billsportsmaps.com

December 17, 2017

NFL 1957 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Detroit Lions./+ 1957 NFL attendance data & info on 1957 NFL teams’ uniforms.

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NFL 1957 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Detroit Lions



By Bill Turianski on 17 December 2017 twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-1957 NFL season
-1957 Detroit Lions season (en.wikipedia.org).
-1957 NFL season (pro-football-reference.com).
-1957 NFL Teams [illustrations of uniforms of the 12 NFL teams of 1957] (gridiron-uniforms.com).

The map… The map, done in the style of 1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1957. Final standings for the 1957 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map. Home helmets and jerseys are shown alongside the standings. There also is a small section devoted to 1957 NFL attendance data. At the top-right of the map-page is a section devoted to the 1957 NFL champions, the Detroit Lions (also see the next 6 paragraphs and the illustration below). At the far-right-hand-center of the map page, are 1957 Offensive leaders in the following categories: QB Rating & Passing Yards & Passing TDs: Johnny Unitas, Colts. Rushing Yards & Rushing TDs: Jim Brown, Browns. Total Yards from Scrimmage & total TDs: Lenny Moore, Colts. Receiving Yards: Raymond Berry, Colts.

The 1957 Detroit Lions are champions, demolishing the Cleveland Browns 59-14, and winning their third NFL title in 6 years.
During the 1950s, in just a 6-year span, the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns faced each other 4 times in the NFL title game. They had previously met in 1952, 1953, and 1954, with Detroit winning in close games in ’52 and ’53, and with Cleveland winning big in ’54. But in 1957, the underdog Detroit Lions won big over the Cleveland Browns, 59-14, thanks to 5 turnovers and the steady leadership of back-up QB Tobin Rote.

The betting line was Browns by 3 points, and the Las Vegas odds-makers probably gave that 3 point edge to Cleveland because it was a case of a veteran coach (Paul Brown) versus a rookie coach (the Lions’ George Wilson). And also, the Lions’ team leader and longtime-QB, Bobby Layne, was out injured. And looking at the regular season stats, Detroit had, on paper, a mediocre +20 points difference, which was only 6th-best in the league that year. But the Browns had never won in Detroit. Plus, the Lions were the hottest team in the league at that point, having won their last 4 games, and 6 of 7 (including beating Cleveland 20-7 in week 11). And the Lions were coming off a Tobin-Rote-led 24-point comeback-win over the 49ers, in the Western Conference tiebreaker playoff game, a week earlier. So, the oddsmkers might have thought Cleveland were favorites, but there were plenty of signs pointing to a Detroit win.

1957 NFL Championship Game: Detroit Lions 59, Cleveland Browns 14…
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Photo and Image credits above – Aerial photo of Briggs Stadium, circa mid-1950s, photo from Virtual Motor City via photos.metrotimes.com. Detroit Lions 1950s-era logo [2014 retro-redesign], image from irononlogo.com. Interior shot of Briggs Stadium, circa mid-1950s, photo by Wayne State University via Virtual Motor City via photos.metrotimes.com. Photo of Tobin Rote [in 1957 NFL title game], by Marvin E. Newman at gettyimages.com. Illustrations of Lions and Browns 1957 helmets, by gridiron-uniforms.com/[1957]. Bobby Layne, on crutches, hugs Tobin Rote post-game, photo by AP via freep.com. Detroit Free Press front page [Dec. 30 1957], photo from freep.com.

Aided by two 1st-quarter turnovers (1 FR, 1 INT), all 3 possessions by the Lions in the first quarter led to scores (1 FG, and then two 1-yard-TD-runs: the first by QB Tobin Rote, and then another 1-yard-TD by HB Gene Gedman). Then, early in the 2nd quarter, Detroit pulled a trick play…Tobin Rote, who was also the place-holder for Field Goal attempts, called for a fake-FG in the huddle. It resulted in a 26-yard TD pass to End Steve Junker. That made it 24-7, and the rout was on. A 19-yard interception for a TD, by Lions DB Terry Barr, gave the Lions a 24-point lead at halftime (31-7). In the 2nd half, the Browns scored an early 3rd quarter TD, but the Lions answered with 4 TD passes, 3 by Rote, and the final TD pass by 3rd-string QB Jerry Reichow. In the 3rd quarter, Rote threw a stupendous 78-yard-pass to End Jim Doran, and then a 23-yard-TD-pass to Steve Junker. In the 4th quarter, Rote threw a 32-yd-TD-pass to End Dave Middleton. And so, with the game safely in hand, Rote was substituted for Reichow, who then threw a 16-yard TD pass to HB Howard ‘Hopalong’ Cassady. Final score: Lions 59, Browns 14.

