Why Germany Is The Place To Be For Sport

Written by Andy

 

Welcome again sports fans today I will be discussing a country I admire in terms of some sports I love and enjoy.

As many know already the German Bundesliga is my favourite league in football and has been for the past four or five years. The structure of the league and the way fans are treated make it a place everyone loves to be and the quality of the national team very much reflects the quality of the league.

But its not just football that has success in Germany I will be looking at the world of boxing and some big names in particular who are based in Germany and most will know I’m referring to Vladimir and Vitali the Klitschko brothers who are from Ukraine but are based in Germany for their fights.

Another unique aspect of sport in Germany comes from Formula 1 and the famous Hockenheim race course which attracts thousands every year and gives people the chance to watch cars go so fast even faster than the Autobahn!

There are various others as well but those are the big three and we will start the blog now

  

German Bundesliga (Football)

The Bundesliga is contested by 18 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation. Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, with a few games played during weekday evenings. ESPN have the contract in the UK to show some live games and have a pre-game review and highlights show on Fridays and Mondays.

A total of 51 clubs have competed in the Bundesliga since its founding. Bayern Munich has won the Bundesliga the most, winning the title 21 times. However, the Bundesliga has seen other champions with Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg, Werder Bremen,Borussia Monchengladbach and Stuttgart in recent years.

While the Bundesliga may be ranked only 3rd behind England and Spain in the co-efficient league the German Bundesliga is the best and most followed league in world football with an average attendance of 45,134 in the season of 2011/12. As I have mentioned in another blog only the NFL is watched by more people than the Bundesliga based on average attendance.

Its amazing to think the Bundesliga was only formed in 1963 which is very late compared to a lot of other nations. This is why time and time again I have said its never to late to change your structure and I wish Scotland would follow the lead of the setup in Germany as I will explain below

The Bundesliga is composed of two divisions: the 1. Bundesliga (although it is rarely referred to with the First prefix), and, below that, the 2. Bundesliga (Second Bundesliga), which has been the second tier of German football since 1974. The Bundesligen (plural) are professional leagues. Since 2008, the 3. Liga (3rd League) in Germany is also a professional league, but may not be called Bundesliga because the league is run by the German Football Association (DFB) and not, as are the two Bundesligen, by the German Football League (Deutsche Fußball-Liga or DFL).

Below the level of the 3rd league, leagues are generally often subdivided on a regional basis. For example, the Regionalligen are currently made up of Nord (North), Süd (South) and West divisions, and the Oberligen (upper leagues) are composed of nine divisions representing federal states or large urban and geographical areas. The levels below the Oberligen differ between the local areas. The league structure has changed frequently and typically reflects the degree of participation in the sport in various parts of the country. In the early 1990s, changes were driven by the reunification of Germany and the subsequent integration of the national leagues of East and West Germany.

Every team in the two Bundesligen must have a licence to play in the league, or else they are relegated into the regional leagues. To obtain a licence, teams must be financially healthy and meet certain standards of conduct as organisations.

As in other national leagues, there are significant benefits to being in the top division:

  • A greater share of television broadcast licence revenues goes to 1. Bundesliga sides.
  • 1. Bundesliga teams draw significantly greater levels of fan support. Average attendance in the first league is 42,673 per game — more than twice the average of the 2. Bundesliga.
  • Greater exposure through television and higher attendance levels helps 1. Bundesliga teams attract the most lucrative sponsorships.
  • 1. Bundesliga teams develop substantial financial muscle through the combination of television and gate revenues, sponsorships and marketing of their team brands. This allows them to attract and retain skilled players from domestic and international sources and to construct first-class stadium facilities.

In the 2008–09 season, the Bundesliga reinstated an earlier German system of promotion and relegation:

  • The bottom two finishers in the Bundesliga are automatically relegated to the 2. Bundesliga, with the top two finishers in the 2. Bundesliga taking their place.
  • The third-from-bottom club in the Bundesliga will play a two-legged match with the third-place team from the 2. Bundesliga, with the winner taking up the final place in the following season’s Bundesliga.

If Scotland were to adopt a similar league structure to the one above I believe not only would our game thrive but would attract a lot more in terms of sponsorship and revenue. In the local and or regional leagues we could have teams from the highlands and junior levels along with the no doubt list of new towns looking to create football clubs in order to reach the Premier League.

