Football fans rejoice! Germany’s Bundesliga is set to become the first out of the five major leagues in Europe to resume play, this Saturday nonetheless! So we at The VideoScope decided we could create a fun bandwagon guide for football fans who either don’t have a clue about the Bundesliga, or just want to get invested before any of the other leagues start again. Obviously, most games will be televised around the world but luckily for UK fans there will be a special lifting of the 3 pm blackout ban that’s been in the United Kingdom since the 60s.
So let’s show you the current league table and then get back to business so you can find your team to support for the last 9 games in the Bundesliga.
TABLE | 2019-2020 | MATCHDAY 25
|1||–||FC Bayern München||25||55||17||4||4||73:26||+47|
|5||–||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||25||47||14||5||6||45:30||+15|
|6||–||FC Schalke 04||25||37||9||10||6||33:36||-3|
|9||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim||25||35||10||5||10||35:43||-8|
|10||1. FC Köln||25||32||10||2||13||39:45||-6|
|11||1. FC Union Berlin||25||30||9||3||13||32:41||-9|
|15||–||1. FSV Mainz 05||25||26||8||2||15||34:53||-19|
|17||–||SV Werder Bremen||24||18||4||6||14||27:55||-28|
|18||–||SC Paderborn 07||25||16||4||4||17||30:54||-24|
FC Bayern Munich
Best reason to support: Best team historically, best team in the league and fun football.
Reason to not support: Ultimate champion bandwagon.
Look, unless you live under a rock, you know exactly who FC Bayern Munich are. If you don’t for whatever reason, they’re the current reigning champions of the Bundesliga and have won the league a record 28 times, which is 23 times more than both Dortmund and Mönchengladbach who have won it a measly 5 times each. Though we should mention that the two teams have the second most Bundesliga titles in Germany.
Bayern have a monopoly in Germany due to their dominance as a financial powerhouse and being one of the best run football clubs in Europe. Every German footballer (except loyal players) always have nothing but praise and admiration for the club citing that you know you make it when you’ve played for Bayern Munich.
So where does that leave you if you choose to bandwagon Bayern? Well friends, you are going to have an awesome time. There are so many exceptional players and a mixture of veterans at Bayern Munich that make their brand of football so exciting and fun to watch. Players like Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer make up the old guard and are as reliable as they are entertaining. Lewandowski made a strong candidacy for the 2019 Ballon D’Or and is doing it again this year. He has a remarkable 39 goals in 33 games this season… When the guy can score 5 goals in 9 minutes, that’s probably numbers you can expect. Just look at Pep Guardiola’s reactions:
They also have a bunch of young players that are extremely fun to watch such as their up and coming striker Joshua Zirkzee, West Brom reject winger Serge Gnabry and of course the electrifying left back Alphonso Davies who just signed a new contract until 2025. If you want to see an even more efficient version of Dortmund, then look no further than Bayern Munich (though you’re essentially supporting Manchester United during the Ferguson years).
Best reason to support: Heavy Metal Football, some of the best young talents in the world.
Reason to not support: Hipster bandwagon pick.
Dortmund are a very charming team who have always been a good number two in the Bundesliga after the mighty Bayern Munich. They are pretty much a perfect team to root for, as a burgeoning powerhouse who are still considered underdogs against the evil empire that is Bayern.
After a couple of seasons floundering in nothingness, Dortmund started to take the shape that they are in when Jürgen Klopp made his mark on the footballing world when Dortmund won the title back to back from 2010-2012. They have developed a long list of world class players, like Lewandowski, Mats Hummels and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among others and continue to this day with developing the next big stars.
As a Norwegian football fanatic who likes to watch the stars of tomorrow, there is especially one player in Dortmund who has caught my eye as of late. I’m talking of course about Jadon Sancho.
Yes. Erling Braut Haaland is hot shit at the moment, but even as a fellow Norwegian, I’m even more excited about Sancho. He’s England next big hope, but he’s not the typical British player you’d find among their disappointing golden years in the mid-2000s.
He’s a quick dribbling, accurate passing, goal-threat who makes smart decisions with the ball and suits Dortmunds play style perfectly. Dortmund play very offensively and tend to score even more goals than the many they let in. For a month long affair, I can’t think of a more fun team to watch than Dortmund and all their attacking talents.