The 45-point margin of victory by the Lions made it the most lopsided NFL title game since the Bears’ 73-0 win over Washington in 1940. The Lions had won their fourth (and last) NFL title.

1957 Detroit Lions: 3 All-Pro players; plus 7 from the ’57 Lions that were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Note: All-Pro, below, means: 1957 AP, 1st team.
-Jack Christiansen (DB/KR): 1957 All-Pro; Christiansen was inducted into the HoF in 1970.
-Joe Schmidt (MLB): 1957 All-Pro; Schmidt was inducted into the HoF in 1973.
-Lou Creekmur (OT): 1957 All-Pro; Creekmur was inducted into the HoF in 1996.
-Bobby Layne (QB); Layne was inducted into the HoF in 1969.
-Yale Lary (DB/P); Lary was inducted into the HoF in 1979.
-Frank Gatski (C); Gatski was inducted into the HoF in 1985.
-John Henry Johnson (FB); Johnson was inducted into the HoF in 1987.

Two games into the next season (1958), the Lions front-office decided to stick with Tobin Rote, and part with the older and more expensive Bobby Layne. Layne was traded to the basement-dwelling Pittsburgh Steelers, and it is said that an incensed Layne predicted that the Lions would not win another championship for 50 years. He was right. The Detroit Lions have gone 1-10 in the playoffs since 1957, and are the oldest NFL franchise that has never won a Super Bowl title. They haven’t even made it to a Super Bowl: the closest that the Detroit Lions have ever got to a Super Bowl appearance was a loss to Washington in the 1991 NFC championship game. As of late December 2017 [with the Lions failing to qualify for the playoffs], it has been 60 years and counting since the Lions have been the NFL champions. There is just one thing I don’t understand…why is the player who led the Lions to their last NFL title, Tobin Rote, not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (See following link.)

-From the Detroit Athletic blog, Tobin Rote belongs in Canton (by Howard Bak at detroitathletic.com/blog).
-From the Detroit Free Press, 1957 Detroit Lions: Full 60th anniversary coverage (freep.com/story/sports).
-From Golden Football Magazine site, NFL Championship Games: 1957, Cleveland Browns @ Detroit Lions [illustrated chart-style article] (goldenrankings.com/nflchampionshipgame1957.html).
-Video of 1957 NFL Championship Game (at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, MI), Detroit Lions 56, Cleveland Browns 17 [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 1]; [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 2]; [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 3] (videos uploaded by Vol Brian at youtube.com).


1957 NFL attendance.
Note: also see the 1957 NFL Average Attendance chart at far-lower-right of the map page {source: pro-football-reference.com}.
In 1957, the NFL was in the midst of its steadily-increasing popularity, and broke 3 million total attendance for the first time. There were 3,062,449 tickets sold for the 72 regular season games of the 1957 NFL season. That averaged out to 42,534 per game (up an impressive +3,914 per game or up 10.1%, from 1956). The highest drawing NFL team was once again the Los Angeles Rams (at 68 K). Second-best draw was the 8-4 San Francisco 49ers (at 65 K), who drew 19-thousand-more-per-game than in 1956 (a league-best 43.9% increase). The 49ers drew so well in ’57 because they had an almost-championship-caliber team, one that came very close to winning the Western Conference (Detroit beat them in a rare conference [divisional] playoff tiebreaker game). So Bay Area fans responded by flocking in droves to Kezar Stadium, to see the Niners. Third-best attendance in 1957 was Detroit (at 55 K). The Detroit Lions of the 1950s, who won 3 NFL titles in that decade (1952, 1953, 1957), really packed them in at Briggs Stadium [aka Tiger Stadium], back then. Fourth-best crowd-size in 1957 was the much-improved Cleveland Browns (at 54 K), who featured rookie sensation Jim Brown (rushing yardage-leader & Rookie of the Year). The Browns had the second-best attendance improvement (17-thousand-more-per-game or +36.2%, from 1956). The other NFL teams of 1957 which drew above 40-thousand were: the reigning champions the New York Giants (at 48 K), the Baltimore Colts (at 46 K), and the Chicago Bears (at 44 K). The Colts are noteworthy here, as it was the still-young franchises’ first plus-40-K-attendance season (6.9-K more per game than in 1956). Their increase in attendance came thanks to the galvanizing presence of Johnny Unitas, who, in his first full-season as their starting QB, led the Colts to their first winning season (7-5). Unitas led the NFL in passing yardage and QB rating in 1957. In the following two seasons (1958 and ’59), the Colts would be champions.

