of the last European leagues to suspend play and almost every team had played 25 matches. So we are entering Matchweek 26. Here is the table as it currently stands.

What are the storylines: I mean who the fuck do you think we are? Go read ESPN. The Bundesliga is high-flying, fun, aggressive soccer so just enjoy it you asshole, what else do you need.

General Bundesliga Facts

  • The league is 18 teams
  • Top 4 teams qualify for Champions League
  • 5th and 6th place qualify for Europa League and Europa Qualification respectively
  • The bottom two teams are automatically relegated to Bundesliga 2
  • The 16th place team plays a two-legged playoff with the 3rd place team in Bundesliga 2 to see who will play in which league
  • German soccer teams have a 50+1 rule, whereby all clubs are owned by their communities (so a general lack of Saudi Oil money in the league), this is not 100% true, as we will discuss shortly.

Where can I watch this: Well, currently Fox Sports owns the rights to Bundesliga 1 and 2. So you can mostly watch matches on FS1 & FS2. For some godforsaken* reason, they are not putting matches on Big Boy FOX. You can also pay like a million dollars a month for Fox Soccer Matchpass which is like NBC Gold but for German soccer and some random Aussie rules football.

* The reason is that this is the last year of Fox’s deal with Bundesliga. Next year the rights for both leagues move to ESPN where you’ll be able to watch basically all of the matches for $5/month.

So now that you know that, now you need a team to support, well we’ll give you a few reasons to support or not support each of the Bundesliga teams.

FC Augsburg (Currently 14th) – This team name may look familiar to MNUFC and Forward  Madison fans as they were the German side pegged to play friendlies in Saint Paul and Madison about a week from right now! They were in the 4th division less than 20 years ago. They qualified for Europa League five years ago, but have been a lower-mid table team ever since. I mean, you could cheer for Augsburg, but, I mean that’s basically like cheering for Southampton or FC Dallas, they’re always kinda around, but no one actually fears them. Their nickname is Fuggerstädter, so, there’s that.

Bayer Leverkusen (Currently 5th) – Have you ever taken an Advil? Are you a big fan of pharmaceutical companies? Then do we have a club for you! This team was formed by the workers of the Bayer company and known to many German soccer fans as a plastic club, due to their close relationship with Bayer and their family-friendly atmosphere. You could do worse as this is a team with a bit of history, including a UEFA Cup Championship and a Champions League Runner-up in the 21st century. They’ve also never won the Bundesliga. I hate to say this is basically the Spurs of the Bundesliga, but this is basically the Spurs of the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich (Currently 1st) – This team sucks ass and unless you’ve been a fan for a long time, or are a fan of both Jürgen Klinsmann & Landon Donovan failing (basically at the same time) just don’t pick Bayern.

Borussia Dortmund (Currently 2nd) – Probably the most successful club outside of Bayern in the last decade. This is the club where Jürgen Klopp really honed his coaching chops. They are the last team to hoist the Bundesliga title, way back in 2012, and have some European success. They also have two of the brightest young stars in the world in Englishman Jadon Sancho and Norwegian Erling Haaland. This is also the club that developed Christian Pulisic and is the current home of Gio Reyna. Honestly, there aren’t many reasons not to cheer for Dortmund. They are one of the hipster teams of Europe. They also wear yellow and black and no one looks good in yellow and black. They share a little bit of DNA with Liverpool in not only sharing a coach but also singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” pre- and post-match, so mileage there may vary. You could do worse in picking a team, but no one likes bandwagon-hoppers.

Dortmund Yellow Wall

Borussia Mönchengladbach (Currently 4th) – Now, on the other hand, if you want to jump on the bandwagon of the next Dortmund you could do worse than Die Borussen. They are a young team that led the league for a fair bit earlier this year. They are a team on the come-up, but also are consistently playing (at least recently) in Europe. They’ve also had lots of Americans over the years including Kasey Keller, Fabian Johnson, and Michael Bradley. Also, your favorite Bundesliga player on Bayern probably played for Mönchengladbach or Dortmund.

Eintracht Frankfurt (Currently 12th) – The have the most number of losses in Bundesliga history and also have taken at least a point in 3/4 of their Bundesliga games. They play in a stadium nicknamed the Waldstadion (Forest Stadium) which is cool, but it’s also where the USWNT loss to Japan in pens in the 2011 World Cup Final, so boo! Their nickname is the Eagles is which is cool, but the band The Eagles sucks, so boo.

Fortuna Düsseldorf (Currently 16th) – If you like teams with lots of history, Düsseldorf is a good one. They are only recently back in the Bundesliga (second year), but they were a founding member of the Bundesliga back in 1963. They currently employ Americans Alfredo Morales and Zach Steffen (on loan from Man City), however, Steffen has been a bit of a sieve this year.

SC Freiburg (Currently 8th) Joachim Löw is the team’s all-time goal-scoring leader. He is also fairly well known for this:

So if you like dudes who scratch their balls and ass and then give that musk a good whiff, well Freiburg it is! I mean, that’s basically it.

