The Bundesliga is the top-division in German football and one of the biggest and most-spectated leagues in all of Europe. In fact, it has the highest average attendance of any football league and is second only to the NFL when all sports are taken into consideration. The Bundesliga was founded in 1963 and is contested between 18 teams, with relegated teams dropping down to the 2. Bundesliga, or the “2nd Bundesliga”. The Bundesliga is shown on TV networks all over the world, spanning over 200 countries and territories. That includes right here in the United Kingdom, where the games are often shown on premium sports channels. As with the English Premier League, most Bundesliga games are played on the weekend, but for a few weekday exceptions, and all teams are entered into a domestic cup competition: The DFB Pokal. There is also something known as the DFL Supercup, a one-off “Super Cup” competition that is contested between the winners of the league and the winners of the DFB Pokal cup. According to UEFA’s Coefficient rankings, the Bundesliga is one of the four biggest leagues in Europe and throughout the 1970s and early 1980s it held onto the number 1 spot.
Everyone knows that Bayern Munich are the most dominant team in the Bundesliga, but few understand just how dominant they have been. If you create an all-time league table spanning every single team to ever play in the Bundesliga up to 2019, only two have a win ratio greater than 50%. One of these is RB Leipzig (51%), who had played just 3 seasons to that point, the other is Bayern Munich (59%) who had played 54. That win percentage is nearly twice as high as their rivals Dortmund, and that’s not even the most impressive thing about Bayern. They had won the title 29 times at that point, 20 times more than any other team. In the 20 seasons after the new millennium, Bayern won 14. One of these was a treble-winning season, while 9 were double-winning seasons. Despite this success, Bayern Munich were a little slow off the mark when the Bundesliga was first founded. The very first season was won by FC Koln, who finished as the runners-up the following year, and the first team to dominate the Bundesliga, Borussia Monchengladbach. Between 1968 and 1971, Monchengladbach finished as the runners-up twice and the champions twice. Between 1974 and 1977 they won three titles in a row.
You can’t talk about the Bundesliga without mentioning Robert Lewandowski. The prolific Pole was the league’s top scorer in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Every modern Bundesliga fan knows his name. But as impressive as the Warsaw Wonder has been, his efforts pale in comparison to Gerd Muller, one of the greatest Germans to ever play the game. Gerd was the joint-top scorer in 1967 with a total of 28. He went on to win the Golden Boot in 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1974. During the 1971/72 season he bagged a record 40 goals! To put this into perspective, it’s twice as many as Lewandowski scored when he won the Golden Boot in 2014. Muller finished his career with just under 400 goals for Bayern Munich, earning his place in the annuals of Bundesliga history. He also scored 68 goals in 62 games for West Germany. His namesake, Dieter Muller, also won a couple Golden Boots in his time, but he is best remembered for scoring 6 goals in a single Bundesliga game, a record that still stands to this day. Tony Yeboah, a name that many Leeds fans will remember fondly, also left a big imprint on the Bundesliga. He scored 68 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt, finishing as the joint top-scorer for two seasons running.