The Bundesliga is the highest level of a professional association football league in Germany and lies at the top-end of the German football league system.
In English, it literally translates into ‘Federal League’ and it is divided into two divisions containing 18 teams each which operate on a structure of promotion and relegation between the two tiers. The top-tier is called the 1.Bundesliga, sometimes referred to as Fußball-Bundesliga or simply as Bundesliga, while the other is known as the 2.Bundesliga.
Normally, a Bundesliga season starts in August and continues up till the month May in the following year and the vast majority of the matches take place on Saturdays and Sundays. All teams from the two divisions of the Bundesliga obtain direct entry into the DFB-Pokal, the annual cup-competition conducted by the German Football Association (DFB).
Moreover, the champions of the 1.Bundesliga automatically qualify for the DFL-Supercup where it faces the DFB-Pokal winners, or in case a team has won the double, the runners-up of the 1.Bundesliga in a one-off clash.
1.Bundesliga: A Beginners Betting Guide- Sponsored by Cyber Bet
History of the 1.Bundesliga
Germany introduced a national championship for football for the first time in 1903 and over the next 60 years experienced quite a few changes which echoed the tumultuous history of the country during the opening half of the 20th century. Throughout this long period the competition was played in a knockout format whereby the best teams from the various regional championships would qualify for the national finals.
To organise and regulate the sport in the country which was still in its early days, the German Football Association came into being in the year 1904. However until the early 1930’s, the DFB maintained a bleak perspective on bringing in professionalism into the game when the formation of a nationwide league featuring the top football clubs of Germany called Reichsliga was projected.
However, the Nationalist Socialist Party came to power in 1933 which meant that all discussions regarding professionalism and the Reichsliga quickly died out. Instead the new government introduced the Gaulingen, by creating 16 different regional leagues within the 3rd Reich, each league wrapping a combination of its various administrative divisions. The key motive behind it was to smash the character of the old German states and spread a more nationalist spirit around the country.
With the appropriation of Austria into the German empire in 1938, an integrated team of the two nations visited France for the FIFA World Cup that year. But in spite of the high expectations owing to the Nazi propaganda, the team was handed an embarrassing first-round exit that once again brought back discussions for a nationwide league. But those changes were postponed with the onset of World War II although the Gauligen structure also steadily fell apart during this period.
Following the end of the war the Oberligen emerged as the foremost level of football in Germany, comprising of 5 equivalent regional leagues known as the Oberliga Berlin, Oberliga Nord, Oberliga West, Oberliga Süd and Oberliga Südwest. A separate league also came up in the Soviet-zone of Berlin which later turned into the DDR-Oberliga. In a major change, semi-professionalism was introduced and players in the top leagues were entitled to receive payments of DM 120, later improved to DM 400, even though secret payments under the table were rather common as well.
West Germany went on to become the surprise champions at the 1954 FIFA World Cup held in Switzerland and the team’s coach Sepp Herberger used it as an opportunity to demand the creation of a national league, having already spoken in favour of it two decades ago. But it was his team’s success which held back the changes as those against the formation of the league maintained that the Oberligen system was the main reason behind the triumph.
Herberger was supported in his efforts by Hermann Neuberger, a DFB official who later became its chairman and Frank Kremer, the chairman of 1.FC Köln. Calls for a national league with a reduced number of teams gained force yet there was no significant progress towards its formation until the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile when West Germany’s sub-par performance at the tournament brought matters to a head.
The announcement for a nationwide football league was made during the annual DFB convention held at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund by its new president Hermann Gösmann on 28th July 1962, who was elected to the position that very day. It was named the Bundesliga and play would commence in the new league with 1963/64 season.
The DFB received 46 applications from the five Oberligen for just the 16 spots that were available in the Bundesliga. Of these, two withdrew their application and 15 proposals from other clubs were rejected to leave 29 teams in the shortlist. The elimination of the final 13 teams was fiercely contested and the qualifying system took into consideration the placing of the various teams in their respective Oberligas over the past 10 years.
The champions of each Oberliga for the 1962/63 season would get a direct entry into the Bundesliga but no city was allowed to be represented by more than one club. Two years later, a 17th team was added in the form of Borussia Neunkirchen, who had a superior record to some Bundesliga teams even though it did not finish in the two slots for the Southwest region. And to keep an even number on the Bundesliga, another spot was added into it to raise the total up to 18 teams and it has stayed at this number for all except one Bundesliga season.
Teams from the 5 Oberligas that gained qualification into the Bundesliga:
– Oberliga Nord: Hamburger SV, SV Werder Bremen, Eintracht Braunschweig
– Oberliga West: 1.FC Köln, BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke 04, SC Preußen Münster, Meidericher SV
– Oberliga Berlin: Hertha BSC
– Oberliga Süd: 1.FC Nürnberg, Eintracht Frankfurt, Karlsruher SC, VfB Stuttgart, TSV 1860 München
– Oberliga Südwest: 1.FC Kaiserlautern, 1.FC Saarbrücken
As a result of the top-tier being reduced from five leagues to only one, the second-tier of the various Oberligas now saw a flood of teams that did not feature in the Bundesliga waiting to be a part of it. As a result the 2nd Oberligas were renamed Regionalligas with new tier-two leagues coming up in Berlin and the North where there were no 2nd Oberligas previously. Promotion to the Bundesliga was contested between the winners and the runners-up of the 2nd Oberligas with two teams moving up to the top division.
In 1974, the 5 Regionalligas were joined together to form a new 2nd tier of nationwide football league named 2.Bundesliga. It initially consisted of two separate divisions for the North and South regions consisting of 20 teams each. In 1981, the DFB decided to reduce this league to a single division of 20 teams. Therefore 22 clubs were relegated to the third-tier that season while no team gained promotion into 2.Bundesliga.
With the reunification of Germany 10 years later in 1991, two of the East German clubs, FC Hansa Rostock and SG Dynamo Dresden, received entry into the 1.Bundesliga thus expanding it to 20 teams for the 1991/92 season although 4 clubs were to be relegated at the end of the campaign to bring the total back to 18 once again. The number of teams to be relegated increased to 3 in the 92/93 season the structure of the 1.Bundesliga has stayed quite the same since then and the relegation playoff is the only new addition over the past decade and a half.
1.Bundesliga Competition Format
The national football champion of Germany is decided entirely by the performances in 1.Bundesliga for each individual season. Over the course of every campaign, each team plays against every other club in the division two times; once at its home-ground and once at the opponent’s home-ground with points being awarded for every game.
Originally, 2 points were handed for a victory which was later improved to 3 points in the 1995/96 season, while the two teams shared 1 point each for a draw but a defeat would earn 0 points. The team that collected the most points at the end of a season, which comprised of 34 matches for an 18-team division, clinched the title. When teams are level on points, tie-breakers are applied in the following order:
– Goal difference for the entire season
– Total goals scored for the entire season
– Head-to-head results (total points)
– Head-to-head goals scored
– Head-to-head away goals scored
– Total away goals scored for the entire season
If two teams remain tied after all of these tie-breakers were applied, a single match will be held at a neutral site to determine the standing. However this fixture has never been necessary in the history of the Bundesliga.
Currently, the top-4 clubs in the 1.Bundesliga table at the end of a season gain entry into the group-phase of the UEFA Champions League for the next season. The team finishing in 5th place receives a spot in the group-stage of the UEFA Europa League while the 6th place side gains entry into the UEFA Europa Conference League. Permutations could yet allow more 1.Bundesliga teams to participate in European cup tournaments.
Meanwhile, the bottom-2 teams in the table at the end of each season are relegated into the 2.Bundesliga. The vacant spots will be filled by the current winners and runners-up of the 2.Bundesliga, with both teams getting a direct promotion to the top-tier. The team that finishes in 16th position in 1.Bundesliga will have to contest a two-legged playoff tie against the team that finished on 3rd spot in 2.Bundesliga. The winner of the contest earns the right to feature in the top-tier of German football for the next season.
1.Bundesliga Records & Statistics
Up till now, a total of 56 clubs have competed in the 1.Bundesliga over the course of its nearly 60 year-history with 1.FC Union Berlin becoming the latest addition to list in the 2019/20 season. Of these, only 12 teams have gone on to lift the 1.Bundesliga title and FC Bayern Munchen is the most successful club in Germany. We take a look at the major records and statistics of the 1.Bundesliga.
List of 1.Bundesliga Champions
TeamWinnersRunner-Ups1FC Bayern München31102BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund583Borussia VfL Mönchengladbach524SV Werder Bremen475Hamburger SV356VfB Stuttgart3271.FC Köln2581.FC Kaiserslautern219TSV 1860 München1110VfL Wolfsburg11
Top-10 Players with Most 1.Bundesliga Appearances
PlayerAppearancesTeam1Charly Kobel602Eintracht Frankfurt2Manfred Kaltz581Hamburger SV3Oliver Kahn557Karlsruher SC, FC Bayern München4Klaus Fitchel552FC Schalke 04, SV Werder Bremen5Miroslav Votava546BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund, SV Werder Bremen6Klaus Fischer535TSV 1860 München, FC Schalke 04, 1.FC Köln, VfL Bochum7Eike Immel534BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund, VfB Stuttgart8Willi Neuberger520BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund, SV Werder Bremen, Wuppertaler SV, Eintracht Frankfurt9Michael Lameck518VfL Bochum10Uli Stein512DSC Arminia Bielefeld, Hamburger SV, Eintracht Frankfurt
Top-10 Goal Scorers in 1.Bundesliga
PlayerGoalsTeam1Gerd Müller365FC Bayern München2Robert Lewandowski312BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund, FC Bayern München3Klaus Fischer268TSV 1860 München, FC Schalke 04, 1.FC Köln, VfL Bochum4Jupp Heynckes220Borussia VfL Mönchengladbach, Hannover SV 18965Manfred Burgsmüller213Rot-Weiss Essen, BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund, 1.FC Nürnberg, SV Werder Bremen6Claudio Pizzaro197SV Werder Bremen, FC Bayern München. 1.FC Köln7Urf Kirsten181Bayer 04 Leverkusen8Stefan Kuntz179VfL Bochum, KFC Uerdingen 05, 1.FC Kaiserslatern, DSC Arminia Bielefeld9Dieter Müller177Offenbacher Kickers, 1.FC Köln, VfB Stuttgart, 1.FC Saarbrücken10Klaus Allofs177TuS Fortuna Düsseldorf, 1.FC Köln, SV Werder Bremen
Other Interesting Records in 1.Bundesliga
– Highest number of seasons in the Bundesliga: 57 (FC Bayern München & SV Werder Bremen)
– Lowest number of relegations since the debut in the Bundesliga: 0 (FC Bayern München, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, FC Augsburg, RB Leipzig, 1.FC Union Berlin)
– Highest number of promotions to the Bundesliga: 8 (DSC Arminia Bielefeld)
– Highest number of relegations from the Bundesliga: 9 (1.FC Nürnberg)
– Highest number of wins: 1,168 (FC Bayern München)
– Highest number of wins in a season: 29 (FC Bayern München, 2012/13 & 2013/14)
– Highest number of losses: 670 (Eintracht Frankfurt)
– Highest number of losses in a season: 28 (SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin, 1965/66)
– Highest number of goals scored: 4,232 (FC Bayern München)
– Highest number of goals scored in a season: 101 (FC Bayern München, 1971/72)
– Lowest number of conceded goals in a season: 17 (FC Bayern München, 2015/16)
– Highest number of consecutive titles: 10 (FC Bayern München, 2012/13-2021/22)
– Highest number of consecutive wins: 19 (FC Bayern München, 2013/14)
– Highest number of consecutive games unbeaten: 53 (FC Bayern München, 2012/13-2013/14)
– Highest number of consecutive games unbeaten in a season: 28 (BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund 2011/12 & FC Bayern München, 2013/14)
– Highest number of consecutive games losing in a season: 10 (SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin 1965/66, 1.FC Nürnberg 1983/84, DSC Arminia Bielefeld 1999/2000)
– Highest number of consecutive games with a clean sheet: 9 (VfB Stuttgart 2002/03-2003/04)
– Highest number of consecutive games with a clean sheet in a season: 8 (VfB Stuttgart 2002/03)
– Highest number of consecutive games without scoring: 10 (1.FC Köln, 2001/02)
– Highest number of appearances as a player: 602 (Charly Körbel)
– Highest number of appearances as a coach: 836 (Otto Rehhagel)
– Highest number of appearances as a player for one club: 602 (Charly Körbel, Eintracht Frankfurt)
– Highest number of appearances as a coach for one club: 493 (Otto Rehhagel, SV Werder Bremen)
– Highest number of appearances as a player and coach combined: 1,037 (Otto Rehhagel)
– Highest number of appearances for one club as a player and coach combined: 741 (Thomas Schaaf, SV Werder Bremen)
– Highest number of appearances for a foreign player: 490 (Claudio Pizzaro)
– Youngest age for a player to appear: 16 years and 1 day (Youssoufa Moukoko)
– Oldest age for a player to appear: 43 years and 184 days (Klaus Fichtel)
– Youngest age for a coach to appear (appointed as head coach): 28 years and 205 days (Julian Nagelsmann)
– Oldest age for a coach to appear: 74 years and 184 days (Alfred Schulz)
– Youngest age for a coach to win a championship: 34 years and 241 days (Matthias Sammer, BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund)
– Oldest age for a coach to win a championship: 73 years and 3 days (Jupp Heynckes, FC Bayern München)
– Highest number of championships won overall: 11 (Thomas Müller) — Highest number of championships won as a player: 11 (Thomas Müller)
– Highest number of championships won as a foreign player: 10 (David Alaba, Robert Lewandowski)
– Highest number of championships won as a coach: 8 (Udo Lattek) – – Highest number of championships won as both a player and coach: 8 (Jupp Heynckes)
– Highest number of goals scored in a season: 41 (Robert Lewandowski, 2020/21)
– Youngest Goal-scorer: 16 years and 28 days (Youssoufa Moukoko, BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund)
– Oldest Goal-scorer: 40 years and 227 days (Claudio Pizzaro, 1.FC Köln)
– Highest number of clean sheets by a goalkeeper: 214 (Manuel Neuer)
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