Hertha BSC (Currently 13th & Clownshoes) – This club may also sound familiar to MNUFC fans as they were the German team MNUFC had a friendly with last year, which was ten years ago. I will say the fans of theirs who traveled to the US to follow the team were fucking awesome and drank, like, a lot, like I know Germans like to drink and are good at it, but seriously, these men and women basically drank all the beer at the Black Hart before the match. As far as the team is concerned they are a bit of a clown shoe squad this year. They are actually a team one of the Daves has seen a few of their matches and if you like crushing despair, followed by cardiac arrest, followed again by ending with a 3-3 draw, I guess support, Hertha. If you were a fan of Jürgen Klinsmann failing this also might be a team for you as the man ran the club for like 60 days, spent like 60 million Euros, and unceremoniously quit. So it’s kind of a shitshow. They also feature in one of my favorite spy thrillers, Potsdam Station by David Downing.

TSG Hoffenheim (Currently 9th) – Remember when we mentioned that 50+ 1 rule, well just a couple of weeks before the cessation of all sports throughout the world, Bayern & Hoffenheim played a match with tons of protests and in one of the weirdest experiences you will ever see, Bayern and Hoffenheim basically played keepy-uppy for almost 15 minutes as a protest to the fan protest. The owner was given a waiver to supersede that rule and has poured a bunch of money into the team to make them competitive. Hoffenheim banned supporters of lots of clubs including Mönchengladbach and are Dortmund supporters are in the middle of a 3-year ban for basically calling that guy a shithead. After that protest, the Ref took the players off the pitch, the first time in Bundesliga history, which is something they haven’t even done when players are racially abused, which is basically a gigantic fuck you to those players.

1. FC Köln (Currently 10th) – There mascot is a FUCKING GOAT! Seriously, what else do you need to know? Though the goat is currently banned from being on the pitch due to the ‘Rona. #FreeHennesXI

16811510-0-image-a-36_1564749219636

RB Leipzig (Currently 3rd) – Remember Hoffenheim, well these guys are Hoffenheim on steroids. RasenBallsport Leipzig. They are owned by Red Bull as part of their conglomerate of clubs including the NY Red Bulls. A true rags to riches (barf) story… They have been in existence for 11 years. Don’t follow this team, unless your team is rumored to snatch their best player in the summer than, maybe watch Timo Werner highlights.

Mainz 05 (Currently 15th) – Ehh, I got nothing.

SC Paderborn (Currently 18th) – A relatively new club, two years ago they were in the 3rd division winning promotion and then winning promotion again. This is only their second Bundesliga season and they are most certainly going back down to 2 Bundesliga. Fun fact, after purchasing a shirt for 90 euros, Matt Vickery became chairman of the club. If only we could get MNUFC to adopt this model.

Schalke 04 (Currently 6th) – The main rival of Borussia Dortmund and current home of future USMNT captain Weston McKennie. Former USMNT player David Wagner is the manager of the team. Schalke are a team that plays several different styles and have had regular success recently in the Bundesliga and in Europe. Think Chelsea without actually winning anything (or Sporting Kansas City if you’d like).

Union Berlin (Currently 11th) – The only East German club in the Bundesliga (we don’t count Leipzig!) this is the team to support if you are a progressive and just like to watch soccer. While they don’t play the most attractive soccer (they’ve scored more goals than only the relegation-threatened teams, they are nonetheless closer to European spots than they are to relegation spots. Considering their small budget and this being their first-ever Bundesliga campaign that’s pretty damn cool. Plus a Berlin derby is pretty awesome. Last year we watched Union Berlin win the relegation playoff and their fans storm the pitch. It was fucking awesome You could do worse than Union, but maybe avoid watching them when they are playing away from home.

UNion Berlin
Union Berlin Fans storming the pitch after winning promotion last year

Werder Bremen (Currently 17th) – Yowza! Not too long ago Bremen was consistently playing for European spots. Now they are fighting for their Bundesliga lives. They do have American striker Josh Sargent and were the home of Aron Johannson. They are sponsored by a poultry farm and processing plant, so very much a midwestern identity. Formerly really good, now mired in mediocrity/ danger, so basically DC United.

VfL Wolfsburg (Currently 7th) – Are you a fan of German engineering, Das Auto, and neon green? Then Woflsburg is the team for you or should we say das Team für Sie. They along with Bremen and Dortmund are the only teams to win the Bundesliga title outside of Bayern in the 2000s. Since the late 90’s when they were promoted to the Bundesliga, they have been a club that has had some success but yo-yo around the table, and even during the season. Think of them as an Everton-esque squad, capable of knocking off the big boys, but also just as likely as to have two wins across four months.

And there you have it, every single Bundesliga team and we gave you good reasons to follow two or three. You could also just follow FC St. Pauli and root for the best team in Germany!

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