Best reason to support: Amazing recruitment strategies, fun football and have some wonderful talent.
Reason to not support: Sold their soul to the devil.
People hate RB Leipzig and it makes total sense. It is weird that a big corporation like Red Bull ended up buying the rights of a football club (SSV Markranstädt) and then making it their own and playing at the home arena called Red Bull Arena. We all hate big corporations and its influence in football, however, there are a lot of things that RB Leipzig have done very well. Their whole recruitment strategy is playing/buying young talents and making them into superstars and it has proven to be quite successful as they have so many players that are garnering interest from various big clubs including their superstar striker Timo Werner could be potentially headed to Liverpool next season.
As a Swede, I am automatically meant to defend my countrymen and I will do so with the slightly controversial Emil Forsberg (who doesn’t have the best relationship with RB Leipzig), but he has been fantastic and a history maker with them having once finished a league campaign with the insane 22 assists in the 16-17 Bundesliga season and also scoring RB Leipzig’s first ever goal in the Champions League against AS Monaco in the following season. When he gets to play, he’s a highly entertaining player and compliments a bunch of RB Leipzig’s heavyweights like Timo Werner, Marcel Sabitzer (who apparently only scores worldies), Yussuf Poulsen and Kevin Kampl.
If you like a newly rich team, fun football and some of the best young guns in the game, then look no further than RB Leipzig.
Best reason to support: Strikers galore, friendship with Liverpool.
Reason to not support: Friendship with Liverpool.
Answer me two questions. Do you like strikers and do you like Liverpool? If the answer is yes on both of those questions, then Borussia Mönchengladbach is the team for you.
Like Liverpool, Mönchengladbach were dominant in the 70’s, which led to the teams facing each other several times in the European cups. As a result, the team’s fans developed a friendship that has lasted to this day. So if you are a Liverpool fan, then this promising German team is the one for you.
Especially if you like strikers. Gladbach have at least 3 of them who would easily walk into a starting role with the striker-less Schalke. Including Breel Embolo, the player Mönchengladbach bought just last summer from, you guessed it, Schalke. The Swiss army-tank Embolo is joined by their record signing and former Mario Balotelli partner Alassane Plea and the son of defensive legend Lilian Thuram, the unstoppable attacker Marcus Thuram.
They each share similar and have unique traits and have scored around 8 goals each this season too. Whoever starts ahead of captain and second striker Lars Stindl, you’ll be able to watch a forward either in his prime or about to enter it.
(Oscar Wendt is a legend. // Kev)
Best reason to support: Perennial almost-team, Kai Havertz.
Reason to not support: They hardly win and will lose Kai Havertz.
Since they got promoted to the Bundesliga in 1980, Bayer Leverkusen has been a mainstay near the top of the German league for a long time. Sadly for Leverkusen however, they have never quite reached the mountain top.
Five 2nd place finishes, 15 top four finishes and not a single trophy to show for it, other than the DFL Pokal they won in 1993 and a UEFA Cup in 1988. A grand total of two players in their squad were born when they lifted the UEFA Cup, including Julian Baumgartlinger who was a 4 month old baby at the time.
Part of the reason for that is Leverkusens young squad, chock-full of very talented players who should be on your radar if they are not there already. Some of the names to take note of are Nadiem Amiri, Moussa Diaby, Paulinho, Exequiel Palacios, Kevin’s favorite player Jonathan Tah and the cream of the crop, Leon Bailey and Kai Havertz.
Especially Havertz is a name the more casual football audience will get to know much more of in the next couple years. Placing 3rd in last year’s Golden Boy award, only behind João Felix and Sancho, Havertz is already being linked to the biggest teams in the world including the most likely destination for him and the other top German prospects, Bayern Munich.
The reason teams are lining up to secure Havertz’ services is that despite being 189cm (6’2”), he is a rapid attacking midfielder with an eye for goal. On top of that he’s one of those lanky motherf’ers who always seem to be on balance and he can also pick out a beautiful through ball.
For the month that you’ll be able to enjoy the Bundesliga as the only major footballing option, the only team you’ll be able to enjoy watching Havertz with is Bayer Leverkusen. Heck, you’ll probably end up outlasting him quickly if you continue to support the team.
