August 6, 2019

Germany: 2019-20 map showing Club Membership sizes (top 3 levels: Bundesliga, 2-Bundesliga, 3-Liga/56 teams) (figures from January 2019).

Filed under: Germany — admin @ 7:20 am

Germany: map showing club membership sizes (top 3 levels/56 teams) (figures from January 2019)

By Bill Turianski on 6 August 2019;

-World site (for Club Membership totals, which can be found at each club’s Profile page there)…
-2019–20 Bundesliga (
-Official site of Bundesliga (English)…
-English-speaking Bundesliga blog…
-Summary – 2019-20 Bundesliga: fixtures, tables, results, stats, etc…

The map…
The total amount of dues-paying members of each of the 2019-20 German 1st, 2nd and 3rd division clubs are shown by the circles – large or small – which are centered on each club’s location. The larger the circle, the larger the club membership size. I simply doubled the club-membership-amount and used that figure for the square-pixel-size of the club’s circle. I had to stop at ~12-sq-pixels, though, or the 6-sq-pixel location-dots for each of the small clubs would have obscured their club-membership-circles. However, all 56 clubs on the map have their club crest shown in about the same size…approximately 50-by-50 pixel-size (ie, disc-shaped crests are 52-square-pixels; while the more block-shape crests are a few pixels less, and attenuated crests like ‘Gladbach’s and Werder’s are a few pixels more). It got a little tight in the densely-populated and fussball-centric Rhine-Ruhr region of western Germany, but I was just able to fit in all the clubs, from the top 3 divisions, there.

But when it came to the planet-Jupiter-like size of Bayern Munich’s club-membership circle, as well as the planet-Neptune-like size of both Schalke’s and Dortmund’s club-membership circles, I had to accommodate for that. So, the rather big circles for the 3 German mega-clubs with the largest number of members are placed partially outside the map, so as to not obscure aspects within the map.

The membership totals for each club are listed in the chart at the far right, along with 2019-20 divisional levels, with any promotions or relegations noted. (Note: Germany uses Roman numerals for divisions [Levels]… I=Bundesliga, II=2.Bundesliga, III=3.Liga.) Also listed in the chart are three more things…2018-19 home league average attendances, Seasons played in the 1st division (counting 2019-20, there will have been 57 seasons of Bundesliga), and German titles (with last title noted). All 2019-20 Bundesliga clubs, as well as all the clubs with more than 10,000 dues-paying members (27 clubs), are shown on the map via a thin horizontal band which notes their membership-size.

The 50+1 rule in German football.
Excerpt from…‘The 50+1 rule (German: 50+1-Regel) is an informal term used to refer to a clause in the regulations of the Deutsche Fußball-Liga. The clause states that, in order to obtain a license to compete in the Bundesliga, a club must hold a majority of its own voting rights. The rule is designed to ensure that the club’s members retain overall control, protecting clubs from the influence of external investors.’ {End of excerpt.}
Exceptions have been made for ex-company-teams with more than 20 years of financial support…Bayer Leverkusen (funded by Bayer [pharmeceuticals]), and VfL Wolsburg (funded by Volkswagen [motor vehicles]), as well as Hoffenheim (funded by SAP [a computer firm run by longtime Hoffenheim supporter Dietmar Hopp]). Nevertheless, there is now the whole charade of RB Leipzg, which does have (a few) club members, but that membership is exclusive. The average fan cannot join Rasenballsport (Lawnballsport) Leipzig, as a club member. RB Leipzig, which is owned by Red Bull [energy drink purveyors], have been a Bundesliga club for 4 seasons now, and are good enough to qualify for the Champions League, and are popular enough to draw over 38-K-per-game. Yet RB Leipzig have less than 1,000 club-members. That is because club-membership in RB Leipzig is open only to select corporate cronies, for a vast sum. Thus making a mockery of the 50+1 rule.

Football club membership in Germany usually entails benefits like discounts and first dibs on tickets, discounts on merchandise, and a free subscription to the club newsletter (or magazine), and usually (but not in every case) it gives a club-member voting rights, and plus sometimes even more free stuff {see 2 sentences below}. And in some cases (like with the biggest clubs), you can’t buy tickets without being a member, like with Bayern Munich and also, I think, with Dortmund (it’s confusing). Yearly dues are usually in the €25 to €60 range for adults.

I looked at all the big clubs’ websites for info on all this, and I decided to use the example of Borussia Mönchengladbach, because this Rhine-Ruhr-based club near the Dutch border had the most straightforward online pitch, and they offer plenty of “stuff”… [Become a club member (aka FohlenClub)/English translation]…
Membership in Borussia Mönchengladbach gets you: A selection from 3 gifts: Fan scarf with slogan; or a 10-Euro-donation to Borussia foundation; or a knit cap with slogan. Right of first refusal on day tickets. Discounted season tickets. 10%-off at FoalShop. Invitation to exclusive member events. 8 issues of the club-magazine, which is called FoalenEcho – The Magazine. Discount for Fanproject (community outreach) membership. Participation in the annual General Meeting (with voting rights). Free admission to the Borussia Mönchengladbach Women’s team, and to the Youth-teams. Member card. Price: Under-18s: €40, Adults: €60 (which is $67 USD)…

Sounds like a decent deal to me, and it seems that more than 85 thousand Mönchengladbach fans would agree.

German clubs with the largest Membership sizes, and clubs with the highest ratio of Members-versus-Crowd-size…
As mentioned further above, the 3 German clubs with the largest amount of dues-paying members are: Bavarian giants Bayern Munich (290,000 club-members), and two clubs 16 miles (22 km) apart in the Rhine-Ruhr: FC Schalke 09 (155,400 club-members), and Borussia Dortmund (155,000 club-members).

The fourth, and only other German club with more than 100-K in club-membership, is FC Köln of Cologne. FC Köln, who were just promoted back to the Bundesliga, have 102,000 members. After that, there are 4 other German clubs with over 50-K in club-membership…Hamburg (who are still stuck in the 2nd division) have 85.5 K club-members; the aforementioned Borussia Mönchengladbach, have 85.1 K club-members; the just-relegated VfB Stuttgart have 65.5 K club-members; and Eintracht Frankfurt have 59 K club-members.

Some medium-large clubs that are Bundesliga mainstays, have slightly less actual dues-paying members than their average attendance (70 to 90% ratio). Like Werder Bremen (36.5-K-in-membership / 40.2 K avg attendance: 90% ratio), and Hertha Berlin (36-K-in-membership / 49.2 K avg attendance: 73% ratio), and Wolfsburg (20.1-K-in-membership / 24.4 K avg attendance: 82% ratio). And note that two of these three (Wolsburg and Werder), the ones with ratios close to 100%, have won German titles in the last 15 years.

Some German clubs, though not exactly Bundesliga mainstays, draw above-or-near-to 40 K per game, yet have only have dues-paying membership in the 20-to-25-K-range (ie, nearer to a ~50% ratio). Falling into this category are: current-Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf, as well as the just-relegated sides Hannover 96, and FC Nürnberg.

As of mid-2019, within the top 3 levels of German football, there are 9 clubs that have more dues-paying members than their 2018-19 average attendance (ie, a +100% ratio). This category comprises the top 7 highest-drawing clubs in Germany last season, plus Bayer Leverkusen (the 19th highest-drawing German club), plus the currently-3rd-division side 1860 Munich (who are the 27th highest-drawing German club).
The list below includes A) Club-membership Rank; B) Club-membership total / 2018-19 Avg Attendance; C) Percent-capacity; D) Level.
1) Bayern Munich: 290 K club-members / 75 K avg attendance (100%-capacity) [1st div].
2) Schalke: 155.4 K club-members / 60.9 K avg attendance (98%-capacity) [1st div].
3) Dortmund: 155 K club-members / 80.8 K avg attendance (99%-capacity) [1st div].
4) FC Köln: 102 K club-members / 49.5 K avg attendance (99%-capacity) [2nd div in 18/19; promoted to 1st div for 19/20].
5) Hamburg: 85.5 K club-members / 48.8 K avg attendance (86%-capacity) [2nd div].
6) Mönchengladbach: 85.1 K club-members / 49.6 K avg attendance (92%-capacity) [1st div].
7) Stuttgart: 65.5 K club-members / 55.5 K avg attendance (90%-capacity) [1st div in 18/19; relegated to 2nd div for 19/20].
8) Eintracht Frankfurt: 59 K club-members / 49.7 K avg attendance (95%-capacity) [1st div].
11) Bayer Leverkusen: 28.3 K members / 27.9 K avg attendance (93%-capacity) [1st div].
15) 1860 Munich: 22.4 K club-members / 14.9 K avg attendance (70%-capacity) [3rd div].

And finally…One club that is not a large club by any means, yet are rather well-supported in terms of club-membership-size-versus-average-crowd-size, bears mentioning. That is the newly-promoted FC Union Berlin, a club that hails from the former East Germany. FC Union Berlin play at a 22-K-capacity stadium in the eastern part of Berlin, which is called Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium at the old forester’s house). In 2013, this stadium was re-built and expanded with the labor of, and funds from, the club’s supporters. FC Union will play in the Bundesliga for the first time in 2019-20. FC Union have 20,000 dues paying members, and they averaged 21,200 per game last season in 2-Bundesliga, when they finished in 3rd place, and then won the Relegation Play-offs over VfB Stuttgart, 2-2 aggregate and on the away goals rule. It was the first time the 2nd-division team won the Bundesliga Relegation Play-off in 7 years.
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Blank map of Germany, by NordNordWest at File:Germany location map.svg.
-World site (for Club Membership totals, which can be found in each club’s Profile page there)…
-E-F-S site,
-2019–20 Bundesliga (
-2019-20 2. Bundesliga (
-2019-20 3. Liga (

October 25, 2018

All-time Bundesliga (Germany/1st division): Chart of all clubs with at least one season in the German 1st division (56 seasons/since 1963-64/55 clubs); with German titles listed.

Filed under: >Football: All-time 1st Div,Germany — admin @ 9:50 am

List: All-time Bundesliga + German titles

By Bill Turianski on 25 October 2018;

-Germany – Bundesliga All-Time Tables 1963/64-2017/18 (
-All-time Bundesliga table;
-List of German football champions/Performance by club;
-Bundesliga (
-Small kit illustrations from each team’s page at

This chart is similar to the one I made for England earlier this year {here: England, 1st division – all-time: List of all clubs with at least one season in the English 1st division (120 seasons/since 1888-89/65 clubs).}.

The German chart here is a bit more complicated than the England chart. That is because Germany did not have a country-wide national (pro) league until the Bundesliga was instituted in 1963-64. Before that, starting in 1903, the German football title was decided by round-robin tournaments with representative teams from the several regional leagues. So unlike in England, in Germany, there were national football titles long before there was a national 1st division league.

There are 7 clubs that won German titles in the pre-Bundesliga era (1903-63), that ended up never playing in the Bundesliga. Those clubs are shown in the section at the foot of the chart. Most of these clubs have evolved into small and amateur lower-leagues clubs. The exceptions are Holstein Kiel, a 2nd division side; and Austrian club Rapid Vienna. (SK Rapid Vienna [Wein] played in the German football system from 1938-45; Rapid Vienna currently play in the Austrian Bundesliga [Div I, Austria].)

There are a few other things different on this All-time-1st-Div-Germany list than on the All-time-1st-Div-England list…
A). At the centre of the chart, I combined two columns: the column for “Consecutive Seasons in the 1st Division” is now combined with the column for “Last season that the club was previously in the 1st Division”. I combined them because it is an either/or situation.
B). I had to scrap the column, at the right-centre of the chart, that shows a segment of the jersey worn by each club from the most recent season that the club was in the 1st division {via}. I had to scrap that because, to my knowledge, no such imagery exists online for any country on the Continent. So I had to settle for the primitive kit illustrations that Wikipedia uses for football clubs. The plus side of this is that it is easier to tell which clubs on the chart are currently [2018-19] in the top flight.
C). Clubs are listed with their most popularly-used name at the far left of the chart, and with their full name at the far right of the chart.

I will continue on with this format with All-time-1st-Div-Italy, to be posted in mid-December 2018. All posts in this format will be in the new category >Football: All-time 1st Div, which can be found near the very top-right of the Categories list.

I also have ones ready for All-time-1st-Div-France (to be posted in mid-January 2019), plus one for All-time-1st-Div-Spain.

Below: the 10 clubs in German football with the most seasons spent in the Bundesliga…
Sources: club-membership numbers from, in the Profile section on each club’s page there; attendance figures from; population figures from
Joint-1st. Werder Bremen (55 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). A founding member of the Bundesliga in 1963-64, Werder Bremen are from Bremen, which is a city-state in the northwest of Germany. (Bremen is one of 3 city-states in Germany, and is the smallest of the 16 federal states of Germany.) Bremen has a population of around 568,000 and a metro-area population of around 2.4 million {2017 figures}. Werder Bremen claims 36,500 members, which is slightly less their recent average attendances (Bremen drew 38.7 K last season and drew 40.8 K in 2016-17). Werder Bremen have only been relegated once, in 1980, and they bounced straight back to the Bundesliga the following year. Werder Bremen have won 4 German titles (1965, 1988, 1993, 2004). Werder Bremen wear Blue/Green-with-White.