New stadium for Green Bay in 1957. One more thing with respect to attendances deserves a mention…1957 was the first season of Green Bay’s new City Stadium (II) [renamed Lambeau Field in 1965]. The stadium the Packers had played in from 1932 to ’56, the bare-bones City Stadium (I), had just a 25,000-capacity {see this aerial photo circa mid-1950s}. A few years previously, the then-basement-dwelling Green Bay Packers had been told by the league office to either build a bigger stadium or move full-time to Milwaukee (Green Bay played 3 of their 6 home games, each season, in Milwaukee, during this era; in 1958 they started playing 4 in Green Bay and 2 in Milwaukee). When the Packers opened their new stadium in 1957, City Stadium (II) had a 32,500 capacity. {Here is an aerial photo of the first game played at what is now called Lambeau Field, from Sept. 29 1957.} The Packers were drawing 22.4 K in the last 3 games at the old stadium in 1956 (which was 89.7 percent-capacity). In 1957, the Packers drew to almost full-capacity for their first 3 games in the brand-new City Stadium (32.1 K at 98.7 percent-capacity). And remember, this was when the Packers were really bad (3-9 in ’57; 1-10-1 in ’58). The next year of 1958, the Packers drew 27.9 K overall, averaging 30,824 in their 4 home games in Green Bay (which was a solid 94.8 percent-capacity), but in their two home games in ’58 at Milwaukee County Stadium [capacity: 43.7 K], the Packers drew worse: 24.5 K v Rams mid-season and then only 19.7 K v 49ers in late November. So their brand-new and 7.5-K-larger stadium was being filled pretty well, despite how bad the Packers were in this era. The problem was the Packers’ Milwaukee games in the 1956-58 time period: they were getting lousy attendance (like less than 50 percent-capacity in the 43.7-K Milwaukee County Stadium). One might be tempted to say that that was an example of how the small-town Packers were no longer able to hold their own in the modernizing NFL of the late 1950s. But the problem wasn’t in their small-town venue (in Green Bay). The Packers’ attendance problem was in their big-city venue, in Milwaukee. (How ironic, and a foreshadowing of the fact that the Packers, way down the road, in 1995, stopped playing games in Milwaukee, because they could sell out Lambeau Field easily and they did not need the crutch of the big-city venue in Milwaukee anymore.) Today, the only thing that still remains from Lambeau Field’s original structure of 1957 is some concrete that comprises the nearest stands to the field, and the structural steel below that. {For more on that, see this article with a great photo of old City Stadium (II)/Lambeau Field circa early 1960s, Lambeau Field started with a chain-link fence around it (by Cliff Christl, Packers team historian, at packers.com)}. Lambeau Field is the oldest continually-operating NFL stadium, and after the Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park and the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, Lambeau Field is the third-oldest continually-operating major league venue in the USA and Canada. (Lambeau Field now has a 81.4-k-capacity.) The next NFL team to change their venue would be the Philadelphia Eagles in the following year (1958), when the Eagles moved from the decaying Connie Mack Stadium [aka Shibe Park], into the much-larger Franklin Field.


Helmet and uniform changes in the NFL in 1957.
{1957 NFL uniforms at Gridiron Uniform Database site.}
-In 1957, it became mandatory in the NFL for home teams to wear their dark jersey, and for the visiting team to wear their white (or light-colored) jersey. Previously, NFL teams could wear whatever colored jersey they wanted, even if the two teams both ended up wearing dark-colored jerseys. And some teams only wore one jersey the whole season (as the Bears, the Lions, and the 49ers did, the season before, in 1956). This rule change showed the growing influence that television had on the NFL…the rule change was necessary because, on their black-and-white televisions, viewers at home could not distinguish between the two teams when both were wearing dark-colored jerseys. So home-team-dark-jerseys, and visiting-team-whites, was mandated.

-In 1957, the Baltimore Colts would introduce their large-horseshoe-in-center-of-helmet logo, which the Colts franchise still uses to this day; likewise the Colts new jersey design which featured arced shoulder stripes {1957 Colts}. The Colts had previously worn a small-horseshoe-on-the-back-o-f-the-helmet {see this illustration I made for my 1956 NFL post}. Sixty years later, the Colts wear still this exact same helmet-design, with only the dark blue color having changed (and only very slightly, see this illustration I made in 2013, Baltimore/Indianaplois Colts: the 4 shades of blue the Colts have worn}.