Best reason to support: If you hate Dortmund and love tricky Moroccan attacking midfielders.
Reason to not support: Being the symbol of “new Germany” around 1940, shitty strikers.
They may or may not have had the worst fan of all time, but Schalke is a club full of tradition that tend to have seasons of high finishes and European football. They are coming off a really bad season, but started off pretty well this year before the break.
Seeing as the first game back is Dortmund vs Schalke, one of the best rivalries in Europe, you should really pick one of the teams to root for. The Revierderby is sure to be a fun match, like it was back in 2017 when it ended 4-4 between the arch rivals.
Other than not liking Dortmund, a reason to choose Schalke is one of their young talents. While I have a soft spot for Rabbi Matondo myself (a fellow City-reject like Sancho), the most entertaining talent in Schalke is Amine Harit. A small, skillful player from Morocco, who is always unpredictable as an ambidextrous attacking midfielder who can score and assist.
Sadly, the lack of a decent striker means that Harit and Schalke get way less goals than they should be getting. Their top scorer is a defensive midfielder and the striker Guido Burgstaller hasn’t scored a single goal in 18 appearances. So if you like clinical strikers, Schalke is not the team for you, but if you fancy talented midfielders like Harit and a great American talent in Weston McKennie, then Schalke might be for you.
I’d also be remiss to mention their solid defensive players, with an embarrassment of riches in central defence with the huge Salif Sané, another City-reject in Matija Nastasic and the emerging Ozan Kabak and Jean-Clair Todibo. Along with top scorer Suat Serdar and future Bayern goalkeeper Alexander Nübel, they are the biggest reason Schalke have bounced back this season.
Best reason to support: 2008-09 season, wonderful full-backs, Kevin De Bruyne highlights and a fun team to follow.
Reason to not support: Not having the best season.
Wolfsburg might have been created from a big corporation (Volkswagen) but have a much cooler working class background compared to Red Bull Leipzig. The club has a great origin story as it grew out of a multi-sports club for Volkswagen workers in the city of Wolfsburg.
Since then, the club has had a lot of notable players but not reached high levels of success until the 2008-09 season where they did the unthinkable and won the Bundesliga thanks to the amazing efforts by one of the most entertaining striker pairing of Edin Dzeko and Grafite. Trust me, I irritated my Bayern loving friend, Florian, so many times by choosing Wolfsburg in FIFA 09 and destroying him with the striker pair. Seriously, just watch this highlight reel of their partnership:
After their success in the 08-09 season it took them a while until their next success came, but on the 18th of January 2014, Wolfsburg announced they signed Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian playmaker who has now cemented himself as one of the best attacking midfielders in the world (and with his track record will probably be remembered as one of the best to ever play in that position). KDB as he’s affectionately known, really came to his own whilst playing at Wolfsburg including helping the side to a DFB Pokal win (and scoring in the final!) and also finishing the season with 16 goals and 27 assists which saw him become the Footballer of the Year in Germany
While some might say it was thanks to the Arsenal legend Nicklas Bendtner that got the best out of KDB (no one has ever said that), but De Bruyne to this day talks very fondly about his time at the club and has encouraged players to considering coming to Wolfsburg to kick-start their careers.
I might have spent some time talking about various cult heroes at the club but I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about their current left-back Jérôme Roussillon and right-back Kevin Mbabu who have been phenomenal this season, with Roussillon looking to become France’s number 1 choice at left-back. The club also have Maximilian Arnold who is a joy to behold in midfield.
If you are looking for a club that has a working class feel to it, but has the potential to go the distance from time to time, then Wolfsburg is for you!
Best reason to support: Long-standing, passionate manager, club legend in his prime.
Reason to not support: Might have peaked too early this season.
Freiburg is an appealing, little city in the South-West of Germany by the border to France and the team had their best start of any season this campaign. While the team is known for bringing through some African cult heroes in the past, they are now defined by their fiery German coach, their goalscoring German striker and their young German wonderboy.
Christian Streich has been the manager for nine years, making him the longest tenured manager in the Bundesliga currently. Known for his endless passion, the 54 year old managers hair has of course turned grey, but there is nothing grey about his sideline antics. He’s had plenty to smile about this season, including the emergence of Luca Waldschmidt.