Joint-1st. Hamburg (55 of 56 Bundesliga seasons.) A founding member of the Bundesliga, Hamburger SV are from the city-state of Hamburg in northwest Germany. (Hamburg is the 2nd-largest city in Germany after Berlin.) For years, Hamburg took pride in the fact that they were the sole German club to have played in every season of the Bundesliga. They even had a clock at their stadium which displayed how long, consecutively, they had been in the top flight. As the decade of the 2010s wore on, that clock became an albatross on the shoulders of the team. {See this article from the New York Times from Feb. 2017, Time and a Relentless Clock Weigh on Hamburg Soccer Team (by Andrew Keh at} And so the relegation that Hamburg had been flirting with for years, became a reality, in the spring of 2018. Hamburg have won 6 German titles (1923, 1928, 1957, 1976, 1980, 1983). That last title in 1983 coincided with their winning of the 1983 European Cup. Hamburg sport a flag-shaped blue crest which features a black and white diamond, but despite that, their primary colour is red: they wear White-and-Red-with-Blue-socks.

3rd. Bayern Munich (54 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). Fußball-Club Bayern München are called Bayern Munich in the Anglophone world. In Germany, because of the giant shadow they cast – and all the drama they create, and all the self-entitlement they project – they are often called FC Hollywood. Bayern Munich are basically one of the most successful football clubs in the world, with 28 German titles [the most by far] and 4 European titles (last in 2013). They could easily be called the New York Yankees of Germany. Bayern Munich have the most club-members by far in Germany – over 290,000. Bayern Munich are the second-best-drawing club in Germany (behind only Dortmund), and they always play to 100% capacity, drawing exactly 75 K, in their space-age Allianz Arena (or so they say). The odd thing is, the club was not selected to join the inaugural season of the Bundesliga in 1963-64. That was because of the rule which stipulated that only one club per city could be part of the first Bundesliga…and at that point in the mid-1960s, the now-3rd-division club 1860 Munich was the most successful club from the Bavarian city of Munich. Bayern Munich did not join the Bundesliga until the 3rd season. Since then, Bayern Munich have essentially dominated German football. The club currently has a 6-consecutive-titles streak, but that streak is in jeopardy this season, as there is looking to be a multi-team title race, and Dortmund, or Bremen, or ‘Gladbach (or Leipzig), could wrest the title from Bayern Munich come April 2019. Bayern Munich’s crest features the white-and-blue-diamonds that are on the flag of the Free State of Bavaria (which is the largest state in Germany). They wear Red-with-White-trim, and often feature dark-blue trim.

4th. Stuttgart (53 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). A founding member of the Bundesliga, VfB Stuttgart are from Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, in the southwest of Germany. (Stuttgart is called the cradle of the automobile and is home to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.) Stuttgart were a founding member of the Bundesliga; they have been relegated twice: in 1974-75 (spending 2 seasons in the 2nd tier), and in 2015-16 (bouncing straight back to the top flight). Stuttgart have won 5 German titles (1950, 1952, 1984, 1992, 2007). Stuttgart wear White-with-Red; their badge features black deer antlers on a yellow field. (Deer antlers are part of the coat of arms of Württemberg. By the way, deer antlers are also featured on the Porsche logo.)

5th. Dortmund (52 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). A founding member of the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund are the highest-drawing football club in Germany, and have been drawing between 79 K and 81 K per game since 2010-11. In fact, Dortmund are the highest-drawing football-club in the whole of Europe, and have been filling their 81.3-capacity Westfalenstadion in excess of 97-percent-capacity for eight straight seasons. Dortmund have 155,000 club members, which is basically the same amount as their nearby rivals Schalke, and only Bayern Munich have more club members. Dortmund are from Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, in western Germany, which is part of the Rhine-Ruhr mega-city, the largest urban area in Germany, with a population exceeding 5 million {see this}. (Each season in the Bundesliga there are usually around 4 or 5 top-flight clubs which are from the Rhine-Ruhr region, and in 2018-19 there are 6 Rhine-Ruhr clubs: Dortmund, Schalke, Mönchengladbach, Köln, Bayer Leverkusen, and Fortuna Düsseldorf.) Dortmund have won 8 German titles, and have been repeat-champions twice (1995 & 1996, 2011 & 2012). Dortmund wear Yellow-and-Black.

Joint-6. Schalke (51 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). A founding member of the Bundesliga, FC Schalke 04 are from Gelsenkirchen, in the Rhine-Ruhr mega-city, only about 22 miles, by road, west of Dortmund. Schalke and Dortmund contest the Revierderby. Schalke are the 3rd-highest-drawing club in Germany, usually drawing between 60 and 61 K, and they boast over 155,000 club members. But Schalke have under-achieved for years, and have not won a German title in over half a century: the last of their 7 titles was won pre-Bundesliga, in 1958. Scalke wear Blue-with-White.

Joint-6. Mönchengladbach (51 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). Borussia Mönchengladbach are from the far-western edge of the Rhine-Ruhr mega-city, very close to the border with the Netherlands. ‘Gladbach’s glory days were in the early-to-mid-1970s, when they won 5 titles in 8 seasons, including back-to-back-to-back titles in 1975-77. (Bayern Munich are the only other club to have won 3 Bundesliga titles in a row.) Their nickname of Die Fohlen (the Foals) came from this era, reflecting the squad’s youth and dynamism. But the club evolved into a bottom-half of the table side by the 1990s, and suffered relegations in 1999 and in 2007. But since moving into their 54-K-capacity stadium in 2004, ‘Gladbach’s fortunes have, in general, improved. Borussia Mönchengladbach boasts 83,000 members, and by that metric, are the 6th biggest club in Germany. They wear White-with-Green-and-Black-trim.

8th. Eintracht Frankfurt (50 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). A founding member of the Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt are from Frankfurt, Hesse (the 5th-largest city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne). (“Eintracht” means harmony, and is the German equivalent of a club having “United” in its name.) Frankfurt may have participated in the lion’s share of Bundesliga seasons, but (like Schalke) they have never won the competition: Eintracht’s sole German title came in 1959. But the Eintracht Frankfurt team these days is rather competitive, and they won the DFB-Pokal [German Cup] in 2018. Eintracht Frankfurt usually wear Red-and-Black, but are sporting Black-and-Grey this season.

9th. Köln (48 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). A founding member of the Bundesliga, 1. FC Köln, are currently in the 2nd division. Köln are from Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, on the southern edge of the Rhine-Ruhr mega-city. (Köln are often called Cologne in the English-speaking sports world.) FC Köln have 102,000 members, making them, by that measurement, the 4th largest club in Germany. But that is a bit misleading, because Koln usually are the 7th or 8th-best drawing team in the country, drawing between 46 and 48 K. Since the mid-1990s, the team has periodically imploded, and they have suffered 4 relegations in the last 31 years. Köln were relegated in 1998, in 2006, in 2012, and once again in 2018. Köln have won 2 German titles (in the inaugural season of the Bundesliga in 1964, and in 1978). Köln wear White-with-Red-trim, and sport a crest that features a billy-goat (their mascot) and a silhouette image of the Cologne Cathedral (Germany’s most-visited landmark).

10th. Kaiserslautern (44 of 56 Bundesliga seasons). A founding member of the Bundesliga, Kaiserslautern, are currently in the 3rd division. They are from Kaiserslautern, Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany. Kaiserslautern are probably most renowned for being the most-recent team in the Big Five Western European leagues to gain promotion to the 1st division and then go on to win the title the following season. This happened in 1997-98. (The most recent team to achieve this unique accomplishment in England was, of course, Nottingham Forest in 1977-78; and before that it was Ipswich Town in 1961-62.) Kaiserslautern are the team in this top ten list that is from the smallest city, by a large margin: the city of Kaiseslautern has a population of only 99,000 {2017 figure}. So it is not surprising that Kaiserslautern have had a tough time of maintaining their status as a top-flight club, and indeed, they found themselves relegated to the 3rd division in 2018. Kaiseslautern wear Red-with-White.
Thanks to all at the links below…
Germany – Bundesliga All-Time Tables 1963/64-2017/18 (
All-time Bundesliga table; List of German football champions/Performance by club; Bundesliga (

December 5, 2017

Germany/2nd division: 2. Bundesliga, location-map for 2017-18 season, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./+The top two teams in 2. Bundesliga as of 5 December 2017 (Holstein Kiel and Fortuna Düsseldorf).

Filed under: Germany — admin @ 3:10 pm

Germany/2nd division: 2. Bundesliga, location-map for 2017-18 season, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

By Bill Turianski on 5 December 2017;
-Teams, etc…2017-18 2. Bundesliga (
-English-speaking Bundesliga coverage…
-Official site of the Bundesliga in English (offizielle webseite der Bundesliga)…
-2. Bundesliga site (in German)…
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…2. Bundesliga [2016-17] Summary (

-From The Set, Doing It Their Own Way – the Union Berlin Story (by Daniel Rossback on 2 May 2017 at

-From, here is an informative illustrated article, Fan-friendly Bundesliga the best attended league in Europe.

2. Bundesliga, the second division of German football, was instituted in 1974-75. 2. Bundesliga replaced the five Regionalligas that comprised the German 2nd level, from 1963 to 1974. Like the German 1st division (the Bundesliga), there are 18 teams in 2. Bundesliga. The top two teams win automatic promotion to the Bundesliga each season, while the 3rd place finishers in the second division play in a two-legged Relegation play-off with the 16th-place-finisher in the 1st division. But usually, the 16th place finisher from the Bundesliga wins that play-off, and only 2 teams get promoted (which is what has happened for the last 5 seasons). As for relegation, the same format described above also applies between the 2nd division and the 3rd division (which is called 3. Liga).

2. Bundesliga is one of the two the highest-drawing second divisions in the world. In terms of drawing power, only the English Football League Championship is comparable. There really are no other second tier leagues – anywhere – that even come close. (The next closest are drawing about 10-K-per-game less: Spain’s 2nd tier and France’s 2nd tier both draw in the 7-K-range.) Both the English 2nd division and the German 2nd division draw in the 17-to-21-K range, depending on the precise make-up of the clubs in the two leagues each season. The two alternate as the top-drawing second division, with the amount of big clubs stuck down in the 2nd tier in any given season being the difference. So when Newcastle (as well as Aston Villa) were stuck in the 2nd tier in 2016-17, the Championship drew 20.0 K overall. And meanwhile, last season saw two big-and-high-drawing German clubs also stuck in the 2nd tier (Stuttgart and Hannover), and so in 2016-17, the German second division’s overall average attendance was a staggering 21.7 K. That was higher than the French 1st division! This season, the EFL Championship is on pace to draw in the 20.1 K range; while 2. Bundesliga is on pace to draw in the 17.1 K range. The reason for the ~4.6-K-drop in overall average attendance in the German second tier this season is because there are a whole bunch of smallish clubs now in 2. Bundesliga that don’t draw above 11 K, yet are punching above their weight, such as Holstein Kiel and Jahn Regensburg and Sandhausen and Heidenheim. Plus, last season, 1860 Munich imploded and were relegated [and then were further relegated down to the 4th division for financial reasons], thus putting even more of a dent in the overall average attendance of the German second tier (for now). (Three seasons ago, in 2015-16, when there were fewer large clubs down in both of these 2nd tiers (and fewer minnows), the German 2nd division drew 19.7 K overall, while the English 2nd division drew 17.5 K overall, and one could look at those figures as a sort of crowd-size-baseline for the two leagues.)
{Sources for attendance figures:; en.wikipedia/[17/18 EFL C'ship]; en.wikipedia/[17/18 2.Bund.].}

The promotion race in 2. Bundesliga…Last season in the German second division, both teams that won promotion were large clubs, both of which bounced straight back to the Bundesliga (the aforementioned Stuttgart and Hannover). But so far in 2017-18, among the promotion contenders in 2. Bundesliga, there is an interesting mix of a few would-be-Bundesliga-newcomers (Kiel, Union Berlin, and Jahn Regensburg), several clubs that have had multiple stints in the 1st division (Düsseldorf, Nürnberg, Bielefeld, and Duisburg), and one newish club with a recent-two-season-spell in the top flight (Ingolstadt). And it bears mentioning that one of those that I just listed above is a club that was in the 4th tier two seasons ago…Bavarian side Jahn Regensburg, who have currently won 13 points out of a possible 15, and have now moved up to 7th place, 7 points off the play-off place. And the 6th through 3rd places have been gaining on the automatic promotion spots. So, in other words, this season’s 2. Bundesliga promotion race is shaping up to be a compelling one. Below are short profiles of the top 2 teams as of the second week of December 2017.

    The top two teams in 2. Bundesliga as of 5 December 2017 (Holstein Kiel and Fortuna Düsseldorf)…
    Holstein Kiel.

Seasons in German top flight: none.
Major Titles: 1 German title (1912).
Average attendance [as of 5 Dec. 2017]: 10.4 K (at 78%-capacity).
Manager of Holstein Kiel, Markus Anfang (age 43, born in Cologne, W Germany). After running Bayer Leverkusen’s youth team and then their U-17 team, Anfang was hired by Holstein Kiel in the summer of 2016. In 2016-17, Anfang’s Kiel had the best defense and the second-best scoring rate in the third tier, and won promotion to the second division.

