Bundesliga: The Greatest Football League in Europe
No, I'm not referring to those other leagues—EPL, Serie A, La Liga—the pretenders to the throne, so to speak. In speaking about the greatest European football league, I refer, in fact, to the Bundesliga of Germany.
Yes, you can quote me stats on how many Champions League titles the other leagues have won. You can list the superstar foreign players that play in the different leagues. You can tell me Spain won Euro 2008, and Italy won the World Cup in 2006.
But none of that matters to me. The Bundesliga averages more goals per game than any other league over the last 10 years, except for the Dutch Eredivise.
The German teams have a good mix of foreign and home-based players, and the German national side is proof of the strength of the German league.
While Spain and Italy won the last two major international competitions, Germany came in third and second, respectively. Plus, they were the runners up in 2002—talk about consistency.
The recent exploits in Europe may be pretty underwhelming, but there is still a strong pedigree in the competition. Bayern Munich won in 2001 and were runners up in 1999. Dortmund were winners in 1997. Bayern is also one of only three clubs to have won the title three years in a row in 1974, '75, and '76. They join Real Madrid and Ajax in that feat.
There is a great history of players who have graced the Bundesliga, ranging from Franz Beckenbauer to Kevin Keegan to Jurgen Klinsmann, to the modern heroes of Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack.
More foreign players have appeared in the Bundesliga, such as the becoming stars Diego and Ivan Rakitic. Don't forget the current Bayern dream team of Luca Toni and Frank Ribery. Wolfsburg has signed Andrea Barzagli and Christian Zaccardo from Italy, and FC Cologne has signed Portuguese midfielder Petit from Benfica.
Top to bottom, the Bundesliga is a much more level playing field than most realize. Bayern Munich is by far the top dog (but by no means is this a given, as they are in ninth with only two wins this season), with a whole host of other clubs jockeying for the title as well.
The league format of 18 teams makes for an exciting league chase for the entire season. Teams like HSV (current league leaders), Stuttgart, FC Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg, and BVB Dortmund all have legitimate title aspirations this season. Even tiny TSG Hoffenheim is causing a ruckus in their first season in the Bundesliga.
The administration of the Bundesliga has done an excellent job in keeping costs down and maximizing profits. Last season, they beat out the EPL as the most profitable league in Europe. Earning 100 million Euros more profit, in spite of earning almost a billion Euros less in total revenue.
Bundesliga teams have done their best to keep ticket prices down—a plague that has affected most of the bigger teams in leagues around Europe. (It cost me 11 Euros to go to a match at Schalke in May of this year.) Yet, this is where German teams may be losing their edge, not having nearly enough capital to challenge the major European teams.
La Liga, EPL, Serie A—they are all good and the quality in each league is top notch. But for sheer entertainment across the entire football spectrum, nothing beats the Bundesliga.
For more information on the Bundesliga, see their great website: http://www.bundesliga.de/en/
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