The 23 year old, curly-haired forward has managed to break into the German national team and he might very well be a future building block as “Die Mannschaft” are trying to forge a new identity. His left foot is precise and Waldschmidt plays well with others either as a winger, striker or his preferred role of second striker, which has led him to being linked with big teams like Chelsea.
The main striker for Freiburg is the same as the last few years, Nils Petersen. The 31 year old has really found himself since joining the club in 2015, and he got rewarded with his first German national cap at the age of 29. He’s been a guarantee for double digit scoring with the club and started better than ever this year with 8 goals in 18 matches.
Freiburg are a charming team that struggled a bit with Waldschmidt out with a knee injury after their promising start, but with everyone fit and ready to play after a long break, Freiburg might push on to become the best of the rest and grab the important 6th place and reach the Europa League next season.
Best reason to support: If you like to root for bad guys and anti-heroes.
Reason to not support: Hated for breaking with the way Bundesliga teams are usually run.
The ever-controversial Hoffenheim. The prototype for RB Leipzig and the team many blame for the erosion of the traditional Bundesliga culture.
Much like Chelsea in the Premier League, Hoffenheim were the first team to break the mould and buy themselves success, but quite like Chelsea, they have seen themselves usurped by an even better and more powerful alternative in RB Leipzig and Manchester City respectively. Ralf Ragnick and Julian Nagelsmann even left Hoffenheim for RB Leipzig, leaving Dietmar Hopp’s controversial team without much direction and things to look forward to.
So why should you support Hoffenheim? Well, apart from rooting for the team other fans in Germany hate, they have a history of bringing through some good players. Roberto Firmino is the latest and greatest example, but players like David Alaba, Demba Ba and Gylfi Sigurdsson have donned Hoffenheim’s blue kit.
Diadie Samassékou might become the latest high profile export, having just arrived from RB Salzburg. The defensive midfielder shows great awareness as he protects the back four and can also whip an accurate pass around the pitch.
Best reason to support: You like Newcastle and Lukas Podolski.
Reason to not support: You like Newcastle.
No matter how I phrase it, Newcastle fans will get annoyed. I don’t at all believe the situation is similar to Mike Ashley at the helms or anything like that. The similarity comes in sporting merits as both clubs have similar amounts of league and cup wins and they are very similar in terms of track record. Both clubs have gone up and down from the top tier and come back with a flourish, so they both have experienced tough times in recent years.
FC Köln are a very likeable club, with a billy goat as their mascot which came as a joke from a circus several decades ago, which the club has fully embraced. They are currently on their 9th goat which they’ve affectionately called Hennes IX.
They might not play the best football in the world, but if you actually check out their goals, they do produce some of the best individual goals you’ll ever see as seen here:
Best reason to support: A feel-good, working class team with a cute, yet intimate stadium
Reason to not support: Little brother of Hertha Berlin, not a good place to be
One of the first things to note with Union Berlin is how their stadium sorta encapsulates what they are about. It starts with the name; Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium at the old foresters house) which has a capacity of only 21.717, redeveloped by the help of 2.300 Union Berlin supporters volunteering.
This team is so working class they named it Union. While they likely will be Hertha Berlin’s little brother for eternity, they have really rocked the boat this season and find themselves ahead of Hertha in the table. The team barely got promoted last season, but have gotten some impressive wins at the highest level in Germany, beating the likes of Köln, Mönchengladbach and their surprising win over Dortmund in their 3rd game at the top level.
They also snagged an all-important 1-0 win over rivals Hertha at home in front of a packed Stadion An der Alten Försterei. One of their most important contributors is actually a Swede, Sebastian Andersson. His 11 goals have gone a long way into giving Union a good chance of survival at the top level. Something unthinkable just a few years ago.
With a little taste of glory with a cup final in 2001 and a subsequent shot at the UEFA Cup, this little fairy-tale of a team might just be the perfect fit for you if you want a niche team coming from small beginnings.
Best reason to support: Amazing fan support, Bas Dost on FIFA, Danny Da Costa is a fun watch, plus are somewhat of a Leicester equivalent, “Germany’s Underdogs”.