It may not attract anywhere near the same level of interest or money but I guarantee it would significantly change the face of the game and make it much more exciting for the fans and marketable to the rest of the world and if these things happened over time the quality of young player and facilities get better and that leads to the national team being much better in years to come.

They could also look at the cost of the tickets for games as its cheaper to watch a Bundesliga match than it is an SFL 3 match! You can get a pie and a beer at a Bundesliga match and also a train ticket included in your ticket but in Scotland you need to buy all of those as an extra! Something to ponder one would think.

When you look at some German players plying their trade in the Bundesliga its no surprise to see people finally start to notice them on the international stage with Germany.

The latest squad picked was

1 GK Manuel Neuer  (age 26) 34 0 Germany Bayern Munich
12 GK Ron-Robert Zieler  (age 23) 2 0 Germany Hannover 96
22 GK Marc-André ter Stegen  (age 20) 2 0 Germany Borussia Mönchengladbach
3 DF Marcel Schmelzer  (age 24) 9 0 Germany Borussia Dortmund
4 DF Benedikt Höwedes  (age 24) 9 1 Germany Schalke 04
5 DF Heiko Westermann  (age 29) 24 3 Germany Hamburger SV
14 DF Holger Badstuber  (age 23) 29 1 Germany Bayern Munich
16 DF Philipp Lahm (captain)  (age 28) 93 5 Germany Bayern Munich
17 DF Per Mertesacker  (age 28) 83 1 England Arsenal
20 DF Jérôme Boateng  (age 24) 27 0 Germany Bayern Munich
6 MF Sami Khedira  (age 25) 36 2 Spain Real Madrid
7 MF Bastian Schweinsteiger  (age 28) 96 23 Germany Bayern Munich
8 MF Mesut Özil  (age 24) 42 13 Spain Real Madrid
9 MF André Schürrle  (age 21) 18 7 Germany Bayer Leverkusen
10 MF Lukas Podolski  (age 27) 104 44 England Arsenal
13 MF Thomas Müller  (age 23) 36 10 Germany Bayern Munich
18 MF Toni Kroos  (age 22) 33 4 Germany Bayern Munich
19 MF Mario Götze  (age 20) 18 3 Germany Borussia Dortmund
21 MF Marco Reus  (age 23) 12 5 Germany Borussia Dortmund
11 FW Miroslav Klose  (age 34) 125 65 Italy Lazio

I watch a lot of these guys on a weekly basis and have been raving about several of them for the past few seasons. Its scary to think this squad of players will not only get better with age but aren’t anywhere near the peak of their footballing powers yet.

Only Miroslav Klose is over the age of 30 and that squad is also missing the prolific Mario Gomez of Bayern Munich as well

Another unique thing about that squad is only 5 of them play outside the Bundesliga. In a lot of other squads such as Argentina, Brazil, Holland or Italy you will find a lot of players playing abroad. Which isn’t a bad thing but it just shows the power of the Bundesliga with so many of their talented players playing in Germany.

Competitive league equals competitive players who must be at their up most best to get a game and that equals a competitive national team so take note Scotland.

  

The Klitschko Brothers & More (Boxing) 

Its a long time ago since both brothers made their heavyweight debuts on November 6th 1996 in Hamburg,Germany but to see how far both have come is nothing short of remarkable.

Vitali is 5 years the elder than Wladimir and the brothers born in Ukraine both have dominated the heavyweight scene for a number of years now.

Whether your stance is they are boring,mechanical or the division lacks quality for me that isn’t their fault. They are both quality quality boxers and will easily go down with the all time greats. Ok it would have been nice if they had a little more competition as guys like Ali, Frazier,Foreman,Lewis,Tyson and the likes all had much harder opponents but again the Klitschko’s cant be blamed for that!

But this isn’t the blog to debate the heavyweight scene that may well be done another time we are here to discuss the brothers work in Germany and why its the place to be.

The Klitschko brothers jointly run the professional boxing promotion companies K2 Promotions and K2 East Promotions, as well as the Klitschko Brothers Fund, a charity organization. They appear together on German TV shows and commercials, have their own website and support each other’s training and fights.

German TV company RTL have the Klitschko brothers as highly regarded as their football TV contracts

In Germany alone when one of the brothers fight they can be assured of at least 11 million viewers and a TV market share of normally 50 percent is obtained according to their management group which they of course run themselves!

I’m sure many of you reading this who follow boxing will have seen the German boxing shows normally in football stadiums. Its the way they are put together that impresses me and I genuinely believe only Las Vegas can top a boxing show in Germany.

David Haye sampled the German atmosphere and even the creative walk ons added to a huge boxing match which sadly failed to live up to the hype but that’s boxing!

Who will the next British heavyweight to sample this atmosphere? David Price for me is the best British hope and I certainly hope Tyson Fury doesn’t get in there before him after Fury knocked back the opportunity to fight Price.

Vladimir and Vitali are abosloute superstars in Germany and quite rightly so!

Nobody in the country gets as much love as them and heavyweight boxing in Germany is as big as it was worldwide back in the day to them as the brothers are looked upon as on of their own despite being born in Ukraine.

Of course there are many more top boxers based in Germany

Felix Sturm (37-2-2, 16 KOs)

The reigning WBA middleweight champ takes a lot of criticism (like the Klitschkos) for a relatively poor level of opposition, overall, but the 33-year-old is a quality fighter. With three world middleweight title reigns and a 14-2-2 record in world title fights, Sturm deserves some recognition and has, to some degree, raised the level of his opposition in his last three contests. A unification against IBF middleweight champ, Daniel Geale, is scheduled for September 1st.

Marco Huck (34-2-1, 25 KOs)

The Serbian-born WBO cruiserweight world titlist has been a main stage cruiser since 2009 and, most recently, dropped a close majority decision to consensus number three heavyweight in the world, Alexander Povetkin, in a back and forth thriller. In his last bout he drew with Ola Afolabi, but that doesn’t erase a three-year and eight-fight stretch as defending world champ.

Robert Stieglitz (42-2, 23 KOs)

The reigning WBO super middleweight world champ is easy to forget among the bigger stars in the 168 lb. class. However, while the division was crowning a consensus champ via the Super Six tournament, Stieglitz was winning the WBO title the old fashioned way. The jury is still out on the Russian-born titlist, but this Saturday (August 25th) Stieglitz will get his chance to define his title reign against the mega-popular former middleweight champ, Arthur Abraham.

Arthur Abraham (34-3, 27 KOs)

As IBF middleweight champ, Armenia’s “King” Arthur Abraham captured the hearts and minds of the German fans with ten straight title defense before moving up to the jam-packed super middleweight division for a try at international glory. After a chilling twelfth round knockout of Jermain Taylor in the opening bout of the Super Six tournament, Abraham was brought down to Earth in a major way with three consecutive tournament losses (to Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, and Andre Ward). On August 25th, Abraham gets one last chance at a world title when he challenges for Robert Stieglitz’s WBO super middleweight title.

Eduard Gutknecht (24-1, 9 KOs)

Since suffering his lone defeat at the hands of fellow German resident, Robert Stieglitz, in 2010, Kazakhstan-born Gutknecht has performed well at the European level with six consecutive victories. Currently holding the European light heavyweight title with three defenses under his belt, Gutknecht may soon be ready for another try at the world stage.

I know what some may have spotted an its quite an ironic thing but only one of the boxers I have spoken about in this piece was actually born in Germany!

Thus enhancing my point that Germany is the place to be as so many top boxers want to station themselves in Germany!

Hockenheim Race Course (Formula 1)

Is the famous motorsport race track situated near the town of Hockenheim in Baden-Wurttemberg,Germany. Amongst other motor racing events, it biennially hosts the Formula 1 German Grand Prix. Situated in the Rhine valley, the circuit is almost completely flat, with very little change in elevation.

Its also been used by some famous musicians for concerts such as Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Robbie Williams as well as the 2009 Sonisphere Festival which was headlined by metal legends Metallica.

The new track has a seating capacity of 120,000 so plenty space for the motor enthusiasts!

A lot of fans and racers of the sport have said they actually preferred the old designed circuit which was changed in 2002

The new circuit is good for racing, but many lamented the loss of the long lazy straights, which marked out the old circuit as something different from the rest of the modern autodromes.

Its known as a very demanding course but one that provides exciting over taking opportunities which is what the fans want to see!

I’ll now do some mini pieces on various other sports loved by people in Germany and sports you should try and take in if you ever make the trip!

  

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is one of Germany’s most popular sports, although considering its importance and spectator popularity in the nation it is ranked far behind football. There are many leagues but the top one is the 14 team Deutsche Eishockey Liga. The Germany men’s national ice hockey team features NHL players such as Christian Ehrhoff, Jochen Hecht, Dennis Seidenberg, Thomas Greiss, Marcel Goc and Marco Sturm and NHL prospects like Alexander Sulzer, Philip Gogulla, Korbinian Holzer and Marcel Müller. The men’s national team is currently ranked 9th in the world.

In 2010, Mannheim and Cologne co-hosted the Ice Hockey World Championships. Germany defeated the USA in the opening game in front of a record breaking crowd of 77,803 in Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins-Arena. Germany finished the tournament in fourth place, the nation’s best finish since 1953. German goaltender Dennis Endras was named the tournament’s top goaltender by the IIHF directors and the top goaltender and most valuable player by the media

 

Basketball

Together with football, ice hockey and handball, basketball in Germany is among the most popular spectator sports.

One of the most popular non-football athletes to come out of Germany is Dirk Nowitzki, who plays power forward for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. In 2007, he became the first player trained totally outside the U.S. to be named league MVP, and in 2011 led the Mavericks to their first NBA title.

The German national basketball team´s biggest successes are the victory in the European Championship of 1993 at home in Germany, the silver medal in the 2005 European Championships and the bronze medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championship.

 

Handball

Germany is regarded as the birthplace of handball. The first match of the modern era was officially recorded on 28 October 1917 in Berlin, Germany. Outdoor Handball had its only Olympic Games appearance in the XIth Olympiad (1936 Berlin Games). The first international match recorded was played on 3 September 1925 with Germany and Austria.

Today handball is a major team sport being played and watched in all of Germany. The German Handball Bundesliga is considered to be the most competitive professional leagues in the world. As a spectator sport it ranks popular in smaller cities around the country and draws attention comparable to other indoor sports such as ice hockey or basketball.

The Germany national handball team is the national handball team of Germany. Germany won the handball world cup in 1938, 1978 and in 2007 as the host of the handball world cup.

  

Wintersports (Winter Olympics)

Germany is one of the most successful wintersport nations. Its dominance in various disciplines can be attributed to them being the only country in the world to have four bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton tracks. These tracks are located in Altenberg, Königssee, Oberhof, and Winterberg. ean Luge Championships European championships to the Winter Olympics. Noted lugers include Georg Hackl,Klaus Bonsack, Margit Schumann, David Möller, Silke Kraushaar-Pielach, Sylke Otto, and Tatjana Hüfner. Of 117 Olympic Medals Germany won 70!

In skeleton, Germany has been dominant with the likes of Kerstin Jürgens and Anja Huber.

  

Golf

As recently as 2007, Germany hosted three events on golf’s European Tour—the Deutsche Bank Players Championship of Europe, the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the BMW International Open. However, since 2010, the only European Tour event in Germany has been the BMW International Open. The Players Championship was scrapped after 2007; the Mercedes-Benz Championship was not held in 2008, resumed in 2009, and dropped again in 2010.

Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer is the first German to have won a major championship and is a former World No. 1. He is now on the Champions Tour in the U.S. for golfers 50 and over; he led that tour in prize money in each of his first three full seasons (2008, 2009, 2010), and won two majors in 2010, namely the Senior British Open and U.S. Senior Open. Martin Kaymer became the second German to win a major championship by winning the 2010 PGA Championship in Wisconsin, and in 2011 rose to World No. 1. and of course not to forget sunk the winning put in Europe’s recent amazing comeback in Medina in this years Ryder Cup as I have blogged about in recent times!

So there you have it

If I can’t convince you Germany is the place to be after all that I’d love to hear suggestions on where I can go to better that for my sport!

I hope you enjoyed this latest piece and until next time

Thanks for stopping by The Sports Lab

or should that be

Dank für Aufhalten durch Den Sport Labor

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