The biggest surprise of the German second division this season is Holstein Kiel.
Holstein Kiel won a German title a little over a century ago, in 1912, beating Karlsruher 1-0. (This was back when the German title was decided by the regional winners playing in a round-robin format.) Kiel regularly made the national playoffs in the 1920s. In 1930, Kiel almost won their second national title, losing in the final 5-4 to Hertha Berlin. But since the Bundesliga was instituted in 1963-64 and the lower leagues were re-organized, Kiel has been primarily a third-or-fourth-tier side, with only one 3-season-spell in 2. Bundesliga (1978-81), and zero appearances in the top flight. Kiel were in the 3rd division for 36 seasons before winning promotion from 3. Liga in May 2017 (as 2nd-place-finishers behind MSV Duisburg).

Now, in their first season back in the second division since 1980-81, Holstein Kiel have come out of nowhere to lead the German second division, with 47% of the season played (16 of 34 matches played). Kiel leads the second division in scoring, with 2.25 goals per game (36 goals). The team has been propelled to the top of the 2. Bundesliga table with the help of two players: 23-year-old FW Marvin Ducksch, who is on loan from FC St Pauli, and 27-year-old FW Dominick Drexler (see photos and captions further below). Ducksch has scored 10 goals (2nd-best) and has made 2 assists, while Drexler has netted 8 times plus made 4 assists. Both players had been instrumental in Holstein Kiel’s successful promotion campaign in the 3rd division in 2016-17, and now both are doing it again in the second tier. The only problem is, should Kiel win an unexpected second consecutive promotion, Marvin Ducksch will not be part of Kiel’s Bundesliga debut, as FC St Pauli intends on re-calling him back for the 18/19 season.

Holstein Kiel are from Kiel, which is a port-city on the Baltic Sea. Kiel is the largest city within the German portion of the Jutland Peninsula. Kiel has a city-population of around 246,000 and a metro-area population of around 643,000 {2015 figures}, making it about the 29th-largest city in Germany {source}. Kiel is, by road, 60 miles (97 km) north of Hamburg, and Kiel is about 60 miles south of the border with Denmark. Kiel is the largest city of the northern-most state of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein.

The area around Kiel was first settled by Vikings or Normans, and Kiel was founded as a city in 1233. Kiel was a member of the Hanseatic League for over two centuries (1284-1518). Kiel was capital of the duchy of Holstein, which was the northern-most territory of the Holy Roman Empire (up to the late 18th century). Kiel was situated only a few miles south of the Danish border then, and the duchy to the north, Shleswig, was part of Denmark back then. But from 1773 to 1864, Kiel and all of Holstein, though comprised of a German-speaking majority, was owned by (but not administered by) the Danish crown, in a complex arrangement {see this: Schleswig-Holstein Question}. This was only resolved by the two Schleswig wars of the mid-1800s (1848-51: Denmark v Prussia; 1864: Denmark v Prussia/Austria). Kiel and its larger region (duchies of Shleswig and of Holstein, as well as a northern part of Lower Saxony) was won in 1864 by the German Confederation, in the Second Schleswig War, and became part of the Kingdom of Prussia.

Holstein Kiel wear Royal-Blue-and-White with Red trim, and wear a blue circular badge that features the coat of arms of Kiel, which is a stylized nettle [the symbol of Holstein] (the outer red-white-jagged-edge badge-shape), and a curved Viking ship (the black crescent-shape in centre: “the boat refers to the name of the town, kiel being German for keel” {-excerpt from}). You can see the coat of arms of Kiel in the illustration below.

Holstein Kiel, as befitting a club that has just been promoted after more than three decades in the 3rd tier, are not that big of a club, and play in a small-but-well-maintained 13,400-capacity venue, called Holstein-Stadion (see below). Kiel are currently drawing just 15th-best in the second tier, at 10.4 K (78-percent-capacity). Nevertheless, locals have responded to Kiel’s great form this season, and average attendance is up by 4.7 K, meaning that Holstein Kiel have almost doubled their crowd-size this season (Kiel drew 5.7 K in 2016-17).

Holstein Kiel’s last match, on Saturday the 2nd of December, was a battle between 1st and 2nd place, and Kiel ended up drawing with Fortuna Düsseldorf, 2-2, in front of 11.7 K at Holstein Stadion. So Kiel, as of 5 December, have a 3-point lead on 3rd place and a 6-point lead on 4th. Of course there is much more to be contested in the German second tier this season, but Holstein Kiel have an excellent chance to finally win promotion to the top flight, and bring Bundesliga football to the Jutland Peninsula for the first time ever.

Photo and Image credits above – Holstein Kiel 17/18 jersey, photo by jpg. Aerial shot of Kiel, photo by Klaas Ole Kürtz at File:KielerStadtzentrumLuftaufnahme.jpg ( Holstein-Stadion, photo by Ulf Dahl via Holstein Kiel fans with banners, photo by Marvin Ducksch, photo from Dominick Drexler, photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts via

    Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Seasons in German top flight: 23 (previously: a one-season spell in Bundesliga in 2012-13).
Major Titles: 1 German title (1933). 2 DFB-Pokal titles (1980).
Average attendance [as of 5 Dec. 2017]: 26. K (at 48%-capacity).
Manager of Fortuna Düsseldorf, Friedhelm Funkel (age 64, born in Neuss in the Rhine-Ruhr metro-area of North Rhine-Westphalia). Funkel is a well-traveled manager who has had stints leading several top flight and second-tier clubs (KFC Uerdingen, Duisburg, Hansa Rostock, Köln, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha Berlin, Bochum, Alemannia Aachen, and 1860 Munich). He has been managing Fortuna Düsseldorf since March of 2016. Düsseldorf finished in 11th place in 2. Bundesliga in his first full season at the helm, in 16/17.

Currently [5 Dec. 2017], Fortuna Düsseldorf are in second place, but the team has not won in 5 matches (3 draws and 2 losses). And meanwhile, Nürnberg, Union Berlin, Arminia Bielefeld, Ingolstadt, Jahn Regensburg, Duisburg, and Braunschweig are all gaining on them. And cause for alarm can seen in Fortuna’s home loss in the last week of November to Dynamo Dresden, by a 1-3 score, with the then-relegation-threatened Dynamo Dresden scoring three times in the first 10 minutes.

Photo and Image credits above – Fortuna Düsseldorf 17/18 jersey, photo by jpg. Esprit Arena, aerial shot, photo unattributed at Esprit Arena, exterior photo by Jörg Wiegels at File:ESPRIT arena in Duesseldorf-Stockum, von Sueden.jpg ( Esprit Arena, close-up exterior photo, by[Dusseldorf]. Fortuna Düsseldorf fans, photo unattributed at
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Germany by NordNordWest, File:Germany location map.svg (
-Attendances from E-F-S site,
-2016-17 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Fußball-Bundesliga 2016/17 (
-List of German football champions (
-Seasons-in-1st-division data from All-time Bundesliga table (

October 17, 2017

2017-18 Bundesliga (Germany/1st division) location-map, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./+ the 2 promoted clubs (VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Germany — admin @ 5:28 pm

2017-18 Bundesliga (Germany/1st division) location-map, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

By Bill Turianski on 17 October 2017;
-Teams, etc…2017-18 Bundesliga (
-English-speaking Bundesliga coverage…
-Official site of the Bundesliga in English (offizielle webseite der Bundesliga)…
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Bundesliga 2017/18 – Summary (

-From Associated Press via Daily, BUNDESLIGA 2017-18: Guide to the 2 promoted teams (by Ciaran Fahey on 14 Aug.2017).

A brief re-cap of the 2016-17 Bundesliga…
16/17 Bundesliga champions
Bayern Munich [German: Bayern München]. The Bavarian giants have now won 5 straight Bundesliga titles. Bayern Munich have won the most German titles (27, their first German won in 1932), and the most Bundesliga titles (26, their first Bundesliga title won back in the 6th season of the competition, in 1969).
Teams that qualified for Europe
17/18 Champions League Group Stage: Bayern Munich, Lawn Ball Sport Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund.
17/18 CL GS play-off round: Hoffenheim.
17/18 Europa League Group Stage: FC Köln, Hertha Berlin.
EL GS 3rd qualifying round: SC Freiburg.

Teams that were relegated out of Bundesliga, into the 2nd division (2. Bundesliga), in May 2017…
Ingolstadt (17th place) and Darmstadt (last place) were both relegated to the 2nd division, while 16th place finishers Werder Bremen survived by winning the Relegation play-offs by a 2-0 aggregate score over Eintracht Braunschweig (who were the 3rd-place-finishers in 2. Bundesliga).

Teams that were promoted in May 2017
VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96. Both clubs, who were relegated in 2015-16, bounce straight back to the Bundesliga. I am pretty sure this is the first time this has happened in Germany (ie, all teams relegated one season then going on to win promotion straight back up, the following season). I checked every Bundesliga season for this, and it looks like this is the first time it’s happened, but I honestly could only find one reference to this online, which only mentions this (and doesn’t necessarily confirm it as an unprecented thing), at the following link: {Guardian/football/The Knowledge from 13 Sept.2017, question #3: Bouncebackabilty [scroll down one-third-of-the-way, in the article there] (by John Ashdown at

VfB Stuttgart.
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg [in south-western Germany].
Stuttgart is located, by road, 128 miles (206 km) S of Frankfurt; and Stuttgart is located, by road, 145 miles (233 km) NE of Munich. The closest large city to Stuttgart is in France: as the crow flies, Stuttgart is only about 50 miles (80 km) from the French border and Stuttgart is 92 miles (148 km), by road, from Strasbourg, France.
Rivals: Stuttgart are sort of bereft of a rival, currently…Stuttgart’s biggest local rival, Stuttgart Kickers, have not been in the 1st division since 1992, so that rivalry has faded, while their rivalry with Karlsruher SC (about 47 miles away) has increased in importance in the last couple decades (Stuttgat v Karlsruher is called the Baden-Württemberg-Derby). But the just-relegated-to-3rd-division Karlsruher are now 2 divisions lower than Stuttgart. The nearest current Bundesliga team to Stuttgart is Hoffenheim (the two clubs are located about 57 miles apart), but, owing to Hoffenheim’s meteoric rise out of the lower leagues into the 1st division a decade ago, Stuttgart and Hoffenheim have never developed a real rivalry.

Stuttgart returns straight back to the Bundesliga after winning the 2016-17 2. Bundesliga title, two points above the 2nd place finishers [Hannover], and 3 points above 3rd place. Stuttgart’s 2016-17 average attendance was 50,573 (at 83.6 percent-capacity); Stuttgart had the best attendance in the 2nd division, and the 5th-best attendance in all of Germany in 2016-17 {source:[attendance]}. Currently, now back in the 1st division, Stuttgart’s crowds are the 4th-largest in the Bundesliga, averaging 51.8 K (at 90-%-capacity) [as of 17 Oct. 2017] {source:[Bundesliga}.

Colours: White jerseys with Red trim and sometimes also Black trim, and White pants (usually); their badge features black deer antlers on a yellow field, and the deer antlers have been part of the Stuttgart crest since 1912, when Verein für Bewegungsspiele Stuttgart was formed via a merger of two predecessor clubs: Stuttgarter FV and Kronen-Club Cannstatt {1912 VfB Stuttgart crest}. Deer antlers are part of the coat of arms of Württemberg {see this article from paragraph there}. (By the way, deer antlers are also featured on the Porsche logo.)

Seasons in 1st division: counting 2017-18, VfB Stuttgart have played 52 seasons in the Bundesliga [2017-18 is the 55th season of Bundesliga (est. 1963-64)].
Stuttgart’s major titles:
5 German titles (last in 2007).
3 DFB-Pokal titles (last in 1997).
Manager: Hannes Wolf (age 36), born in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Photo and Images credits above – 17/18 Stuttgart jersey, photo unattributed at Mercedes-Benz Arena, photo from File:Mercedes-Benz-Arena Stuttgart.JPG by MSeses at Tifo, photo from File:Cannstatter Kurve 2013.JPG by RudolfSimon at

Hannover 96.
Hanover, Lower Saxony [in north-central Germany].
Hanover is located, by road, 99 miles (159 km) S of Hamburg; and Hanover is located, by road, 131 miles (212 km) NE of Dortmund.
Rivals: Hannover 96′s biggest rival is fellow Lower Saxon side Eintracht Braunschweig, and the cities of Hanover and Braunschweig are only about 41 miles apart. Last season, Hannover beat out Braunschweig by one point for automatic promotion.

Hannover 96 returns straight back to the Bundesliga after finishing in 2nd place in the second tier, two points behind Stuttgart, while finishing one point ahead of their big rivals Eintracht Braunschweig, and 7 points ahead of 4th place [FC Union Berlin]. Hannover’s 2016-17 average attendance was 36,647 (at 74.4 percent-capacity); Hannover had the second-best attendance in the 2nd division, and the 12th-best attendance in all of Germany in 2016-17. Currently, now back in the Bundesliga, Hannover has the 10th-largest crowds, averaging 47.1 K (at 96-%-capacity) [as of 17 Oct. 2017].

Colours: Red jersey, usually with Black pants, and a Green-and-Black badge. Hannover have always had a green-and-black badge {see this, Hannover 96 badges through the years}, but they played in blue jerseys for their first 18 years. Hannover’s red jerseys date back to 1913, when a merger with another local club – Ballverein [BV] 1898 Hannovera – led to the club adopting BV’s red jerseys, while retaining their green-and-black badge.