Reason to not support: Not having the best season after the back-to-back DFB Pokal cup final appearances.
Eintracht Frankfurt are known for being one of the founding members of the Bundesliga and historically a classic side having turned up in various DFB Pokal finals and even making the European Cup final in 1960 in a match some say as one of the most entertaining finals of all-time as there were 10 goals (a pretty one sided win for Real Madrid as they won 7-3).
The current Frankfurt side has defied the odds as they are a relative young squad brimmed with talent which saw them go to back-to-back DFB Pokal finals which they won in 2018. Since then, they’ve lost one of their biggest talents Luka Jovic to Real Madrid for a reported €60 million and things have not looked great but they’re labelled “Germany’s Underdogs” for a reason!
Despite having sold a lot of their best talents throughout the years, Frankfurt always find a way to find a hidden gem seemingly from nowhere as seen with Danny Da Costa, Djibril Sow and Evan N’Dicka who all will surely take Europe by storm.
Some might wonder how this turnaround happen? I’d say look no further than their amazing scouts and the wonderful Peter Fischer who is their current chairman and is as beloved by the fans as he is by the players.
If you haven’t watched the Amazon series “This Is Football”, I would highly suggest watching the episode about Eintracht Frankfurt as it certainly shows the passion Mr.Fischer has for his club and football in general, something that we certainly feel is lacking in the modern game.
Best reason to support: Sleeping giant from the capital. Norwegians.
Reason to not support: They never amount to anything.
Remember when PSG was a middling, mid-table, good for nothing team? Meet Hertha Berlin.
Hertha never really seem to get ahead and now they are even floundering behind their city rivals Union Berlin, who barely got promoted last season after never being even close to the Bundesliga. There’s really only one way to go from here for Hertha and that’s up.
They reached a low point with an embarrassing 0-5 defeat to FC Köln, which lead to them dropping their former #1 goalkeeper Rune Almenning Jarstein. They went on to concede 3 and 2 goals in the next two respective games, but clawed back in both games to get two draws out of it. One of the goals came from Krzysztof Piątek who is looking to find his Genoa breakthrough form with his new team.
The Polishman looked like the newest of a line of successful Polish strikers before his career came to a halt with AC Milan. Now he’ll be looking to revitalize himself with a club in a similar position.
Another familiar face will be Salomon Kalou who despite being 34 years old, still has been seen acting as the kid that sporadically played for Chelsea during their glory years. If you are a Liverpool fan, Hertha might be interesting seeing as they have the forever young Marko Grujić on loan.
Best reason to support: Alfreð Finnbogason!!
Reason to not support: Not having the best season.
FC Augsburg are not the best by any stretch of the imagination, but are a classic team that have been bouncing around the various divisions for several years.
The team however has Alfreð Finnbogason, former Helsingborgs IF striker who was a complete success in the Swedish League and it has translated well into the national team as Iceland have had some surprising results at the Euros in 2016 and even qualified to the World Cup in 2018.
So if there is a club that you want to follow that has a mythical hero in the levels of Grant Holt at Norwich, then look no further than Augsburg!
1. FSV Mainz
Best reason to support: Birthplace of Jürgen Klopp’s footballing/managerial career, Robin Quaison and Thomas Tuchel’s big break.
Reason to not support: Relegation flirters
1. FSV Mainz 05 is considered a club with a rich supporter history that has a lot of ties to the community and partake in several charitable activities within the community and in Germany. They are a very rustic club and been going up and down the divisions these last few decades. A good comparison would be a club like Aston Villa. Classic club but just lacking the quality to compete in the way they would like to.
All that being said though, they have Swedish International, Robin Quaison! The Swedish striker is notoriously known for his pace and dribbling ability and has finally lived up to being a striker who scores as he has 12 goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances. This is already better than his goal returns last year where he got 9 goals in 30 matches, but he is an entertaining player. As a fellow Swede it pleases me to see that Mainz striker has finally taken the next steps in his development and finally become a top striker.