-In 1957, the San Francisco 49ers switched their helmet-color from white to gold (a blank metallic-gold helmet), and they also switched to gold pants {SF 49ers 1947-48 gold helmets/3-stripe-red-jerseys [YA Tittle]}. Both the gold helmets and gold pants had been first worn by the 49ers back in 1949, when the team was in the AAFC. Also in 1957, the white jersey of the 49ers had a unique red-gold-red striping {1957 49ers}; {here is a very nice color shot of the 1957 49ers [running out onto the field v Rams at LA Coliseum}...a very nice look, but in the following season of 1958, the Niners went back to their plain-one-color-striping on the sleeves of their white jerseys, which was in the same style as the red jersey's striping, and which dated back to 1950, and which is still worn to this day. The 49ers would keep the gold-helmets-and-pants for one more season ['58], before switching back again to silver helmet and pants (and then introduced the S-F-in-football-logo on that silver helmet in 1962), then the Niners switched back to gold helmet and pants once again, for good, in 1964.

-In 1957, the Chicago Bears, because of the new dark-jerseys-at-home/light-jerseys-away rule, wore white jerseys for the first time in 17 years (worn last in 1940) {1957 Rick Casares game-worn jersey.} (The Bears still wear essentially the same white jersey to this day.)

-In 1957, the Cleveland Browns added jersey-numbers to their orange helmets. {Reproduction of 1957 Jim Brown helmet (pasttimesports.biz).} {1957 Browns.} {black-and-white photo of 1957 Browns helmet w/ jersey-numbers [Jim Brown].} This was the first instance of the color brown on the Browns’ helmet (brown stripes flanking the center-white-stripe appeared in {1960}). The Browns would only wear this jersey-numbers-on-helmet style for 4 years (1957-60).

-In 1957, the Green Bay Packers’ alternate helmet-&-color-scheme of white-and-dark-forest-green was worn (this color-scheme existed for 3 seasons for the Packers [1956, '57, '58]). The Packers wore this white-and-dark-forest-green gear only once in ’56 (on opening day). But here, in 1957, when the NFL introduced the aforementioned rule that said home teams must wear dark jerseys at home and light-colored jerseys on the road, the Packers wore the white-and-dark-forest-green colors for all 6 of their road games {1957 Packers}; {1957 Packers at Rams, with Packers in white helmets-and-jerseys-with-dark-green-trim}. Then, in the next season (1958), the Packers wore white-helmets-with-dark-forest-green-jerseys for all games making it the only season in the Packers’ history, besides {1922}, when gold (yellow-orange or metallic-gold) was not in their colors. 1958 was also the Packers’ worst season ever [1-10-1]. {Here are the dreary and forgettable uniforms of the 1958 Green Bay Packers.} In 1959, with the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi, the Packers began wearing their current color-scheme of gold (yellow-orange) and dark-green. And were much better.

-In 1957, the Los Angeles Rams wore white jerseys for the first time ever (they only had worn yellow/orange or blue or red/black ['37] or red ['49] jerseys previously). Like the Bears, the Rams had been wearing only one uniform for several seasons (the Rams wore just a yellow/orange jersey from 1951 to ’56). The Rams were the only NFL team in 1957 that had three jerseys (blue, yellow/orange, white) {1957 Rams}.

-In 1957, the New York Giants introduced a subtle alteration of their helmets, placing jersey-numbers on the front of their blank-dark-blue-helmet-with-red-center-stripe. This helmet-design does not get noted at Gridiron Uniforms Database, but at MG’s Helmets, and at the Helmet Project site, the numbers-on-front-of-helmet design for the Giants of this era is noted, but just not by a specific year [when the design originated]. Well, I’ve looked at plenty of 1950s-era Giants helmets recently, and I can tell you for sure that the numbers were added to the front of Giants’ helmets in 1957 (and the jersey-numbers stayed on the front of Giants helmets all the way up to 1974). All you have to do is look at this photo from the Giants’ 1956 title-march {1956 NY Giants on the bench: Gifford, Beck, Conerly, Webster}, and then look at this photo from 1957 {Giants defense takes down Jim Brown, 1957}. The Giants put those jersey-numbers on the front of their helmets in ’57. Even without the Giants’ small-case-NY logo {which wasn’t introduced until 1961}, that ’57 Giants helmet-design with the jersey-numbers on the front was a pretty solid look. I wish more teams would utilize that look (like the Steelers do; see below).

