Get on board as Germany’s Bundesliga starts its new season

Get on board as Germany’s Bundesliga starts its new season

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

The U.K. has its Premier League, Italy its Serie A, Spain its La Liga, and Germany its Bundesliga. Germany’s professional soccer (football to the rest of the world) league kicks off its 56th season with a match between FC Bayern München and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Aug. 24.

Eighteen men’s soccer teams play in the top tier Bundesliga. Seasons are long, beginning in August and ending only in May of the following year, with a pause in the action just before Christmas and into mid-January. Each team within the league faces every other team twice, once at home and once away, meaning each team plays a total of 34 matches. The majority of these games are played on weekends. A system of promotion and relegation means that each year, two new teams ascend to the Bundesliga while two-step down into the 2. Bundesliga, the league’s second division. Fifty-four clubs have competed in the Bundesliga since 1963. The team to have held the title of league champion the most times is Bayern München, with 28 victories to its name; Dortmund follows a distant second with eight wins.

The Bundesliga enjoys the highest average stadium attendance levels of any league in the world, which spells good news for would-be fans of the world’s most popular sport who find themselves based in Germany. Tickets for many matches are available and generally affordable. (Exceptions to this general rule of thumb are any games in which Bayern München plays, or when the teams are from nearby cities and away-team fans can easily reach the opposition’s stadium.)

Bundesliga teams based not too far from U.S. military communities in Germany include Eintracht Frankfurt, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart, 1. FC Nürnberg and Mainz 05. The Bundesliga website offers a page with links to the websites of all 18 teams; from there, it’s possible to order tickets to matches. Tickets for games throughout the season are not released all at once, so if you choose to support a particular team, it’s wise to sign up for notifications as to when match tickets are about to go on sale. This can be done by visiting the website, conducting a search for the team in question, and entering your email address in the box marked “ticketalarm.”

Frankfurt Eintracht’s website offers an English-language explanation of the steps involved in purchasing tickets to its matches. As the process for buying tickets to other teams’ matches is similar, it makes for useful reading. Print@Home tickets are a good option in that you can use your reservation number to access a voucher allowing free use of second-class, public train and bus services to and from the game within the local transportation network. Standard tickets with use of public transportation services to and from the game included will bear the logo of the local transportation network.

Once inside the stadium on match day, the ambiance in the stands can be quite electric. Fan zones for the home team offer the wildest ride, while family zones offer a less charged atmosphere. Strict rules govern the wearing of fan clothing or articles when sitting in a tribune meant for supporters of the opposing team.

Residents of Kaiserslautern may wonder why a huge stadium with a capacity of nearly 50,000 spectators looms high above their city. The Fritz-Walter-Stadion was shaped up to serve as one of the venues for FIFA World Cup matches when Germany hosted the championship tournament back in 2006.

The fortunes of the city’s football club, FC Kaiserslautern, have resembled a roller-coaster ride. The team bounced between the first and second Bundesliga throughout the past decades and had played in the second league since the 2012/2013 season. Following its miserable last-place finish in the 2017/2018 season, the unthinkable happened and the team was relegated into the third league. Will the Red Devils rise again? Their ardent fans are staying by their side and praying this is so. 

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