Football is back! I cannot express the joy of watching live football in lockdown, even if it’s a bit odd in the empty and lifeless stadium. Yet, arguably the Bundesliga has the biggest amount of fans and followers ever given that all eyes are on Germany being the first to reintroduce competitive football. This has presented a big issue for many non-Bundesliga followers of who to inherit as their second team. With many a quiz floating around the internet, I went on my own journey to settling on which team to follow.
When making the decision, I ruled out Bayern Munich and Borrusia Dortmund straight away, they win far too much for my liking and as a Sunderland fan, that is something I see often and shouldn’t get used to over lockdown. Being a Black Cats follower factors into the rest of my decisions. I was going to follow Schalke as my player on FIFA is currently there, yet after Newcastle United endorsed Schalke as their team, it was an instant no and a quick transfer away from there. Sunderland endorsed FC Koln, but after seeing our social media account interact with Leverkusen’s, I settled on them.
Leverkusen are a good compromise for me, they’re a decent team, so I won’t be stuck miserably pining after another useless side. Currently in the top five of the Bundesliga, they have a mixture of form, keeping fans on their toes with thrilling, action-packed football. Hopefully my endorsement won’t bring their current form down, but I’m excited to see how my inherited side get on.
Did you think we’d have football back on our screens this early? In all honesty, I was prepared for an entire summer day-dreaming about what could’ve been. Whilst still worried about the potential return of football to England, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bundesliga season gets on. However, if I'm going to be following the league I was faced with a big question: who will I be supporting? My initial thought was Leipzig...
They’re a controversial team in Germany, and have split football fans across the world. Many will desire another team to test the giants which are Bayern and Dortmund, yet others are discouraged by their financial backing and the shady actions of their legal team. That being said, I think they’ve got an exciting team, and even with my limited knowledge of the Bundesliga I know that Timo Werner is a real threat. Plus they’ve got ex-Everton winger Ademola Lookman, so I’ll be looking out for him (sorry).
They’re currently 4th in the league, so If I’m going to watch a team during lockdown, I want to see someone aiming for the top portion of the table. I’ve done my time with Everton in the Prem, so I think I deserve to follow a team with a real potential to win the Bundesliga. After their creation in 2009, with vast amounts of cash, they’ve risen to outstanding heights. Who knows, perhaps after a financial takeover we could see Newcastle mirror their success.
With the return of fussball all eyes are on Deutschland, as Bundesliga teams do battle in empty stadiums- and fortunately enough for us on live TV. That left me with the same dilemma as everyone else, who do I cheer on come matchday?
I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the league and traditionally followed Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. However, I decided that they were a bit of a boring pick. Then my thoughts shifted over to the club that stuck their middle finger up to tradition in RB Leipzig but unlike Tom decided that I had too much of a moral compass to support them. After watching the first round of matches one team caught my attention and upon reflection it's a match made in heaven.
That team was Hertha Berlin. Ask anyone in the Courier office and they'll probably tell you I have that 'went to Berlin once and came back thinking they were a bit edgy' kind of vibe- despite never having been there. The German capital was once described by former Mayor Klaus Wowereit as "poor but sexy". However, this label arguably doesn't completely describe Hertha as they have spent just under £100 million this season alone.
Hertha currently sit 10th in the table but have been on fire since the break, having won two and drawn one since games resumed- including a 2-2 draw away at Leipzig and a huge 4-0 victory in the Berlin derby against Union. So, while the first half of Wowereit's famous quote doesn't quite fit Hertha, their play style has all the sex appeal of their home city. The club have been playing some beautiful stuff, with Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha looking particularly impressive. Cunha's mesmeric dribbling has led to him scoring some of the best goals since the Bundesliga resumed. Pair these performances on the pitch with Hertha's incredible support off it and they look like a team I could well develop a real liking for even after football kicks off again closer to home.
My adopted Bundesliga team is Hertha Berlin. I first gained my attatchement to Hertha around 18 months ago when I first arranged a trip to Berlin over the Easter break.
I bought the shirt, began following scores and learnt about the culture of the club.
Berlin is a rarity. It's a capital city without a "big" football club, but the city breaths football. I highly recommend this COPA90 documentary to learn about the deep football heritage in the city.
Big under-performers in terms of trophies, just like my beloved Tottenham (sigh), Hertha seemed to be the perfect team for me...
April 2019 I arrived at the Olimpiastadion and I was amazed by it. Despite the running track, the atmosphere was brilliant, as I basked in 27 degree heat, as Hertha fell to a 2-1 defeat to Dusseldorf. I also visited Dynamo Berlin on my travels, but my decision was made, I was now attached to Hertha.
So much so, that this February I travelled to Dusseldorf, as Hertha clawed back from 3-0 down, to snatch a 3-3 draw away from home. Being caught alongside Hertha's ultras in Dusseldorf was certainly an experience I won't forget.
I fell in love with the culture of Berlin and a city of such culture deserves a 'big football club'.
With Hertha's recent new investors and January spending spree, don't be surprised if the club (finally) turns into the giant the city deserves.
I have enjoyed watching German football more and more since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, and my affiliation with one team has grown substantially. As a Liverpool fan, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I am a Dortmund fan. However, this is with good reason.
The first reason for supporting Dortmund has to be the affiliation with Liverpool FC. Singing You’ll Never Walk Alone is something that gives me goosebumps every time I sing it, so I can certainly relate to Dortmund’s use of the song, and how special an atmosphere it creates before the game. The further affiliation between the two clubs is obviously the wonderful Jurgen Klopp, who is loved by both sets of fans. Klopp came to play football ‘the Dortmund way’ at Anfield, and boy has it worked.
But, my love and appreciation for Dortmund doesn’t just end there. The squad is full of exciting young talent that really are a thrill to watch. Erling Haaland this season has scored 41 times in all competitions (only 36 games), and for a 19-year old, this is nothing short of extraordinary. The 6-foot 4 talisman shows promise of potentially being the best player in the world at the moment, and the prospect of him coming to the Premier League is a very exciting thought.
Julian Brandt serves as another reminder of how strong Dortmund are going forward. 24 years old, and 8 goal contributions in all competitions this season. Nowhere near as impressive a record as Haaland, however Julian Brandt is a very solid and mature player for his age, and it is so exciting to see such young talent at this team that are challenging for the Bundesliga title.
There is however a balance between young and old, which also earns my respect. Seeing Mats Hummels and Roman Bürki still playing for Dortmund is a refreshing sight to see as well, as it is the perfect balance of experience and the future. It was a massive shame to see Dortmund lose against Bayern Munich, because if the game had gone the other way, Dortmund would have been favourites for me to win the league. The longer Dortmund take to win a title, the more prominent the question surrounding how long they can hold onto the likes of Brandt and Haaland becomes, but one thing is for certain; Dortmund know how to create a punishing squad, and they have a great eye for a player. And that is why I support Dortmund.
I’m not going to lie I’ve mostly chosen 1. FC Koln as my team because of their badge, it has a goat on it and is a bit meta in its badge within a badge design. If you need more than that then what about the fact that they’ve added ‘1.’ at the start of their name? As far as I can tell they’ve only won a couple of Second Division titles since the early '80s so christening themselves with the number 1 is a maverick move that I really admire, especially as it probably means they’re guaranteed to be top of the table before any games have been played. All this had attracted me to Koln but the clincher came when I looked at their Wikipedia page. The section detailing their most recent history is entitled ‘Decline’, which as a Preston North End fan was music to my ears. Football’s all about disappointment, heartbreak and underachievement, and I hope Koln will provide me with those emotions until North End are back playing and ready to leave me emotionally hollow once again.