-In 1957, the Pittsburgh Steelers, like the Browns, introduced jersey-numbers on their yellow/orange-gold-with-black-stripe helmets {1957 Steelers}. The Steelers wore this style for 5 years, from 1957-61 {The next link show this style of helmet, 1960 Steelers [Bobby Layne in Steelers huddle].} In 1962, the Steelers got rid of the large-jersey-numbers-on-the-side-of-helmet, and kept the plain yellow/orange-gold-helmet-with-black-stripe, and then later in the ’62 season they finally introduced a logo…the Steelers’ US-Steel-with-starbursts logo (Nov. 1962). {Here is a shot of safety Willie Daniel in the 1962 Steelers’ gold-helmet with US-Steel-and-starbursts logo, which was worn for the last 5 regular season games in 1962.} The US-Steel-logo-with-starbursts on a black helmet was introduced in Jan. 1963. The US-Steel-with-starbursts logo has always been worn on only the right-side of the Steelers’ helmet. In 1963, along with the introduction of the modern-day black-helmet-with-US-Steel-logo, the Steelers re-introduced jersey-numbers on the helmet, but smaller numbers worn on the front of the helmet…a look that the NY Giants pioneered in 1957 (see Giants’ section above). The Steelers have worn the small-jersey-numbers on their helmets ever since 1963…{Steelers helmet circa 1963 (John Baker)}; { Steelers’ helmet ca. 1980 (Jack Lambert)}; {Steelers’ helmets ca. 2016}.
___
Photo and Image credits on map page…
Detroit Lions…
Detroit Lions mid-1950s-era leather helmet and plastic-shell helmet, photos unattributed at The Football Book published by ESPN via uni-watch.com/2007/10/30/uni-watch-book-club-the-football-book/. Bobby Layne, 1st photo (color) by George Gellatly at nfl.com. 2nd photo of Bobby Layne, photo unattributed at nflpastplayers.com/bobby-layne. Lou Creekmur, photo by Frank Rippon/NFL at nfl.com. Color photo of four 1957 Lions players [Charlie Ane, Howard Cassady, Tobin Rote, Yale Lary], photo unattributed at helmethut.com. Tobin Rote, 1st photo: 1959 Bazooka trading card from footballcardgallery.com. 2nd photo of Tobin Rote: photo of Rote from 1957 NFL Championship Game, by Marvin E. Newman at gettyimages.com. John Henry Johnson, photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Joe Schmidt, photo unattributed at sportsattic2.com/nflphotos/Schmidt,Joe. Jack Christiansen, photo unattributed at profootballhof.com/players/jack-christiansen.
1957 NFL Offensive leaders…
Johnny Unitas [photo from preseason 1957], photo by Ozzie Sweet/Sport magazine [Dec. 1958] via nflfootballjournal.blogspot.com/[Johnny Unitas feature]. Jim Brown [photo from 1957 v Cardinals], photo by Cleveland Browns via waitingfornextyear.com. Lenny Moore [photo from preseason 1957], photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Raymond Berry [photo of 1957 Topps card], from myalltimefavorites.com/indianapolis-colts.

Map was drawn with assistance from images at these links…
48-state-USA/southern Canada, worksheeto.com/post_50-states-and-capitals-printable-worksheet.
Section of Mexico, as well as coastlines-&-oceans, lib.utexas.edu/maps/hist-us.
-Thanks to the contributors at pro-football-reference.com
-Thanks to the contributors at NFL 1957 season (en.wikipedia.org).
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving billsportsmaps.com the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

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

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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; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Teams, etc…2017-18 2. Bundesliga (en.wikipedia.org).
-English-speaking Bundesliga coverage…bundesligafanatic.com.
-Official site of the Bundesliga in English (offizielle webseite der Bundesliga)…bundesliga.com/en/.
-2. Bundesliga site (in German)…bundesliga.com/de/2bundesliga.
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…2. Bundesliga [2016-17] Summary (us.soccerway.com/national/germany/2-bundesliga).

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

-From bundesliga.com/en, 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: european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn; 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 crwflags.com}). 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.

holstein-kiel_holstein-stadion_2017-18-promotion-campaign_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Holstein Kiel 17/18 jersey, photo by holstein-kiel.de/fanshop jpg. Aerial shot of Kiel, photo by Klaas Ole Kürtz at File:KielerStadtzentrumLuftaufnahme.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Holstein-Stadion, photo by Ulf Dahl via kn-online.de. Holstein Kiel fans with banners, photo by groundhopping.se/HolsteinKiel. Marvin Ducksch, photo from fcstpauli.com. Dominick Drexler, photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts via zimbio.com.

    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.
fortuna-dusseldorf_esprit-arena_2017-18-promotion-campaign_c_.gif

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

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