Sunday, February 24, 2013

No respect for the Bundesliga

When you think of major soccer leagues in the world which come to mind? The English Premier League? La Liga? Serie A? All are valid responses to the biggest leagues in the world, but one that goes vastly unnoticed is Germany's Bundesliga.

For years the German first division has been growing rapidly, but most outside of soccer enthusiasts and German citizens have seen that. Many factors play into it, German soccer isn't as flair oriented so the media doesn't cover it as much and the league only fields 2 truly dominant clubs in Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. But if you look past the surface you will see a league with the qualities to rival the other top leagues in the world.

                 For the past few years Bayern and Dortmund have dominated German soccer, that is all set to change soon.

This season may not be a good indicator of how strong the league and teams are, with Bayern Munich dominating the league table and controlling a 17 point lead on second place Dortmund, but look past the top club and you see a packed table of teams who have European hopes. The clubs in spots 2 and 9 are only separated by 10 points, which isn't a huge margin if you think about the quality in the clubs. Teams such as Frankfurt, Freiburg, Mainz, Hamburg, Hannover, and Schalke are all chasing the second and third place teams Dortmund and Leverkusen.

Take a look at the league table for the Bundesliga so far this season:

Nothing special right? It isn't if you just look at it by numbers, but if you watch the teams play you will see a league full of stars that are ready to emerge but don't get the coverage they need to become known and hlep the league grow. The leading scorer in the Bundesliga isn't a member of Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund, but in fact it is Stefan Kie├čling from Bayer Leverkusen. The top assist man? Szabolcs Huszti from Hannover 96. These players play for teams not as flashy and known as others, but are just as excited to watch.

I've heard many arguments for people not interested in the league, and that is lack of scoring and lack of competitiveness. But take a look at this weekends past scores and you can see that these stats are not true. If you want scoring and don't feel like watching Bayern Munich, look at the score of the Hannover and Hamburg game that ended 5-1 in Hannovers favor. If you want to see competitiveness but don't see it in the score, look at the stats of a game between 2 of the bottom tier teams in the Bundesliga this weekend, Augsburg and Hoffenheim. Between them there were 27 shots, 41 fouls, and 3 goals. One of which came at the brink of stoppage time.

Just reading about the non top teams in Bundesliga might not make you want to watch the league, but the top teams are trying to change that. The three Bundesliga teams that were in this years Champions League spots all made it out of their groups on top, with Dortmund topping the group of death that included Ajax, Manchester City, and Real Madrid. You cannot tell me that isn't impressive. Schalke are proving their worth as they hold an advantage over much hyped Galatasary that includes Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba. And Bayern Munich are on a tear this Champions League campaign so far, after having made 2 of the past 3 Champions League finals they seem set to make another CL finals run.

So I recommend you look into the league I call my personal favorite, not just because my favorite team plays in it but because it is ready to emerge as the next big, much talked about league. The league is no longer Bayern, Dortmund, and some other teams. The league is full of teams ready to challenge for European competition spots, with rosters filled with young, talented players.

The future is bright for the Bundesliga, it just needs to get the respect it deserves.

What do you think? Is the Bundesliga set to breakout into a major competition? Do you want to see more from the German league?

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