On 18 August the first division of the Bundesliga, the premier football league in Germany, kicks off the new season – with the opening game between FC Bayern Munich against Bayer Leverkusen. So the eighteen best teams in Germany are back on the path for goals, points and titles.
Before the Bundesliga was constituted in 1962, with the whistle being blown for the kick-off of the first match of the first season in 1963, football in Germany was rather confused. First of all the clubs played in regional leagues and after the Second World War there were four premier leagues, North, West, Southwest, South & Berlin. Choosing which clubs should belong to the first Bundesliga was difficult. But finally, agreement was reached on the founding members, the clubs 1st FC Köln [Cologne], Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, 1st FC Nürnberg [Nuremberg], 1st FC Saarbrücken, Hamburger SV, Hertha BSC Berlin, Preußen Münster, Meidericher SV, Eintracht Braunschweig, 1st FC Kaiserslautern, TSV 1860 München [Munich], VfB Stuttgart und Karlsruher SC.
In the season just past almost 13 million spectators watched the games live in the stadia. In addition several hundred millions in the whole world followed the thirty-four match days on television. For the Bundesliga is not only popular in Germany. Among other things, thanks to the large clubs like Borussia Dortmund und FC Bayern Munich the Bundesliga has fans all over the world.
In the UEFA ranking of the best clubs in Europe, the Munich club is currently number 4, and Dortmund number 8. The sporting rivalry between the two clubs has a long tradition and had a remarkable climax in 2013. In the final of the Champions League the most important club competition in the world, the Bavarians won 2 to 1 against the team from Westphalia.
In the fifty-four years of its existence there have been many incredible stories connected with the Bundesliga. Karl-Heinz Körbel, born in Swabia [region in southern Germany] played during his total professional career for one club only, Eintracht Frankfurt, and appeared in 602 times for them in the Bundesliga. The forward Gerd Müller is known even today as the "Bomber of the Nation". During his career he scored 365 goals in the Bundesliga for FC Bayern Munich. But even as a goalie you can shoot goals. This was proved by Hans-Jörg Butt, who scored 26 goals in the Bundesliga. And two players in particular were really in a hurry when it came to scoring goals in Bundesliga matches. Both Karim Bellarabi and Kevin Volland scored a goal nine seconds after the kick-off. The most successful trainer in the Bundesliga is Udo Lattek, who won eight championship titles together with the teams he trained, FC Bayern und Borussia Mönchengladbach. But the team with the record number of league championships is FC Bayern Munich, with 26 titles since the Bundesliga was founded. However, Hamburger SV is the only club which has played since 1963 the whole time in the first division.