Seasons in 1st division: counting 2017-18, Hannover 96 have played 29 seasons in the Bundesliga.
Hannover’s major titles:
2 German titles (last in 1954).
1 DFB-Pokal title (last in 1992).
Manager: André Breitenreiter (age 44), born in the Langenhagen district of Hanover, Lower Saxony.
Photo and Images credits above – 17/18 Hannover 96 jersey, unattributed at HDI-Arena, photo unattributed at[HD-Arena/Hannover 96]. Tifo, photo unattributed at

Note: I will soon post a map-and-chart of the German second division, 2. Bundesliga, in mid-December 2017.
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Germany by NordNordWest, File:Germany location map.svg (
-Attendances from E-F-S site,
-2016-17 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Fußball-Bundesliga 2017/18 (
-List of German football champions (
-Seasons-in-1st-division data from Fußball-Bundesliga/Vereine der Bundesligasaison 2017/18 (

September 30, 2016

2016-17 Bundesliga (Germany/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./+ promoted clubs from 2.Bundesliga (SC Freiburg, RasenBallsport Leipzig).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Germany — admin @ 3:56 pm

Germany: 2016-17 Bundesliga location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

By Bill Turianski on 30 September 2016;
-Teams, etc…2016-17 Bundesliga (
-English-speaking Bundesliga coverage…
-Official site of the Bundesliga in English (offizielle webseite der Bundesliga)…
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Bundesliga – Summary (

    Below: the 2 promoted clubs from 2.Bundesliga to the Bundesliga for 2016-17
    (SC Freiburg, RB Leipzig)
    • SC Freiberg

(Est. 1904). City-population of Freiburg im Breisgau: around 220,000 {2014 figure}. Freiburg is, by road, 205 km (127 mi) SW of Stuttgart. Freiburg is, by road, 70 km (44 mi) N of Basel, Switzerland.

Colours: Red-with-Black. Nickname: (none). Coach: Christian Streich (age 51), born in Weil am Rhein, SW Baden-Württemberg.

-From Bundesliga official site, from May 2016, Youth-oriented Freiburg are back. After relegation to 2.Bundesliga in May 2015, SC Freiburg retained their coach, Christian Streich, and much of their young squad. In 2015-16, they bounced straight back up to the Bundesliga with relative ease, clinching automatic promotion with 2 games to spare. Seen below are the top two scoring threats for Freiburg last season: Nils Petersen and Vincenzo Grifo. Both return for 2016-17.

Counting 2016-17, Freiburg have spent 12 seasons in the Bundresliga…
Freiburg’s previous stint in the top flight was a 6-season spell from 2009-10 to 2015-16. Freiburg’s fanbase is pretty faithful, seeing as how the club these days pretty much always plays to near-capacity (above 97 percent-capacity since 2012-13 [4 seasons]). The club saw barely any drop-off in attendance at all when they were down in the second division last season (in 2015-16). Last season Freiburg drew 23.3 K in a 24.0-capacity stadium, and they only drew 473 less than they were drawing in the 1st division in 14/15. That less-than-one-percent drop-off in crowd-size reminds me of Norwich City. Norwich City also loses less than one-percent of their crowd-size when they (invariably) get relegated. So SC Freiburg are kind of like Norwich City in that way. Plus both clubs are from relatively small cities to be having a 1st division team (some seasons), and both clubs are from cities which are tucked in somewhat outlying corners of their respective countries.

Freiburg im Breisgau is located in far south-western Germany, about 18 km (11 mi) E of the French border, and about 67 km (42 mi) N of the Swiss border. Freiburg is situated on the western edge of the Black Forest, and the city is located within the Baden wine-growing region. Freiburg has one of the highest standards of living in Germany, and is renowned for its advanced environmental practices. An example of how green and eco-conscious Freiburg is can be seen in the fact that in 1996, SC Freiburg were the first football club in Germany to install solar panels on their stadium (on three-quarters of the roof-space [see photo below]). Freiburg is so green that the coach, Christian Streich (a Freiburg-area native), rides his bicycle to the team’s home games at the Schwarzwald-Stadion.

-From the Transition site [an academic site],
The Future for SC Freiburg’s stadium is still bright (by Jessica Porter on 24 June 2015 at

Photo and Image credits -
16/17 Freiburg jersey, photo unattributed at Freiburg, aerial photo by Thomas Maier at File:Freiburg-im-Breisgau-Luftaufnahme-16072004.jpg. Schwarzwald-Stadion, aerial shot, photo by Schwarzwald-Stadion, interior shot, photo by Picture Alliance via Photo of Vincenzo Grifo, photo by Joachim Hahne at Nils Petersen, photo by Alexander Scheuber/Bongarts via Photo of Freiburg players still celebrating during post-game press conference of coach Christian Srteich, image from screenshot of animated gif at;

    • RasenBallsport Leipzig

(Est. 2009). City-population of Leipzig: around 560,000; metro-area population: around 1.0 million/ 10th-largest city in Germany {2015 figures}. Leipzig is, by road, 149 km (93 mi) SSW of Berlin. Leipzig is, by road, about 152 km (95 mi) ENE of the Czech Republic border at the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge).

Colours: White-with-Taurine-Red-and-Dark-Blue-and-Gummy-Bear-Yellow. Nickname: die Roten Bullen (the Red Bulls). Manager: Ralph Hasenhüttl (age 49), born in Graz, Austria.

Only 5 teams from the former-East-Germany have ever played in the Bundesliga (1991-92 to 2016-17)…
RB Leipzig are the first team from the former-East-Germany to play in the Bundesliga in almost a decade, since Energie Cottbus (who were last in the German top flight in 2008-09). Now, counting RB Leipzig, since German reunification/football-leagues consolidation in 1991-92 (when the top 2 teams in the last season of DDR-Oberliga were promoted over into the Bundesliga), only 5 teams from the former-East-Germany have ever played in the Bundesliga…
Hansa Rostok (12 seasons in Bundesliga, last in 2007-08),
Dynamo Dresden (4 seasons in Bundesliga, from 1991-95),
VfB Leipzig (one season in Bundesliga in 1993-4),
Energie Cottbus (6 seasons in Bundesliga, last in 2008-09),
•and now, RB Leipzig.
RB Leipzig make their first-division debut in 2016-17. Seen further below are the top four scoring threats for RB Leipzig last season, when they finished in second place in 2.Bundesliga, clinching automatic promotion with one game to spare (by beating Karslruhrer 2-0 on 8 May 2016).

And for the first time in 22 years, there finally is a team in the Bundesliga from the 6th-largest metro-region in Germany – the Central German Metropolitan Region (Leipzig/Chemnitz/Halle/Dresden: population of around 4.6 million {2009 figure}, see this, Metropolitan regions in Germany). (The previous team in the Bundesliga from this metro-region was Dynamo Dresden, who last played in the Bundesliga from 1991-95.)

That is the good news. The rest is good news only if you like the concept of corporations taking over the sports world…
That is because the seven-year-old “club” RB Leipzig is part of the Red Bull pro sports empire, which is growing like a cancer. From Guardian/football, from 8 September 2016, by Phillp Oltermann, How RB Leipzig became the most hated club in German football ( From the Supporters Not Customers site, Against Red Bull Football (by Ben Dudley on 11 June 2013 at

In most of the following cases below, the energy-drink purveyors Red Bull took over a football club, changed its colours, crest, and name, thereby stripping the club of its history and re-branding it in the name of further corporate conquest. Three other teams were founded by Red Bull GmbH (a minor-league soccer team in NYC, a 5th-division Brazilian side, and a now-defunct Ghanain team)…

Image above originally appears as result of search query “red bull football teams” at

Football “clubs” and soccer franchises that Red Bull GmbH owns…
-RB Leipzig (Leipzig, Saxony, Germany/1st div/est 2009, re-branded from a club which dated back to 1990 [SSV Markranstädt].
-Red Bull Salzburg (Salzburg, Austria/1st div/est 2005, re-branded from a club which dated back to 1933 [SV Austria Salzburg]) (now is merely a feeder-”club” for RB Leipzig).
-New York Red Bulls (Harrison, New Jersey, USA/1st div [Major League Soccer]/est 2006, re-branded from a franchise which dated back to 1995 [the NY/NJ MetroStars]).
-FC Liefering (Grödig, Greater Salzburg, Austria/2nd div/est 2012, re-branded from a club which dated back to 1947 [FC Anif]) (feeder-”club” for other Red Bull teams).
The following are teams which Red Bull started from scratch…
-Red Bull Brasil (Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil/4th div/est 2007).
-Red Bull Ghana (2008-14/defunct).
-New York Red Bulls II (Harrison, New Jersey, USA/quasi-3rd div/est 2015) (feeder-minor-league-team in USL-1, for the New York Red Bulls of MLS).

-(Red Bull GmbH also owns 1st-division ice hockey teams in Munich and Salzburg; and Red Bull GmbH owns motor racing teams in Austria [F1], Italy [F1], and next year [2017] in Brisbane, Australia [Super-8].)

In the case of RB Leipzig, Red Bull GmbH took over the 5th division side SSV Markranstädt (1990-2009)…
The Red Bull corporation bought the 5th-division club SSV Markranstädt (of Markranstädt, Saxony near Leipzig), in 2009, with the announced intention of turning it into a Bundesliga team within 8 years. (They made it into the Bundesliga in 7 years.) The club was re-named RB Leipzig (RB is the shortened term for RasenBallsport, which translates as “LawnBallsport” [seriously]). Red Bull GmbH got around the 50+1 rule in Germany…and frankly have made a mockery of that rule…by making RB Leipzig a “club” that is so prohibitively expensive to join that there are only 17 members – virtually all of whom have financial-and/or-job-related ties to Red Bull GmbH (the club reserve the right to reject any application without a reason). It costs €1,000 a year to simply be a non-voting member of RB Leipzig. By comparison, it only costs around €70 per season to join Bayern Munich (and have full-voting-privileges). Bayern Munich is a club which has over 225,000 members. FC Schalke has over 140,000 members (also with voting privileges; as with the next few examples). Borussia Dortmund has around 139,000 members. Borussia Mönchengladbach has over 75,000 members. Hamburger SV has over 70,000 members. Even small-and-relative-newcomers-to-the-Bundesliga, clubs like FC Augsburg (12,200 members) and Darmstadt (5,500 members), have considerably more members than the less-than-two-dozen members which comprise the “club” known as RB Leipzig.

In the case of Red Bull Salzburg, in 2005 Red Bull GmbH took over a club – SV Austria Salzburg – with a long history in the Austrian 1st division including 4 Austrian titles…
SV Austria Salzburg wore purple and white colours; they averaged around 7-to-8 K per game (circa the mid-2000s); the supplanted team Red Bull Salzburg has ended up with about the same crowd-size, drawing 8.4 K in 2015-16. Back in 2005, when the fans of SV Austria Salzburg realized Red Bull GmbH’s identity-stripping intentions with the club they supported, and protested, Red Bull said something very condescending, to the effect that, If they liked purple so much then maybe the complaining fans would be happy if the Red Bull Salzburg goalkeeper wore purple socks. Here is an excerpt from the article linked to further above (and, again, here), entitled Against Red Bull Football…
“The Austrian Bundesliga side were purchased by Red Bull in the same way as their franchise in Leipzig, with the only part of the club the new owners truly cared about being the license to play. The violet and white colours of Austria Salzburg were replaced with a kit more suitable for the marketing of ‘the brand’, with supporters’ protests completely ignored by the clubs hierarchy. Also gone was the clubs traditional badge, once again replaced by a tawdry Red Bull infected logo without a shred of pride or passion. As supporters protested furiously for the return of Austria Salzburg’s soul, Red Bull’s offered a so-called compromise. “If colours are so important to the supporters, the goalkeeper can wear violet socks” said Red Bull.”…(excerpt by Ben Dudley at the Supporters Not Customers site).

So fans in Austria, upset with Red Bull, formed their own club in 2006, SV Austria Salzburg
Fan-owned protest club SV Austria Salzburg were placed in the 7th tier of Austrian football and initially had a good start, with 4 consecutive promotions and then five years later, a fifth promotion in to the Austrian 2nd division in 2015. But that promotion into the Austrian second-tier was so costly (debt of €900,000 by November 2015) that SV Austria Salzburg were relegated right back last season (2015-16), and are now again a 3rd-division-side, this time with severe financial problems. And meanwhile, the “club” that supplanted SV Austria Salzburg, Red Bull Salzburg, who after failing in 9 attempts to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, have – as per orders from Red Bull corporate HQ – become merely a feeder club for Red Bull’s new flagship sports “brand”, the newly-promoted-to-the Bundesliga team RB Leipzig. So Red Bull took the identity of Salzburg’s biggest club from their supporters, then eleven years later, when that “product” failed to launch properly, turned that club into a mere feeder-team for their flagship brand (RB Leipzig).

