Sports are slowly re-entering our everyday lives.
Do you continue to have a hankering for sports, but can’t stay up for the Korean Baseball League? There’s no need to fear, the Bundesliga is here! Joining the KBL and UFC, the German soccer league returns without fans as one of the top leagues to return to their scheduled seasons. With the MLS, MLB, and possibly even the NBA playoffs on the verge of returning, it seems like the Bundesliga is dominating the sports world for the next few weeks.
And it’s the perfect timing, as with six games remaining on the schedule, the season is just heating up, and a lot is at stake. Six European tournament qualifying spots are still up for grabs for some of the top teams in Germany, and the bottom teams are battling to avoid getting relegated down to the lower level league at the end of the year. It makes for great drama and great content and is worth the watch over the next few weeks.
So, who do you root for? Everyone loves to have some sort of rooting interest, and with German soccer it’s no different. Whether it’s wanting to watch the best team or cheering for some of our American talents, here are the five teams you should consider cheering for at the end of the Bundesliga season and the American sports teams I would compare them too.
1. Bayern Munich
Current Position: 1st Place, 55 points
Top Player: Robert Lewandowski
Cheer for this team if you like: New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Alabama Crimson Tide, or New England Patriots
Well, you’re pretty boring aren’t you? If you need a safe pick and can’t handle disappointment, pick the team that has 72 trophies in its case.
The giants of Germany, Bayern Munich is the top team in the country. They’ve won a record of 29 Bundesliga titles and have won it the last seven years in a row. The only surprise for the Bavarians is that they haven’t clinched the championship yet, as they usually have won already. Now they sit just 4 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and have yet to separate themselves from the pack.
Munich is similar to the Yankees and Lakers in that they are constantly getting the best players in the league. Unlike trades in American sports, they buy off the top players from the smaller German teams and add them to their already stacked roster. Lewandowski, a former Dortmund player, leads the league in scoring with 25 goals on the year.
If you love winning and love watching great soccer, Bayern Munich is never going to leave you disappointed. They’re the best team in the league for a reason.
2. RB Leipzig
Current Position: 3rd Place, 50 points
Top Player: Timo Werner
Cheer for this team if you like: Dallas Cowboys, Brooklyn Nets, or Floyd Mayweather
You’re a sellout.
RB Leipzig is an up-and-coming powerhouse in the German league. They’re bankrolled by the billionaire Red Bull energy drinks industry, which has made them the villains of the Bundesliga.
They’re hated in Germany because Germans hate the corporate regime. Many German teams operate under fan influence, and many fans serve as board members to their clubs’ success. Red Bull is simply trying to buy its way to the top – similar to the Nets and their gentrification of Brooklyn and the Cowboys and their overall annoyance to the general masses – and they’ve come close for multiple years now.
On the field, however, they’re a joy to watch. Timo Werner is the top forward for the German National Team and sits second in the league with 21 goals. He’s one of the fastest players in the league and also one of the best finishers. Americans also have a great influence on Leipzig, as Tyler Adams is a mainstay in their midfield. He’s one of USA’s top talents and looks to help the Red Bulls to a chance at a title to end the season.
3. Borussia Dortmund
Current Position: 2nd Place, 51 points
Top Players: Jadon Sancho and Erling Håland
Cheer for this team if you like: Boston Red Sox or Green Bay Packers
The darlings of the Bundesliga, Dortmund are generally adored for building a club “the right way.” They’re known for developing great talent from within at their youth academies and bringing these players up until they’re eventually bought out by the wealthier clubs in Europe like Bayern Munich.
They also have one of the most rabid fan bases in all of European soccer and are even owned by their fans, similar to the Green Bay Packers. They’re one of the best teams in the country, but haven’t won the title since 2012, frequently falling behind Bayern Munich. Many see them as living in the shadow of the Bavarians.
With Dortmund, you’ll win a lot, as evidenced by their second place standing, but you may not always sit on top. This year’s team is fun to watch and led by a couple of teenage superstars. Englishman Jadon Sancho and Norwegian Erling Håland are 20 and 19, respectively, and make up the young core that make Dortmund so fast and so fun to watch.
There’s even some American flavor to Dortmund this season, with the youngster in Gio Reyna. He doesn’t play often for Dortmund, but when he’s in, there’s a chance for something special.
4. FC Schalke 04
Current Position: 6th Place, 37 points
Top Player: Salif Sané
Cheer for this team if you support: Florida Gators, New York Mets, or America
Does your team follow the grind of embattled, gritty leaders like Tim Tebow and David Wright? Are you generally overlooked by the bigger teams in your area, like the Yankees, Seminoles, or Bulldogs? Meet Schalke, the hard-working club that rivals Dortmund, but generally feels like they’re in the shadow of their cherished rivals.
There’s one reason to love Schalke stateside, however, and that is the constant American representation on the roster. Weston McKennie is just 21, but he is a stud in the midfield position that has the energy of an Energizer Bunny. He doesn’t stop running and is out to create turnovers and generally just cause havoc for opposing teams. One of America’s brightest young stars is Schalke’s go-to player in the middle of the field and pairs with some terrific center backs to lead one of the best defensive teams in the Bundesliga.
You’ll generally feel a lot of heartbreak with Schalke, but if you love Americanized schnitzels, they’re your club.
5. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Current Position: 4th place
Top Players: Yann Sommer and Alassane Plea
Cheer for this team if you support: Georgia Bulldogs, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, or Pittsburgh Steelers
Let’s face it: Your trophies, and your best days, are still way behind you. You dominated for years, but it has been decades since you lifted the silverware. But you’re back! You’re competing again to be one of the best teams in your league. Even if Bayern Munich, or the Alabama Crimson Tide, or the New England Patriots stand in your way, you feel relevant again. It’s so close, you can almost taste it. If you feel attacked by this particular paragraph, meet Borussia Mönchengladbach.
One of the most successful clubs in Germany through the 1970s, Mönchengladbach (pronounced Mention-glad-bah) has had a resurgence of sorts over the last few years led by a solid defense and superstar Swiss keeper Yann Sommer. They’re hanging on for dear life to that fourth-place finish, which is important in European soccer to qualify for the Champions League tournament.
They also have American representation in Fabian Johnson. The skilled defenseman was a mainstay in the USA lineup at the 2014 World Cup and surely will be integral to their Bundesliga finish.
Those are the teams to keep an eye on. So deep fry that schnitzel and pour yourself a glass of your favorite German beverage at nine in the morning. Bundesliga is surely here to leave you entertained.
Written by: Kyle Grondin