It has partnerships with Major League Baseball, a number of soccer leagues around the world (including MLS, USL, Serie A, and now Bundesliga), and UFC. It’s become increasingly essential for sports fans to add it to their streaming set-up.
Plus, you’ll gain access to the entire 30 for 30 catalog of sports documentaries. It offers great ESPN programming to keep you informed and entertained.
What is the Bundesliga?
The Bundesliga was created in 1963 out of number of regional leagues. The league houses Germany’s 18 top club teams.
It’s set up like major European leagues. Each team plays home and away matches against all the other teams in the league. Teams get three points for a win and one point for a draw. The August-through-May season determines the league winner. (There’s no playoff system. Like other European leagues, though, the teams play in a tournament that runs at the same time as the season.)
There’s also a promotion and relegation system. The bottom two teams automatically drop to the second division, replaced by the top two teams in the 2. Bundesliga. The 16th-place team gets to play for its Bundesliga life in a playoff against 2. Bundesliga’s third-place finisher.
Why is the Bundesliga worth checking out?
Germany is quite accomplished in soccer. Witness Die Mannschaft, its men’s national team, and the four World Cups it’s won. (The most recent one came in 2014.) It stands to reason, then, that its top league is one of the world’s best. The Bundesliga’s appeal goes far beyond Germany, though: Bayern Munich is one of the best club teams in the world featuring a truly international lineup, and a number of other teams have players you recognize from recent World Cups, Euros, and Copa Americas.
As a bonus for American fans, some of the U.S.’s best young players are developing in this world-class league.
Which Bundesliga teams should I know?
Any getting-to-know-the-Bundesliga conversation should start with Bayern Munich. Bayern’s the winner of the last eight titles and nine of the last 11. It does it largely by amassing superior talent: Sometimes from Bundesliga rivals, though it’s a truly global team in both the lineup and appeal. While German national team players like Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, and Leon Goretza contribute, their current roster includes French defender Benjamin Pavard, whose physics-defying goal in the 2018 World Cup raised his profile, and Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies, a promising young player who came of age for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
For American fans, Borussia Dortmund has been a must-watch in recent years as Christian Pulisic—arguably the best U.S. player in a generation—came of age with the team. He moved to the Premier League this summer, but Dortmund still has talent. Jadon Sancho, an English star in the making, features there, as do Marco Reus and Paco Alcácer. And there’s another promising young American developing there: Gio Reyna, the teenage son of U.S. soccer legend and current Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna.
American players play roles at other big Bundesliga clubs.
Tyler Adams, another emerging star, plays for RB Leipzig. That team is part of the Red Bull family of international soccer teams and considered somewhat of a party-crasher to German football tradition.
Up-and-coming striker Josh Sargent is developing at Werder Bremen. Weston McKennie was with Schalke last season before moving to Juventus this summer. (That’s also a big deal.)
Odds to win Bundesliga
According to BetMGM, these are the odds for which team will win the 2020-21 Bundesliga, as of Sept. 30:
Bayern Munich: -834 (bet $110 to win $834)
Borussia Dortmund: +600 (bet $100 to win $600)
RB Leipzig: +1600
Bayer Leverkusen: +6600
Borussia Monchengladbach: +8000
Hertha Berlin: +15000
Bundesliga top scorers
The top scorers for the 2019-20 season were:
Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich (34 goals)
Timo Werner, RB Leipzig (28 goals)
Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund (17 goals)
Wout Weghorst, VfL Wolfsburg (16 goals)
Rouwen Hennings, Fortuna Düsseldorf (15 goals)
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*First Published: Oct 17, 2020, 9:22 am
Phil West is a veteran professional writer and editor, and the author of two books on soccer, ‘The United States of Soccer,’ and ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ both from The Overlook Press. His work has appeared most recently in MLSSoccer.com, Pro Soccer USA, Texas Highways, and Howler. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.