Criticisms of RB Leipzig…
{The following excerpts are from}…”The establishment of RB Leipzig has caused much controversy in Germany. The controversy has revolved around the apparent involvement of Red Bull GmbH and the restrictive membership policy. This has been seen as contrary to common practice in Germany, where football clubs have traditionally relied on voluntary registered associations, with sometimes very large number of members, and where the 50 + 1 rule has ensured that club members have a formal controlling stake.RB Leipzig has been criticized for allegedly being founded as a marketing tool and for allegedly taking commercialization of football in Germany to a new level. The club has been rejected as a “marketing club”, a “commercial club” or a “plastic club”. The criticism has been widespread. Critics have been found both in the management and among coaches and supporters of other clubs.
The introduction of RB Leipzig was met with protests from supporters of other Leipzig football clubs, notably 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig and FC Sachsen Leipzig. They feared a decline of traditional fan culture in Leipzig, and a commercialization of football in the region. After the partnership with SSV Markranstädt had become known, protests immediately appeared in Leipzig suburbs. Red Bull advertising boards at the Stadion am Bad in Markranstädt was smeared with graphitti and the pitch was purposely destroyed by a weed killer. Apart from these actions, protests in Leipzig were generally non-violent.”…/
…”The German economist Dr. Tobias Kollman said in 2009 that he saw Red Bull GmbH as a company with clear economic goals for its projects. Consequently, he described RB Leipzig as a “marketing club” and said that it was the first of this kind in Germany. He further described the activities of Red Bull GmbH in Leipzig a “sports political earthquake” in Germany. Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke and Eintracht Frankfurt chairman Heribet Bruchhagen warned in 2013 that clubs backed by major companies or financially strong patrons could pose a threat to the entire Bundesliga, talking of a “clash of culture”.

Photo and Image credits -
16/17 RB Leipzig jersey, photo by RB Leipzig at r. Aerial shot of Red Bull Arena, photo by Philip at Photo of central Leipzig, photo unattributed at Shot of 2015-16 RB Leipzig players celebrating a goal at the Red Bull Arena, photo by Getty Images via Emil Forsberg, photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts via Marcel Sabitzer, photo by Katrina Hessland/Getty Images via Davie Selke, photo by Boris Streubel via Dominik Kaiser, photo by Ullstein Bold via
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Germany by NordNordWest, File:Germany location map.svg (
-Attendances from E-F-S site,
-2015-16 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Fußball-Bundesliga 2015/16 (
-List of German football champions (
-Seasons-in-1st-division data from Bundesliga (

August 21, 2015

Germany: 2015-16 Bundesliga location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Germany — admin @ 12:53 pm

Please note:
My latest Bundesliga map-&-post can be found here, category: Germany.]

Germany: 2015-16 Bundesliga location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

-Teams, etc…2015–16 Bundesliga (
-English-speaking Bundesliga coverage: News, fixtures, results, table, etc…
-Official site of the Bundesliga in English (offizielle webseite der Bundesliga)…
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Bundesliga (

By Bill Turianski on 20 August 2015;
For this map-&-chart, I have continued using the new template from my 2015-16 English football maps {such on my 15/16 Premier League post}. On the map, I have included the 6 largest cities in Germany (all cities above 600K in the city-population: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart) {source: here}. Also included are the 9 largest metro-areas in Germany (all metro-areas above 3.0 million population) {source, see last sentence at the foot of this post}. German states and the 3 city-states (Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen) are listed on the map, as well. This season, as usual, the state of North Rhine Westphalia, home to the sprawling Rhine-Ruhr mega-city, has the most Bundesliga clubs – 5 (Dortmund, Schalke, Köln, Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen).

The two promoted sides are very small, with little or no previous Bundesliga experience. Darmstadt, who have now won back-to-back promotions, are located in southern Hesse state nearby to Frankfurt; the club had previously managed only two seasons in the Bundesliga (1978–79 and 1981–82). Darmstadt’s spartan stadium has a 17 K-capacity (reduced-capacity for safety reasons), and Darmstadt drew 14.1 K in 2014-15. Ingolstadt, from central Bavaria (about halfway between Munich and Nuremburg), are making their Bundesliga debut. Ingolstadt has a 15 K-capacity stadium, and drew 9.8 K last season.
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Germany by NordNordWest, File:Germany location map.svg (
-Attendances from E-F-S site,
-2014-15 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Fußball-Bundesliga 2014/15 (
-Titles and seasons-in-1st-division data from Bundesliga (
-Metropolitan regions in Germany (

July 19, 2014

Germany: 2014 football attendance map, with the 52 highest-drawing clubs in Germany [all German clubs drawing over 4 K per game] (from 2013-14 home league matches). / Plus, a chart showing the 20 highest-drawing association football leagues in Europe (2013 or 2013-14 season).

Germany: 2014 football attendance map, with the 52 highest-drawing clubs in Germany [all German clubs drawing over 4 K per game]

Please note:
My latest Bundesliga map-&-post can be found here, category: Germany.]

This is a new category, European football leagues attendance maps. I have not done full-nation attendance maps for several years now, and I thought it was time to revisit the theme. I will make maps like this for: Germany, England, Italy, Spain, France, and Netherlands. Those 6 countries are home to the top six highest-drawing association football (aka soccer) leagues in Europe [note: see the chart I put together at the end of this post, which shows the 20 highest drawing leagues in Europe]. 5 maps I do in this theme will show every club in that country which drew over 4,000 per game last season [2013-14]; the Netherlands map will show all Dutch clubs which drew over 2,000 per game in 2013-14.

On the map, club crests are sized – the larger the crest, the larger the club’s average home crowd {attendance figures from home domestic league matches in 2013-14/link to source at the bottom of this post}. Besides attendance, each club’s stadium capacity and 2013-14 percent-capacity are shown (percent capacity equals average attendance divided by stadium capacity). Also in the chart at the far right-hand side of the map page are: national titles (with year of last title noted), total seasons spent in the first division by club, and national cup titles (with year of last title noted).

Clubs from the former East Germany (9 clubs from the former East Germany on the map & chart) are noted in the chart by an asterisk [East German clubs were finally able to be eligible for promotion to the Bundesliga in 1991-92, with the inclusion of Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden into 2.Bundesliga for the 1991-92 season, which was a little less than two years after the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989].

I will have the attendance map & chart for France (and Monaco) up next, in about a fortnight.

Below – Chart: the 20 highest drawing association football leagues in Europe


Source of data,
Thanks to Bogomolov.PL for the blank map of Germany, ‘File:Germany localisation map 2008.svg‘ (

Thanks to the contributors at ‘Bundesliga‘, ‘2.Bundesliga‘, ‘3.Liga‘, ‘Fußball-Regionalliga‘ ( &

Thanks to, for German attendance figures,

March 11, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Germany (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Germany, with 8 other player-options listed).

Filed under: Germany — admin @ 9:03 pm

Germany national team. UEFA (Europe). Nationalmannschaft (the National Team) / die Adler (the Eagles). Home jersey: white with black, red, and gold trim.

-Germany is in Group G (with Ghana, Portugal, and the United States). ‘2014 FIFA World Cup/Group G‘ (

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 18th qualification out of 19 possible tries.
(1930, did not enter; 1950, banned due to sanctions imposed on West Germany [and East Germany] after WW II). (1990: East Germany football merges with West Germany football, with East Germany national team records retired, and Germany national football team inheriting West Germany national football team’s records and titles.)

Previous World Cup: 2010, Semifinals / 5-0-2.
Highest World Cup finish:
1954, Champions / 5-0-1.
1974, Champions / 6-0-1.
1990, Champions / 5-2-0.
2014, Champions / 6-1-0.

Population of Germany: 80.5 million {2013 estimate}.
Capital and largest city: Berlin, pop. 3.2 million (city pop.)/ 4.5 million (metro-area pop.) {2011 census}.
Largest metro-area in Germany: Rhine-Ruhr Metro region (in west-central Germany, in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia), metro-area pop. ~12.9 million {2007 figure}.

-Germany coach, Joachim Löw. Joachim Löw.
-Germany squad captain, DF Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich). Philipp Lahm.

Below: Theoretical Best XI for Germany (with 8 other player-options further below) -
[Note: the chart below is updated to reflect final roster selection for 2014 WC, with caps & goals updated to 13 July 2014, following Germany's 1-0 World Cup Final victory over Argentina; with the exception of one injured player (Marco Reus), all the players shown below comprise all Germany players (18 players) who played for Germany in their successful 2014 World Cup campaign ('Germany national football team/Current Squad' (]
Photo and Image credits above -
Germany 2014-15 home jersey badge, photo from
Germany 2014 home jersey, photo from
Germany/EU map, by NuclearVacuum at ‘File:EU-Germany.svg‘ (
Germany map by TUBS at ‘File:Relief Map of Germany.svg‘ (
Jogi Löw, photo by Getty Images via
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), photo unattributed at
Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), photo by SID-IMAGES/Firo via
Mats Hummels DF/CB/DM (Borussia Dortmund), photo unattributed at
Jérôme Boateng (Bayern Munich), photo unattributed at
Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke 04), photo by
Mesut Özil (Arsenal), photo by Nick Potts/PA via
Bastian Schweinsteiger MF/AM/CM (Bayern Munich), photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images Europe via
Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), photo by
Forwards (incl. Attacking MFs and Wingers),
Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe via
Miroslav Klose (Lazio), photo unattributed at
Marco Reuss (Borussia Dortmund), photo unattributed at
Other player-options,
Mario Götze MF/AM/RW (Bayern Munich), photo by AP via
Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe via
Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe via
Lukas Podolski LW/FW (Arsenal), photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images Europe via
Shkodran Mustafi DF/RB (Sampdoria), photo unattributed at
André Schürrle FW/W (Chelsea), photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europe via
Christoph Kramer CM/DM (Borussia Mönchengladbach), photo unattributed at
Julian Draxler LW/AM/RW (Schalke 04), photo by

Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Germany national football team‘ (
Thanks to, for player-position details.
Thanks to, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at
Thanks to the contributors to this thread at Reddit,

Thanks very much to two commenters at reddit/r/soccer: Svorky and Roland 1405, for helpful tips on Germany Best XI (Hummels and Schweinsteiger and Müller should be in starting lineup instead of Mertesacker and Khedira and Götze; with Gündoğan left out of options-section [injured]).

July 13, 2013

Germany: Bundesliga, 2013-14 location-map with 2012-13 attendances / Plus – All-time German football titles chart (1903-2013) with title-winning clubs’ total seasons in Bundesliga listed / Plus a short article on the selection process for the clubs chosen for the first season of Bundesliga in 1963-64.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Germany — admin @ 8:43 pm

Please note:
My latest Bundesliga map-&-post can be found here, category: Germany.]

Bundesliga, 2013-14 location-map with 2012-13 attendances

    All-time German football titles chart (1903-2013) with title-winning clubs’ total seasons in Bundesliga listed.

All-time German football titles chart (1903-2013) with title-winning clubs’ total seasons in Bundesliga listed

All-time German national titles list, ‘List of German football champions‘ (

    Selection process for the clubs which comprised the inaugural season of Bundesliga in 1963-64.

The process considered on-field accomplishment from the past 10 seasons (1954-55 through 1962-63) of the 5 Regionalliga leagues throughout West Germany (East German clubs were finally able to seek access to Bundesliga in 1991). But the selection for the first season of Bundesliga also considered financial situations of the football clubs. First off, the 1963 national champion (Dortmund) was, strangely, not guaranteed direct passage into the new league. However, the 5 winners in 1963 of the 5 regional Oberligen were, pending favorable financial reviews and stadia concerns. So directly placed into Bundesliga were – Hamburger SV (winner of Oberliga Nord in 1963), FC Köln (winner of Oberliga West in 1963), FC Kaiserslautern (winner of Oberliga Südwest in 1963), TSV 1860 Munich (winner of Oberliga Süd in 1963), and Hertha Berlin (winner of Oberliga Berlin in 1963).

An additional condition was that no city could be present with more than one club. Talk about the Teutonic tendency to engineer things! This was not fair at all, and unfairly hurt certain clubs while exempting others. When you consider that the Rhine-Ruhr region in west-central Germany is a de-facto municipality (a mega-city) of its own, one could argue that Rhine-Ruhr clubs got an unfair advantage in the selection process because they were essentially exempt from the just-one-club-from-a-city-rule – because, for example, Schalke and Dortmund (whose stadiums are only about 26 km. or 16 miles apart) are in different municipalities but were then and still are part of the same metropolitan area (Ruhr Metropolitan Region).

The just-one-club-from-a-city-rule really hurt 3 clubs in particular – FC St. Pauli, Bayern Munich and Viktoria Köln. That is because the city of Hamburg was already represented by Hamburger SV; the city of Munich was already represented by TSV 1860 Munich; and the city of Cologne was already represented by FC Köln. One of these 3 clubs rather promptly shook off that obstacle – Bayern Munich finally got into the Bundesliga in its 3rd season in 1966-67, and the rest, as they say, is history, as Bayern Munich (aka FC Hollywood) have gone on to become the most successful German football club (with 23 titles including the 2012-13 title) and are current champions of Europe as well (winning their 5th European title on 25 May 2013 in London over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortrmund). But the other two clubs that were snubbed by the just-one-club-from-a-city-rule for that inaugural season of Bundesliga in 1963-64 perhaps never got over that roadblock – FC St. Pauli took a decade-and-a-half to finally get into the Bundesliga (first in 1977-78), and have only spent 8 seasons total in the German top flight (last in 2010-11) and are a chronic financial basket-case; while Viktoria Köln have never made it into the Bundesliga and are currently a 4th division club (note: German divisions within the German football pyramid are listed at the lower center of the chart).

The selection process for the clubs that would comprise the first season of the Bundesliga in 1963-64 also considered financial situations of the football clubs. Furthermore, infrastructural conditions were set forth – a club had to either have a 35,000 seat stadium, or the club has to have in place feasible plans to build a stadium with at least 35,000 seats.