As mentioned earlier this is also the birthplace of Jürgen Klopp’s career as a footballer, though he has famously said about his playing career “I had fourth-division feet and a first-division head” and always felt more suited to being a manager. Klopp ended up doing this as a player-manager and the current Liverpool coach went on to win six out of his first seven games in charge, eventually finishing in 14th place which is one spot above relegation with one game to spare. Jürgen Klopp is one of the best managers in the world currently. Known for creating dynasties wherever he goes as both Dortmund and Liverpool have domestically been recognised as the best teams in the league during Klopp’s time there.
Funnily enough, Klopp’s successor, Thomas Tuchel, would take the reigns at Mainz 05 for several years before again replacing Klopp at Dortmund (wouldn’t be surprising if he does it again at Liverpool). The difference though is Tuchel ensured Mainz 05 stability in the Bundesliga and even earned a respectable 9th placed finish with their first season back in the Bundesliga despite having a poor squad and limited funds. While the team might be a far cry from the sides created by Klopp and Tuchel, look no further if you fancy a robust team with a pacey striker!
Best reason to support: Turning things around with a new manager
Reason to not support: Run of the mill yo-yo club in a relegation battle
Not too long ago Düsseldorf played in the 2. Bundesliga and even less time ago it seemed like the club was destined to go down there again. In came Uwe Rösler as manager and their fortunes have changed somewhat.
One win, one loss and four draws. That’s the status with the new manager, but it still means that Düsseldorf have climbed up to the qualifier spot that likely gets the a date with former powerhouse teams in 2. Bundesliga, Hamburg or Stuttgart, in the qualifiers to keep their spot at the highest level in Germany.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if they did go down, as they have been up and down in several divisions since the 90s. They were even down in the 4th highest tier back in 2003/04, but have come all the way back to the Bundesliga.
The 7th largest city in Germany, located pretty close to the border of the BeNeLux countries, certainly should have a team that are mainstays in the Bundesliga, with a stadium that fills 54.600 people when not dealing with the coronavirus. If they stay up, they can probably thank 32 year old striker Rouwen Hennings, who is their clear top scorer with 11 goals so far.
Best reason to support: Claudio Motherfucking Pizarro.
Reason to not support: Club has been stagnant for some time.
There is no denying Werder Bremen as one of the better clubs in Germany as they have captured four league titles and six German cups. Most of their success was through the 1990s when they managed to win the 92/93 Bundesliga season and won 3 DFB Pokals on top of that. Despite having some great talent like Milot Rashica and the legend that is Claudio Pizarro the club are flirting with relegation and if they manage to drop to 2. Bundesliga it will be the first time since the early 80s since they were there!
I would be remiss if I didn’t speak more in detail about Claudio Pizarro. The striker who first landed in Germany in 1998, Pizarro has now become a staple in the Bundesliga having played in every calendar year since 1998 and scoring in every calendar year too!
He also broke the record as being the oldest goalscorer in the Bundesliga at the age of 40 when he scored a dramatic equalising goal against Hertha Berlin last season!
While he might have only won the DFB Pokal with Werder Bremen, he still managed to win 16 titles during his two stints at Bayern Munich and also playing a pivotal part of super sub in Bayern’s fantastic treble winning season of 2012-13. Calm and collected, there wasn’t much that Claudio Pizarro couldn’t do as a striker and is very reminiscent of Robert Lewandowski (albeit slightly less acrobatic). A true goal scoring machine and an even bigger cult hero. If you want to attach yourself to a club that has a rich history and one of the greatest ever to grace the Bundesliga, then look no further than Werder Bremen.
Oh btw; Claudio Pizarro is the oldest player to score a hat-trick in Bundesliga history (at the age of 37 and 151 days!)
I truly hope things change for Bremen as I don’t want to see Ludwig Augustinsson get relegated #Sweden4Lajf.
Best reason to support: You like relegation football.
Reason to not support: They will get relegated
Are you a masochist? If so, SC Paderborn 07 is perfect for you! A club that is constantly going up and down the various tiers of German football, there isn’t much to be excited about. But if you love a scrap, Paderborn will not deliver.
I hope you enjoyed this guide. We are two Scandinavian football fanatics who can’t wait to watch some proper football again. Please follow us on Twitter if you liked this guide and would like to read more of the same in the future:
The #1 Sri Lankan-Swedish writer Follow @KevNissanka, who covered these teams:
The VideoScope’s founder from Norway Follow @Maefteda, who covered these teams: