What is Bundesliga?

The Bundesliga is the competition between football teams of the highest category in Germany. It began in 1963, after the unification of the former local championships called Oberligas. Together with the Bundesliga and Liga, they form the 3 national divisions of professional football in Germany. Find out more in this text.


Germany’s top division, the Bundesliga — which means the “Federal League” — contains 18 of the country’s top soccer teams. Each season, teams compete for the Meisterschale, or Champion’s Plate.

Bundesliga - Meisterschale

The top four teams each year qualify for the elite Europe-wide Champions League. Whereas, the fifth and sixth place gain entry into the Europa League, the 2nd tier of European competition.

The two teams that finish in 17th and 18th are relegated to Germany’s 2nd level of pro football. It is known as 2 Bundesliga. The top two teams in that level are promoted to the top tier.

Now, here’s an interesting fact. The team that finishes in 16th place in the Bundesliga must play a two-match playoff against the team that finishes third in the 2nd division. The winner of the tie gets to play in the Bundesliga in the next season. And the loser drops into the second tier.

History of Bundesliga

The eastern part, dominated by the Soviet Union, formed the DS-Oberliga that lasted until 1991. Its most successful club was Berliner FC Dynamo, with ten titles. The western part took more than a decade to organize a pro and structured league in the same way as the rest of the European leagues.

It was on July 28, 1962, when the Bundesliga was officially formed in Dortmund. The members of the German Soccer Federation chose clubs from the five major leagues that divided football in East Germany to form the Bundesliga, which initially had 16 teams.

This is how the professionalization of German football began. Little by little, the great talents of Germany decided to stay in their country and not to leave to other countries as was the case in previous years and the league began to strengthen to gradually gain popularity in European football.

Foundation of Bundesliga – History

Founded in 1962 in the city of Dortmund, the first era began in 1963. And the structure and organization have already undergone many changes over the years.

10 years after the creation of the Bundesliga, German football began to achieve more relevant results worldwide. In 1972 and 1980, Germany became champion of Europe.

German clubs also helped increase the reputation of German football. That is to say, Bayern Munich became European champion in 1974, 1975 and 1976. Also, Hamburg became the European champion in 1983 and Borussia Monchengladbach was 2nd in 1977.

Borussia Monchengladbach also left its mark in the UEFA Cup (the current Europa League). It was champion in 1975 and 1979 and 2nd in 1972 and 1980. This East German football team won bronze in the 1972 Olympic Games, conquered gold in 1976 and silver in 1980.

The Bundesliga is now under control of the German Football League. This is the league with the highest average audience in the world. Moreover, it attracts the most public to its stadiums. In addition, it has a television broadcast in more than 200 countries, being the most lucrative at the European level.

Achievements of Bundesliga

Bayern Munich is the club with the most titles, 27 in total. In addition to Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund has 8 titles. Hamburg has 6 titles and Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach have 5 titles each. 

Also, Werder Bremen has 4 titles, and FC Koln and Kaiserslautern have 2 titles each. And Eintracht Braunschweig, Munchen 1860, FC Nurnberg and Wolfsburg have 1 title each.

Bundesliga clubs, as all football fans know, are a regular presence of the UEFA Champions League. Hamburg, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund have already won champions. And Bayer Levercusen, Borussia Monchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt got honorable 2nd places.

Competition System

The Bundesliga season starts at the beginning of August and ends in May of the following year. There’s a a six-week break that starts in mid-December until the end of January.

Since 2006, they play one game on Friday, six games on Saturday and two games on Sunday.

The winning club of the cup will enter directly to the UEFA Champions League. It will be accompanied by the second, third and fourth place. In addition, the fifth and sixth place will take part in the Europa League.

What is Bundesliga?

Most popular teams

The Bundesliga’s biggest, best-known, most successful side is the mighty Bayern Munich, from the country’s south. Nicknamed FC Hollywood, Bayern has a habit of buying up Germany’s best players and building almost unbeatable teams.

The club has won the Bundesliga seven times in a row. The last time it failed to win the league, in 2012, it was beaten out by Borussia Dortmund. Over the next two seasons, Bayern bought three of Dortmund’s star players, cementing its dominance in German football.

Other big clubs in the league include Dortmund, its local rivals FC Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and RB Leipzig.

Leipzig is especially interesting, as it has risen from the fifth tier of German football to the Champions League in under 10 years. And it’s all powered by the financial backing of the energy-drink giant Red Bull.

Bundesliga - Logo

Transmission rights of the Bundesliga

More than 200 countries broadcast the Bundesliga on TV.

The broadcasting rights of the Bundesliga are sold together with the broadcasting rights of the play-offs of descent. 

At the local level, Sky has all the rights to show all the matches of the first and second league on a paid TV base. Deutsche Telekom owns IPTV rights. Only 4 games are broadcast on free TV. These include the opening of the season, the first game after the winter break and the two games of the relegation play-off . 

Since August 2008, 90elf has the rights to air all the first and second league matches online and through the digital audio transmission.

Interational TV Rights

The current international TV rights of the Bundesliga are valid until 2020 in (America and Asia) and 2017 in Europe. As of 2015, the TV rights of the Bundesliga belong to FOX Sports in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central, and South America.

In England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland, the Bundesliga is shown on BT Sport. Eurosport-2 has the rights to air in Serbia. In Greece, the OTE cable television platform – Conn-x TV Sports airs most Bundesliga matches.

Sport TV shows 1 live match per week for Portugal. In Spain, Digital+ broadcasts the Bundesliga . Also, in Italy, Fox Sports broadcasts this league.

Other Country Channels

In India, a maximum of 3 games a week are broadcast on NEO Sports. In general, they broadcast 2 live and 1 already finished. Also, in Japan, Fuji TV, NHK and FOX broadcast the Bundesliga. In China, CCTV-5 and STAR Sports have exclusive matches every week. As of 2015, FOX has the English language rights for the Bundesliga in China.

Not just a man’s game

Since 1997, the DFB has also run a professional Women’s Bundesliga. The league features 12 teams and operates in much the same way as the men’s professional league. Matches are played home and away and the bottom two teams at the end of the campaign are relegated.

Before the Women’s Bundesliga season begins, the best eight clubs in the regional leagues fight in a cup. Its purpose is to see who will take the places vacated by the relegated teams from the season before. Two groups of four teams compete over two legs and the winners of both groups win promotion to the Bundesliga.


German football has gained prominence in recent years. It is the league of the old continent with the best economic management. It is virtually impossible to see a German bankrupt club and economic deals on television rights are more even than in the other major leagues. This league has rightfully gained its 3rd UEFA ranking.