To select the remaining 11 spots in the first season of Bundesliga, the previous 3 seasons of the 5 Oberligen were triple-weighted (1959 to 1963 seasons), while seasons from 4 to 7 years previous were doubled-weighted, and seasons 7 to 10 years previous were single-weighted.

Of the 74 clubs within the 5 Oberligen, 46 applied for the first Bundesliga season. 15 applicants were immediately rejected, including Borussia Möenchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.

In January 1963 the following 9 clubs were selected – FC Köln, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Nürnberg, Hamburger SV, FC Saarbrücken, and Hertha Berlin. In May 1963, these 7 clubs were selected – SC Preußen Münster, Meidericher SV (now called MSV Duisburg), Eintracht Braunschweig, FC Kaiserslautern, TSV 1860 Munich, VfB Stuttgart, and Karlsruher SC. [Note: at the lower center of the chart are the clubs selected for the first season of Bundesliga, listed by which Oberligen they came from.]

FC Köln were champions of the inaugural season of Bundesliga, finishing 8 points ahead of Meidericher SV (current third division club MSV Duisburg). Relegated that first season of Bundesliga were SC Preußen Münster (who never made it back to the top flight and are currently a 3rd division club) and FC Saarbrücken (who probably should never have been selected to be a charter member of Bundesliga [see below], and have only spent 5 seasons in the Bundesliga, last in 1992-93, and are also currently a 3rd division club). Here is an excerpt from Saarbrücken’s page at, …’Saarbrücken’s selection to the new league was arguably the most controversial as the club’s recent record was not as good as their divisional rivals Neunkirchen, FK Pirmasens and Wormatia Worms. The belief is that their advantage lay in the fact that the club had a long association with Hermann Neuberger, an extremely influential figure in German football – and a member of the selection committee’. …{end of excerpt}.

Here is the en.wikipedia page on the first Bundesliga season, with a map that shows the geographic spread of the clubs, ‘1963–64 Bundesliga‘ ( Note how similar that first Bundesliga season’s geographic spread of clubs is to the present-day geographic spread of current Bundesliga clubs. There are 8 clubs in the 2013-14 Bundesliga that were selected for the first season of Bundesliga 51 years ago (including both of the just-promoted clubs) – Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Braunschweig, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburger SV, Hertha Berlin, Schalke 04, VfB Stuttgart, and Werder Bremen.

Base map for Bundesliga location-map from; thanks to NordNordWest for drawing that map.
Thanks to Europrean Football Statistics for the 2012-13 and 2011-12 attendance figures,
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at,
Map in chart (2012-13 German clubs in top 3 leagues) by Lencer at
Rapid Wien icon from
Thanks to Lencer at, for the map of 2012-13 Bundesliga/2.Bundesliga/3.Ligen clubs’ locations.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at and –

August 30, 2012

Germany: the 3 promoted clubs from 2.Bundesliga to Bundesliga, for the 2012-13 season – Greuther Fürth, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Filed under: Germany — admin @ 8:52 pm
    The 3 promoted clubs to Bundesliga for 2012-13 – Greuther Fürth, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf…

The 3 promoted clubs to Bundesliga

Greuther Fürth makes it’s first division debut in the 2012-13 Bundesliga. Eintracht Frankfurt returns to the Bundesliga after a one-year absence. Fortuna Düsselldorf returns to the Bundesliga after a 15-year absence which included stints in the second, third, and fourth tiers of German football. All three of these clubs have won national titles in Germany, but none of them have won Bundesliga titles (Football-Bundesliga was established in 1963-64 – before that, the German national title each year was decided by a tournament comprised of regional champions and runners-up).

Greuther Fürth are from Fürth, which is a city in the Middle Franconian region of the northern part of Bavaria, just west of and adjacent to the city of Nuremburg. Modern-day sprawl has made the two municipalities contiguous (the city centers are only 7 km., or 4.3 miles, apart). The Nuremburg/Fürth/Erlangen metropolitan area is sometimes referred to as the Middle Franconian Conurbation, or the Nuremburg EMR [European Metropolitan Region]. The Nuremburg EMR has a population of around 3.51 million {2006 figure}. Fürth’s population is around 116,000 {2011 figure}. Fürth was once a major beer brewing center in Germany (around the turn of the 20th century, it had a bigger brewing industry than even Münich). Now Fürth is known for it’s toy-making industry (small-scale craft toys to large-scale industrial enterprises) and for being a center of solar technology – on sunny days, the local utility Infra Fürth puts 2 megawatts (2,000,000 Watts) of energy into the grid per day.

Below: Greuther Fürth are known as Die Kleeblätter, which translates as the Cloverleaves. The 2012-13 season is Greuther Fürth’s Centenary, and the club is wearing metallic gold colored three-leaf-clovers as the badge on their usual green-and-white-hooped jerseys. The city of Fürth has used the trefoil, or three-leaf-clover, as their city seal since the 16th century.
Photo and image credits above – Small photo of 2012-13 Centenary crest on home kit badge from 1905 photo from page on ‘Greuther Fürth‘. 1818 seal from Present-day seal from ‘Fürth‘ (en.wikipedia). Municipality of Fürth official website banner from

The club now known as Greuther Fürth started out in 1903 as the football branch of the gymnastics club 1860 Fürth. Three years later in 1906, the football branch – Spielvereinigung Fürth, or SpVgg Fürth – went independent of the gymnastics club. [Note: Spielvereinigung, often abbreviated to SpVgg, means 'playing club', and refers to sports that are played not by individuals, but by teams.]. The club grew, and by 1914, SpVgg Fürth had over 3,000 members, making it the largest German sports club at the time. 1914 was also the year Fürth won their first national title, under English coach William Townley, defeating VfB Leipzig 1-0 in Magdeburg in the 154th minute of play (there were 64 minutes of extra time added on before the golden goal was scored). In October, 1915, German football championship play was suspended, due to World War I, and 5 seasons ended up being lost. The German football championship competition was re-started in 1920, and Fürth picked up where they left off, as one of the dominant teams of the era. So in 1920, Fürth found themselves back in the final, versus none other than local rival 1. FC Nuremburg. But Nuremburg were in the midst of an 104-game unbeaten streak, and beat Fürth 2-0 in Frankfurt. These two clubs were so dominant during this time-period that in 1924, the national team was made up of players exclusively from SpVgg Fürth and FC Nuremburg. The 2 sets of players slept in separate rail cars, which was indicative of the fierce rivalry between the two clubs. In 1926, Fürth won their second German title, beating Hertha Berlin 2-0 in Frankfurt. Fürth’s third and last German title was won 3 years later, in 1929, again at the expense of Hertha Berlin, and in a stadium just a few kilometers from their home-base, with Fürth winning 3-2 in front of 50,000 in Club-Stadion im Zabo in Nuremburg.

German football was re-organized in 1933 under the Third Reich into the Gauliga (1933-45). The national championship was still decided by a knockout tournament, but there were now 16 districts {see this, ‘Gauliga/ Overview [with map]‘ (}. SpVgg Fürth began playing in the Gauliga Bayern. But Fürth’s moment had passed and the squads that replaced the championship-winning squads of the 1920s were only able to win one Gauliga Bayern title (in 1934-35), and never progressed to another national championship final.

After the fall of the Third Reich, with Allied occupation in the south, center, and west of the Teutonic lands, and Soviet occupation in the east, postwar German football comprised West Germany’s 5 Oberligen, and East Germany’s separate system {see this, ‘Oberliga Süd/ Overview [with map]‘ ( Fürth began playing in Oberliga Süd, where they struggled, and 3 seasons in, in 1947-48, they were relegated to Landesliga Bayern [a present-day 3rd division league]. Fürth returned to Oberliga Süd the next season, and in 1949-50 as a newly-promoted-side, Fürth won the 1950 Oberliga Süd title. That season Fürth made it as far as the semifinals in the 1950 national playoffs, losing 4-1 to VfB Stuttgart. Four years later, two Fürth players, Karl Mai and Herbert Erhardt, were members of the 1954 German national football team that upset Hungary in Bern, Swirzerland to win the 1954 FIFA World Cup title.

With the long-overdue creation of a national football league in Germany in 1963-64 [official name: Fußball-Bundesliga], Fürth did not qualify as one of the then-sixteen teams that made up the new national first division. So they found themselves playing second division football in the Regionalliga Süd, where they were generally a mid-table side whose best finish was in third place in 1967. A national second division – 2.Bundesliga – was formed in 1974, with SpVgg Fürth as one of it’s charter members. One decade later, SpVgg Fürth were relegated to the regional 3rd division, then slipped again, to the fourth division, in 1987. They returned to the 3rd division in 1991, and after national lower divisional re-organization in 1994, Fürth became part of the thrd incarnation of Regionalliga Süd.

Meanwhile, a small village team from the western end of the city of Fürth was moving up the ladder. TSV Vestenbergsgreuth, established 1974, began as a 4th division club. In 1987, TSV Vestenbergsgreuth won promotion to the 3rd division just as SpVgg Fürth were being relegated to the 4th division. By the mid 1990s, both clubs were playing at about the same level in the 3rd division. For financial considerations, and for a chance to become a bigger and more successfil club, a merger seemed logical, and so in 1996, SpVgg Greuther Fürth was created, the ‘Greuther’ in the new name reflecting the TSV Vestenbergsgreuth heritage. The re-constituted club’s new crest included the wooden shoe from the Vestenbergsgreuth crest to indicate that the new club was more than just a continuation of SpVgg Fürth. The new club won promotion to 2.Bundesliga in it’s first season as Greuther Fürth (in 1996-97), finishing in 2nd in the division, right behind long-term-rival FC Nuremberg. Then, for a decade and a half, Greuther Fürth became a mainstay in the top half of the table in the German second division (with the exception of 2009-10, when they finished in 11th place). In December, 2009, former Fortuna Düsseldorf and FC Schalke MF Mike Büskens took over as manager of Greuther Fürth. In the season after that, in 2010-11, Greuther Fürth finished in 4th place in 2.Bundesliga, missing out at a shot at the Bundesliga promotion/relegation playoff finals by 4 points. By this point in time, Greuther Fürth was the longest-serving member of the German 2nd division. So it was a natural progression, after 15 seasons, for Fürth to finally get promoted in 2012-13. Quebec, Canada-born Olivier Occéan powered Fürth to the 2. Bundesliga title on the strength of his league best 17 goals (in 30 appearances, with 9 assists). But in July 2012, Occéan was sold to another newly promoted (and much bigger) club, Eintracht Frankfurt. Also important to Fürth’s successful promotion-campaign last season was FW Chrisopher Nöthe, who netted 13 league goals (in 26 appearances). Nöthe returns for the 2012-13 season. Other crucial members of the promotion-winning-squad last season (all of whom have returned for 2012-13) – 26-year-old captain, Defender Mërgim Mavraj, an Albania international; Kazhakstan-born/ethnic German Midfielder Heinrich Schmidtgal; the Münich, Bavaria-born former Bayern Munich youth team player, Midfielder Stephan Fürstner; and last but not least, the Winger Gerald Asamoah, who played 279 times for Schalke, and who came over from FC St. Pauli in the January 2012 transfer window, and scored 5 goals in 10 games for Fürth last spring.

Greuther Fürth are a pretty small club for Bundesliga standards – the Trolli Arena only had a capacity of around 15,000, and over the summer that capacity has been increased by 3,000 or so to a 18,500 capacity. Greuther Fürth averaged 10,909 last season, while the average attendance in the Bundesliga last season was 45,116. It remains to be seen whether Fürth will be able to survive in the German top flight as a club drawing less than 25,000, as other similar sized Bundesliga clubs like SC Freiburg are, and like FSV Mainz were. Freiburg still play in a small stadium (24,000 capacity), but Mainz built the 34,000-capacity Coface Arena in 2011, a move that has helped their chances of survival in Bundesliga immensely. Starting with their first division debut in 2004-05, Mainz have played 7 seasons in Bundesliga in 2 different spells, and won promotion both times with present-day Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp. Mainz drew around 20K per game in their last 2 seasons at their old arena, and drew 32,792 last season at the Coface Arena, when they finished in 10th place, after a 13th-place finish in 2010-11. Coface Arena, which was built by and is owned b, FSV Mainz, is not a bowl stadium, as too many large modern football stadiums are, and it’s designers looked to the high stands of traditional English football grounds as inspiration. Just think what amount of security that extra twelve-thousand tickets sold per home game means to Mainz. Freiburg had the lowest attendance in Bundesliga last season at 22,618 per game, and still managed to stay safe of the drop-zone (Freiburg finished in 11th place in 2012-13). But Freiburg have had 2 relegations and 2 promotions since 2002 and their total number of seasons spent in Bundesliga is 13 seasons – in other words, Freiburg are a club that could be on the verge of becoming a yo-yo club. It would seem that having attendances in the 18k to 24K range would significantly contribute to making a club’s long-term Bundesliga status unsustainable.

Here is a preview of Greuther Fürth’s 2012-13 Bundesliga team, from, from 17 August 2012, by Rick Joshua, ‘Season Preview – SpVgg Greuther Fürth – Bundesliga Bow for Die Kleeblätter‘.

Eintracht Frankfurt are from Frankfurt, in the state of Hesse. Their colors are red and black and they are known as die Adler (the Eagles), after the city of Frankfurt’s city seal, the one-headed imperial eagle, which dates back to the 13th century {see this ( Frankfurt/Colours, crest and nicknames); }. The word Eintracht translates as ‘unity’.

The official name for the city of Frankfurt is Frankfurt am Main, which means Frankfurt on the [River] Main. Frankfurt is Germany’s 5th largest city, with a city population of 679,000 {2010 figures}. Frankfurt is part of the second-largest metropolitan region in Germany, Frankfurt Rhine-Main, which has a population of around 5.8 million. Frankfurt is a world center for finance. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is the world’s 12th-largest stock exchange by market capitalization. Frankfurt is really expensive to live in – it is the 10th-most expensive city to live in in the world, according to The Economist, ‘Worlds Most Expensive Places To Live Is,,,[Zurich]‘.

In 1911, the club now known as Eintracht Frankfurt was the result of the merger of two different Frankfurt-based clubs (both of which formed in 1899 – Frankfurter Fußball-Club Viktoria von 1899 and Frankfurter Fußball-Club Kickers von 1899). These two clubs merged in May 1911 to become Frankfurter Fußball Verein (Kickers-Viktoria), better known as Frankfurter FV. The merger was an instantaneous success, with Frankfurter FV winning the 1912, the 1913, and the 1914 Nordkreis-Liga titles (the Nordkreis-Liga was the top football league of Hesse-Nassau and the Grand Duchy of Hesse, from 1908 to 1918). In 1920, Frankfurter FV joined the gymnastics club Frankfurter Turngemeinde von 1861 to form TuS Eintracht Frankfurt von 1861. But 7 years later, in 1927, the two went their separate ways, and the football-club-branch became known as Sportgemeinde Eintracht Frankfurt (FFV) von 1899. SGE Frankfurt won some regional trophies in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and the club competed for the first time deeper into the national knockout championships, making it to the quarterfinals in 1930 and 1931, then making it to the final in 1932. In the 1932 German national championship final, (at the present-day Frankenstadion) in Nuremburg, Eintracht Frankfurt lost to Bayern Munich 2-0. This was the first of Bayern Munich’s record 21 German titles.

Following the 1933 Nazi take-over in Germany and the re-organization of football leagues into the 16 Gauligen, Frankfurt played first division football in the Gauliga Südwest/Mainhessen, consistently finishing in the upper half of the table and winning their division in 1938, but never getting to the latter stages of the national championship tournament.

Following World War II, Frankfurt was placed in the Oberliga Süd (1945–63). Their first 7 years they never challenged for a title, then they won the 1953 Oberliga Süd title. The Eintracht squad of this time-period featured Frankfurt-born MF Alfred Pfaff, who joined the team in 1949 after being on the club’s youth team. {Here is a color photo of Pfaff that shows the striking white jersey with red-collar-and-placket that Eintracht Frankfurt wore in the 1950s (}. Pfaff would play 12 seasons for Eintracht Frankfurt, with 301 appearances and 103 goals. Pfaff would also get 7 German caps and go on to be a member of the German national team that pulled off their shock World Cup victory in Switzerland in 1954. 5 years later, in 1958-59, with Alfred Pfaff as captain and playmaker, Eintracht Frankfurt won the Oberiga-Süd for the second time, then went all the way to the national tournament final, where, as fate would have it, they played their local rivals, Kickers Offenbach. [Kickers Offenbach are a club located just east of Frankfurt in Offenback am Main, and are currently a 3rd division club with 7 seasons played in Bundesliga (last in 1983-84), with one major title, the 1970 DFB-Pokal title.]. In the 1959 German national championship final group rounds, Eintracht had won all 6 matches in the first stage, which was an 8-team/2-group/6-matches-per-team-round-robin set-up (with group winners advancing to the final). The final was played in front of 75,000 in Olympiastadion in Berlin. It was a classic. In the first minute, Hungarian FW István Sztáni netted for Eintracht Frankfurt. Kickers Offenbach responded in the 8th minute, with FW Berti Kraus scoring. Eintracht FW Eckehard Feigenspan put Frankfurt back ahead in the 14th minute, but then MF Helmut Preisendörfer evened the score again in the 23rd minute. It stayed knotted at 2-2 straight to the 90th minute, and extra time was needed [the format: 30 minutes added extra time, with no golden goal; then a re-play if necessary]. In AET, Eckehard Feigenspan converted a penalty in the 93rd minute to make it 3-2 Eintracht. Then it was 4-2 for Eintracht in the 108th minute when István Sztáni scored again, for a brace. Kickers, though, weren’t down yet, and made it 4-3 through a goal by FW Siegfried Gast in the 110th minute. But in the 119th minute, Eckehard Feigenspan scored again for the hat trick, sealing it for die Adler (the Eagles), 5-3. In the photo below, Alfred Pfaff is seen at center raising the trophy during the post-match celebrations there in Berlin.
Image credit above -Image from video uploaded by darkgeek2011, ‘Deutscher Meister 1959 – Eintracht Frankfurt – HD – 2012.wmv [1:13 video]‘. Image above is from a black and white photo {from:}, which was color-tinted by Olaf Dieters, at

In the 1959-60 European Cup competition – the 5th season of the tournament that is now called the UEFA Champions League – Eintraccht Frankfurt recieved a de-facto bye in the preliminary round when KuPS (of Finland) withdrew. In late November 1959, in the 1st Round, Eintracht drew the Swiss club Young Boys, and won 4-1 in the 1st leg at the Wankdorf in Bern, Switzerland in front of 35,000. The 2nd leg was at Eintracht’s then-55,000-capacity Waldstadion (now called Commerzbank Arena with a 51.5K capacity). The crowd of around 40,000 saw Eintracht play it safe with their 3-goal lead and draw 1-1 to advance. The Quartefinals in March 1960 had Eintracht matched up with the (now-third-division) Austrian club Wiener Sportclub. Ist leg went 2-1 to Eintracht in Frankfurt, again in front of around 40K. The 2nd leg, in front of 50,000 in Vienna’s Praterstadion [now called Ernst-Happel-Stadion)] saw Wiener Sportclub even the aggregate score, with a goal in the 31st minute. Then Eintracht Frankfurt’s FW Erwin Stein secured the aggregate-winning goal in the 59th minute.

That put Eintracht Frankfurt into the Semifinals in April 1960, where they were matched up against Glasgow Rangers. [The other European Cup Semifinalists in April 1960 were Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and Real Madrid won that aggregate by the score of 6-2, with Alfredo Di Stéfano scoring twice, Ferenc Puskás scoring three times, and Francisco Gento scoring once for the all-whites].

On 13 April 1960, Eintracht destroyed Rangers 6-1 in the 1st leg, in front of an overflow crowd of 70,000 in Frankfurt. For the first half the match however, it was a tight affair, with Dieter Stinka of Frankfurt scoring in the 29th, closely followed by Eric Cadlow’s penalty conversion 2 minutes later for Rangers. But in the second half, the midfield wizard Alfred Pfaff took over, and scored a brace in five minutes, netting in the 51st and the 55th minutes. Then Dieter Lindner scored twice in 12 minutes (73′, 84′), and Erwin Stein added Frankfurt’s 6th goal in the 86th minute. The 2nd leg, on 5 May 1960 at Ibrox in Glasgow before 70,000, saw Eintracht Frankfurt score 6 again, for a 6-1 win and a final aggregate score of 12-4. Here were the goals…Rangers – John McMillan 10′, 54′; David Wilson 74′. Frankfurt – Eric Lindner 6′; Alfred Pfaff 20′, 88′; Richard Kreß 28′; Erich Meier 58′, 71′.

So on 18 May 1960, it was Real Madrid versus Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup final. Eintracht again traveled to Glasgow – this time to the Scottish national football stadium Hampden Park (current capacity of around 52,000). A vast overflow crowd of 126,671 watched the match. {Here is the match-day programme for the 1960 European Cup. Check out what the official match-day programme of the 1960 European Cup Final describes the match as… it reads [on the bottom of the cover of the programme], ‘EINTRACHT, Frankfurt v. REAL MADRID’. So even the folks who put the programme together thought Frankfurt were over-matched, seeing as how they didn’t use all-caps for the German club’s name like they did for the Spanish giants. The strange employment of the comma between Eintracht and Frankfurt is pretty interesting too.}.

From uploaded by Canal de Fútbol Retro Os Clá, ‘Real Madrid 7–3 Eintracht Frankfurt (1959–60 European Cup [a 6:01 video of 1960 BBC newsreel]. Alfred Di Stéfano scored a hat trick for Real Madrid, and the all-time greatest Hungarian footballer, Ferenc Puskás, scored 4 goals. Eintracht started brightly, though, with Richard Kress scoring in the 18th minute. But then the Argentine-born Di Stéfano swiftly netted 2 goals in 3 minutes (27′, 30′), and Puskás made it 3-1 at 45′+1. Puskás then scored in the 56th, the 60th, and the 71st minutes. Erwin Stein got one back for Frankfurt with a goal in the 72nd minute, but Di Sréfano answered back a minute later. Erwin Stein then scored 2 minutes after that, and the score stayed at 7-3, and Real Madrid had won their 5th straight European title.

Who knows if that defeat injured some deep part of the collective psyche of Eintracht Frankfurt. The fact remains that Eintracht Frankfurt have never won another national title, and have, for such a relatively large club, only managed essentially to become a Cup-specialist club that’s last major title was won a quarter of a century ago. Which is the main reason that one of Eintracht Frankfurt’s nicknames is die Launische Diva, which translates as the moody diva.

2012-13 will be Eintracht Frankfurt’s 44th season in Bundesliga…
Image credit above – Eintracht Frankfurt/Founding member of the Bundesliga {

After the disappointment of their loss in the 1960 European Cup final, Eintracht Frankfurt remained a solid team for several years. The side earned themselves a place as one of the original 16 teams selected to play in the inaugural season of Bundesliga, in 1963-64. Eintracht initially played Bundesliga football for 35 seasons straight, finishing in the top half of the table more often than not. But the closest the Eagles have come to a second German title were the 5 times they ended up with 3rd place finishes, and the nearest they got to putting their hands back on the ‘Salad Bowl‘ was in 1991-92, when they finished in 3rd place, only two points back of champion VfB Stuttgart (Borussia Dortmund finished in second place that season).

Eintracht Frankfurt have won 4 DFB-Pokal titles – in 1974 by a score of 3-1 (aet) over Hamburger SV in front of 52,000 in Düsseldorf; in 1975 [defending their title] by a score of 1-0 over Duisburg in front of 43,000 in Hannover; in 1981 by a score of 3-1 over Kaiseslautern in front of 70,000 in Stuttgart; and in 1988 by a score of 1-0 over Bochum in front of 76,000 in West Berlin. Eintracht Frankfurt have been relegated 4 times to 2.Bundesliga. Their last relegation, in 2011-12, saw the Eagles rebound immediately. Their promotion campaigh was helmed by former Stuttgart, Wolfsburg, and Hamburger SV manager Armin Veh, who took over at Frankfurt on 30 May 2011. Last season Frankfurt drew 37,641 per game, which was highest in the second division; and in their last season in Bundesliga, in 2010-11, Frankfurrt drew 47,335. That was good enough for the 6th-highest average attendance 2 years ago. The 6th best attendance in the country and no titles in 25 years…sounds like a slightly-higher-drawing version of Aston Villa to me.

Here is Bundesliga’s post on Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2012-13 team, from 22 August 2012, by Niklas Wildhagen, ‘Season preview – Eintracht Frankfurt – The Eagles have landed‘.

Fortuna Düsseldorf are from Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Düsseldorf’s city population is around 588,000 {2010 figure}, which puts the city as the 7th-largest in Germany. Düsseldorf is part of the largest metro area in Germany, the Rhine- Ruhr. The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region has a population of around 11.31 million {2011 figure}. Düsseldorf is basically is in the cente of the region (geographically and politically).

The Rhine-Ruhr is a metropolitan region which was once the industrial center of Germany for over one hundred years, starting at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, to the late post-War period of the 20th century. The Rhine-Ruhr is named after the Rhine and Ruhr rivers, on whose banks there grew so much of the heavy industry that initially forged Germany’s industrial might. There are usually 5 or 6 clubs each season in the Bundesliga that are from the Rhine-Ruhr metro region. For 2012-13, with Köln having been relegated out and Fortuna Düsseldorf having been promoted in, there will again be 5 clubs in Bundesliga which are from the Rhine-Ruhr – Bayer Leverkusen, FC Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Möenchengladbach, and Fortuna Düsseldorf. You can see a map I made of these 5 clubs’ locations within the Rhine-Ruhr region {here}.

Before the Industrial Revolution, dating back to the Middle Ages, Cologne, Dortmund and other cities in the region were important trading cities, but by the 19th century the city of Düsseldorf grew to become the administrative center of the region and since 1945, it’s political capital. Today, the Rhine-Ruhr metro region accounts for around 15% of the GDP of the German economy, which would place it as the 3rd largest GRP (Gross Rating Point) of metropolitan areas in the European Union and the 16th largest GDP in the world. The problem is, the Rhine-Ruhr presents no unified image to the outside world – neither as a sort of mega-city or as a region – and the cities and sub-regions that make up the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area often end up competing with each other through separate economic policies.

The roots of Fortuna Düsseldorer Turn-und Sportverein Fortuna 1895 are in the former working class neighborhood in the eastern part of Düsseldorf, called Flingern, and now called Düsseldorf-Flingern. That is where Gymnastics club Turnverein Flingern was formed, on 5 May 1895. This club never fielded a football team. On 5 November 1919, TV Flingern merged with Düsseldorfer Fußball-Club Fortuna 1911 to form Düsseldorfer Turn-und Sportverein Fortuna. Let’s back-track 6 years to see where Düsseldorfer F-C Fortuna 1911, better known as Fortuna 1911, first entered league play…In 1913, Fortuna 1911 had began play in the 3rd division of the Westdeutsche Fußballmeisterschaft (West German football championship). [ 'Western German football championship', {excerpt from it's en.wikipedia page}...'The Western German football championship was the highest association football competition in Western Germany, in the Prussian Province of Westphalia, the Rhine Province, the northern parts of the province of Hesse-Nassau as well as the Principality of Lippe... The competition was disbanded in [the late summer of] 1933 with the rise of the Nazis to power.’…{end of excerpt} .].

In 1922, Fortuna Düsseldorf made it to the the first division in the Gauliga Berg Mark, and remained there until the German football league re-organization in 1933. In 1924, MF Ernst Albrecht began playing for Fortuna Düsseldorf. Albrecht would play two decades for the club (up until 1944), and was a German international.

Image credit above – 1925 Fortuna Dussweldorf crest uploaded by Fortuna Family at

In 1927, Fortuna won its first honours as a first tier side: they captured a district level Bezirksliga title. Three more district league titles followed, and in 1931 Fotuna Düsseldorf won the Western German football championship, defeating VfB Bielefeld. But their German national football championship tournament run ended with a second-round defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. Two years later, though, in 1933, Fortuna Düsseldorf, as runners-up in their league, qualified for the national tournament. That year, Fortuna went all the way in the 16-team-knockout tournament to the final, where they would face FC Schalke 04. It was the first appearance in the German final for both clubs, and it was a re-match of the 1933 Western German football championship final played earlier that spring, which Schalke had won 1-0.

In the 1933 German national football championship tournament, Düsseldorf had steamrolled through the early rounds, not conceding a goal. First they beat Vorwärts RaSpo Gleiwitz 9-0 in Düsseldorf in the 1st Round. Then Fortuna beat SV Arminia Hannover 3-0 in Hannover in the Quarterfinals. Then Fortuna beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 in Berlin in the Semifinals. In the 1933 German national championship final, on 11 June 1933 in front of 60,000 at the Müngersdorfer Stadium in Cologne, over 20,000 Düsseldorf supporters made the short trip south to Cologne to cheer on their team. Düsseldorf started off strong, and in the 10th minute, FW Felix Zwolanowski scored for Düsseldorf. Schalke never got into their rhythm, but the match was still a tense affair for the Fortuna faithful until MF Paul Mehl made it 2-0 in the 70th minute. And then MF Georg Hochgesang scored in the 85th minute to make it 3-0 and seal the first (and the only) national title for Fortuna Düsseldorf.

With their 1933 German title, Fortuna Düsseldorf became the first club from the industrial Rhine-Ruhr region to win a national title. Here is a pretty nice map from the German Wikipedia that shows all the German national champions (including East German champions), with the years of their tiles, ‘Karte-Deutsche-Fussballmeister.png‘.

At this point in time (June, 1933), the Nazis had taken over in Germany. A complete football league re-organization starting in the 1933-34 season saw Fortuna Düsseldorf placed in the Gauliga Niederrhein, one of 16 top-flight divisions formed in the re-organization of German football under the Third Reich. Düsseldorf dominated the division in the the late 1930s, with 5 first-place finishes from 1936 to 1940. In only one of those seasons, though, did they advance far in the national tournament – in 1936. By 1936, the format in the national tournament had changed from knockout to round-robin. Fortuna made it to the 1936 final after going 5 and 1 in their group, then winning their semifinal match versus the Silesian club Vorwärts-Rasensport Gleiwitz (a club that was located in present-day Gliwice, Poland). But in the final, Düsseldorf fell 2-1 to FC Nuremburg in front of 70,000 in Berlin.

The following season, 1936-37, Fortuna had a good cup run in the Tschammerpokal, the predecessor of today’s DFB-Pokal (German Cup), that saw them reach the final, but they fell to their nearby rivals Schalke, by a score of 2-1 before 70,000 in Cologne. Following league re-organization after World War II, Fortuna Düsseldorf was placed in Oberliga West (1947-63). Fortuna never challenged during this time period and played as a lower-to-mid table side. But the club did make three appearances in the final of the recently-instituted DRFB-Pokal (German Cup, est. 1953). Fortuna Düsseldorf made it to the DFB-Pokal final in 1957, in 1958, and in 1962, but lost all 3 finals – in 1953 to Bayern Munich by a score of 1-0 in front of 42,000 in Augsburg; in 1958 to VfB Stuttgart, agonizingly, by a score of 4-3 in added extra time, in front of 28,000 in Kassel; and in 1962 to FC Nuremberg 2-1, also in added extra time front of 41,000 in Hannover).

In 1953, Fortuna Düsseldorf began playing in the Rheinstadion, which was built in 1925. It had a capacity of 42,500 during this era. It was expanded to 78,000 capacity in 1974, and in it’s latter years the capacity was 55,000. The club played there up until 2001-02. [The stadium was also home of the NFL Europe team the Rhein Fire from 1995 to 2001.] It was the home ground for Fortuna Düsseldorf from 1953–1970 and 1972–2002.

All those years of second-division status and mid-table mediocrity for Fortuna Düsseldorf meant that, with the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963-64, Düsseldorf were not ranked high enough to be among the 16 clubs that comprised the first season of Germany’s national league. So in 1963-64, Fortuna Düsseldorf began play in the Regionalliga West (1963–74). 3 years later, Düsseldorf won promotion to Bundesliga. But their stay lasted one season, 1966-67, and it was was back to the second division. Four years after that, Düsseldorf were back in the Bundesliga, and this time they stayed for a good while – 16 seasons (1971-72 to 1986-87) – and that included two third place league finishes (in 1972-73 and 1973-74). In 1977, Düsseldorf made it to their fourth DFB-Pokal final, but they again lost, this time to Cup-holders Köln (ie, Cologne), 2-0 in front of 70,000 at Parkstadion in Gelsenkirchen. But the next season, 1978-79, Fortuna Düsseldorf returned to the DFB-Pokal final, and finally won the Cup in their 5th attempt. In Hannover at the Niedersachsenstadion (now called AWD Arena), before 56,000, Düsseldorf faced Hertha Berlin. They needed added extra time to win it, with FW Wolfgang Seel scoring in the 116th minute. Fortuna Düsseldorf then repeated the trick as Cup-holders the next year, defending their title against the club that had beaten them in the cup final 2 years before – Köln – in front of 65,000 in Gelsenkirchen. Köln took the lead in the 26th minute on a goal by MF Bernhard Cullmann, but two second half goals by Düsseldorf within a space 5 minutes – by MF Rüdiger Wenzl in the 60th minute and by FW Thomas Allofs in the 65th minute – sealed the win for Düsseldorf. That was the last major title for Düsseldorf.

Since then Fortuna Düsseldorf have really bounced up and down the ladder. Since 1971 to 2011, Fortuna Düsseldorf have been in the first division for 3 different spells, in the second division for 5 different spells, in the third division for 3 different spells, and in the fourth division for one spell.
Below: Fortuna Düsseldorf – Leagues and Levels Since August, 1971…
1971–1987 Bundesliga (1st tier/ relegated).
1987–1989 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ promoted).
1989–1992 Bundesliga (1st tier/ relegated).
1992–1993 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ relegated).
1993–1994 Oberliga Nordrhein (3rd tier/ promoted).
1994–1995 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ promoted).
1995–1997 Bundesliga (1st tier/ relegated).
1997–1999 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ relegated).
1999–2000 Regionalliga West/Südwest (3rd tier, league-name-change see below).
2000–2002 Regionalliga Nord (3rd tier/ relegated).
2002–2004 Oberliga Nordrhein (4th tier/ promoted).
2004–2008 Regionalliga Nord (3rd tier, league-name-change, see below).
2008–2009 3. Liga (3rd tier/ promoted).
2009–2012 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ promoted).
2012–Present Bundesliga (1st tier).
In May, 2012, Fortuna Düsseldorf won promotion back to Bundesliga, after 15 years in the lower leagues, by beating Hertha Berlin by 4-3 aggregate score. The atmosphere at the 2nd leg in Düsseldorf was insane, with traveling Hertha fans shooting flares, which cause the referees to add 7 minutes. Hertha were threatening to score and even up the aggregate, when, with about a minute of added time left, Fortuna Düsseldorf fans stormed the field. It took 21 minutes to restore order, and stoppage time ended up being 28 minutes, by the time the final whistle blew. The pitch invasion very well might have been the reason Düsseldorf got promoted, but in the end, it cost the club a fine of 150,000 Euros, and a partial crowd exclusion for their first 2 home matches (versus Borussia Möenchengladbach on 1 September 2012, and versus Freiburg on 22 September 2012), which must now be played before a crowd restricted to 25,000 of home fans and 5,00 of visiting fans (which means a subtraction of probably at least 20,000 of crowd in total, and maybe as much as 45,000) (see links below).

From Dirty, from 16 May 2012, By Brooks Peck, ‘Fortuna Dusseldorf fans storm pitch before playoff actually ends‘.

From Fortuna Düsseldorf official site, from 16 August 2012, [translated], ‘Fortuna Düsseldorf accepted partial exclusion judgment‘.

From Deutsche Welle (, ‘Fortuna shines on Düsseldorf

Fortuna Düsseldorf’s 2012 promotion to Bundesliga means that they are the only club in German history to get back to the Bundesliga after being in the fourth division. Counting 2012-13, Fortuna Düsseldorf have played 23 seasons in Bundesliga. If you wanted to be sarcastic, you could call them a three-division-yo-yo-club, but I think their days of being stuck in the regional leagues of the lower divisions are gone. I say that because I think the futuristic stadium that Düsseldorf now play in, and all their thousands of new supporters (see below), will give them some staying power (Esprit Arena, with a capacity of 54,000, was built by the city of Düsseldorf, and opened in September 2004). This is a club that has pulled itself out of a 4.9 milion Euros debt – which has now been fully paid back. And this is a club that has seen their average attendance rise 18 thousand in a 5-year period.
Here are Fortuna Düsseldorf’s home average attendances (from league matches) from the last 5 seasons…
2007-08, Fortuna drew 12,682 per game (in the third division).
2008-09, Fortuna drew 14,875 per game (in the third division/promoted).
2009-10, Fortuna drew 28,001 per game (in the second division).
2010-11, Fortuna drew 21,486 per game (in the second division).
2011-12, Fortuna drew 31,900 per game (in the second division/promoted).

I am not saying Düsseldorf are a sure thing to avoid being immediately relegated back to the second tier, though. After all, the club has had to start the 2012-13 Bundesliga season with 16 new players, and 24 of Fortuna’s goals from last season were by 2 players – Sasch Rösler and Maximillian Beister – who are no longer there (Rosler retired, then decided to play for 3rd division club Aachen this season; and Beister had been on loan from Hamburger SV and has returned there). Fortuna Düsseldorf’s manager, former Werder Bremen MF Norbert Meier, has been in charge since January 2008, and has moved Düsseldorf up two divisions since then. Here is an interview from Bindesliga from 17 July 2012, by Niklas Wildhagen, ‘Interview – Norbert Meier‘.

From SB Nation, from 21 August 2012, by Phillip Quinn, ‘Bundesliga Previews: Fortuna Düsseldorf’.
Photo credits on the map page -
Fortuna Düsseldorf/ Esprit Arena – Aerial photo of area around Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf by Messe Düsseldorf GmbH at Aerial image from’s Eye satellite view. Photo of exterior of Esprit Arena with Düsseldorf rail connection by Jörg Wiegels, Düsseldorf at Photo of Düsseldoef fans queueing for 2010-11 season match by Falk Janning at Photo of Fortuna Düsseldorf fans with banners, scarves, and beers from Photo of Fortuna Düsseldorf fans’ pitch invasion on 15 May 2012 in Relegation Playoff 2nd leg from

Eintracht Frankfurt/ Commerzbank-Arena – Aerial photo of Frankfurt skyline with Commerzbank Arena in foreground by Heidas at Aerial photo from Intreior photo (panoramic photo) of Commerzbank Arena by Schlixn at Photo of Eintracht Frankfurt fans with flags and banners from

Greuther Fürth/ Trolli Arena – Aerial image from’s Eye satellite view. Aerial photo [unattributed] downloaded by actu.stades to Interior photo showing construction to expand South Stand (in 2012) from via Photo from 2 August 2012 of Trolli Arena expansion from Photo of Fürth players acknowledging home support from Photo of civic celebration following Fürth’s promotion (29 April 2012) by Hans-Joachim Winckler at Night-time photo of Fürth promotion celebration from Photo of Greuther Fürth 2012-13 home jersey badge from

Thanks to
Thanks to European Football for attendance data from 2007-08,
Thanks to for attendance data from 2008-09 to 2012-13,
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at for attendance data from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s – ‘DFB-Pokal‘. ‘List of German football champions‘.
Thanks to for the base map.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress