Organising bodyDeutsche Fußball Liga (DFL)
Founded24 August 1963; 60 years ago (1963-08-24)
Number of teams18 (since 1992–93)
Level on pyramid1
Relegation to2. Bundesliga
Domestic cup(s)
International cup(s)
Current championsBayer Leverkusen (1st title)
Most championshipsBayern Munich (32 titles)
Most appearancesCharly Körbel (602)
Top goalscorerGerd Müller (365)
TV partnersList of broadcasters
Current: 2024–25 Bundesliga

The Bundesliga (German: [ˈbʊndəsˌliːɡa] ; lit.'Federal League'), sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga ([ˌfuːsbal-]) or 1. Bundesliga ([ˌeːɐ̯stə-]), is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of the German football league system, the Bundesliga is Germany's primary football competition. The Bundesliga comprises 18 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the 2. Bundesliga. Seasons run from August to May. Games are played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. All of the Bundesliga clubs take part in the DFB-Pokal cup competition. The winner of the Bundesliga qualifies for the DFL-Supercup.

Fifty-seven clubs have competed in the Bundesliga since its founding. Bayern Munich has won 32 of 61 titles, as well as eleven consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2023, which is a record for a Big Five league. The Bundesliga has also seen other champions, with Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, Werder Bremen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and VfB Stuttgart most prominent among them. The Bundesliga is one of the top national leagues, ranked fourth in Europe according to UEFA's league coefficient ranking for the current 2023–24 season, based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons.[1] The Bundesliga led the UEFA ranking from 1976 to 1984 and in 1990. It has also produced the continent's top-rated club seven times. Bundesliga clubs have won eight UEFA Champions League, seven UEFA Europa League, four European Cup Winners' Cup, two UEFA Super Cup, two FIFA Club World Cup, and three Intercontinental Cup titles. Its players have accumulated nine Ballon d'Or awards, two The Best FIFA Men's Player awards, five European Golden Shoe, and three UEFA Men's Player of the Year awards including UEFA Club Footballer of the Year.

The Bundesliga is the number one association football league in the world in terms of average attendance; out of all sports, its average of 45,134 fans per game during the 2011–12 season was the second-highest of any sports league in the world after the American National Football League.[2] The Bundesliga is broadcast on television in over 200 countries.[3]

The Bundesliga was founded in 1962 in Dortmund[4] and the first season started in 1963–64. The structure and organisation of the Bundesliga, along with Germany's other football leagues, have undergone frequent changes. The Bundesliga was founded by the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (English: German Football Association), but is now operated by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (English: German Football League).


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 (2nd 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 has also been 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 (DFL).

Below the level of the 3. Liga, leagues are generally subdivided on a regional basis. For example, the Regionalligen are currently made up of Nord (North), Nordost (Northeast), Süd (South), Südwest (Southwest) and West divisions. Below this are thirteen parallel divisions, most of which are called Oberligen (upper leagues) which represent 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 league of East 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:

The 1. Bundesliga is financially strong, and the 2. Bundesliga has begun to evolve in a similar direction, becoming more stable organizationally and financially, and reflecting an increasingly higher standard of professional play.[citation needed]

Borussia Dortmund against rivals Schalke, known as the Revierderby, in the Bundesliga in 2009

No clubs have played continuously in the Bundesliga since its foundation; on 12 May 2018, Hamburger SV was the last founding club to be relegated for the first time.[5][6]

In the 2008–09 season, the Bundesliga reinstated an earlier German system of promotion and relegation, which had been in use from 1981 until 1991:

From 1992 until 2008, a different system was used, in which the bottom three finishers of the Bundesliga were automatically relegated, to be replaced by the top three finishers in the 2. Bundesliga. From 1963 until 1981 two, or later three, teams were relegated from the Bundesliga automatically, while promotion was decided either completely or partially in promotion play-offs.

The season starts in early August[7] and lasts until late May, with a winter break of six weeks (mid-December through to the end of January). Starting with the 2002-03 season, opening matches were introduced to feature defending champions on Friday nights on the first match day. Defending champions have not lost the opening matches since then, winning 16 of the 21 matches (up to the 2022-23 season). Starting with the 2021–22 season, kick off times were changed with Friday matches starting at 8:30 pm, Saturdays at 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm, and Sundays at 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm.[8]



Further information: History of German football

Before the formation of the Bundesliga, German football was played at an amateur level in a large number of sub-regional leagues until, in 1949, part-time (semi-) professionalism was introduced and only five regional Oberligen (Premier Leagues) remained. Regional champions and runners-up played a series of playoff matches for the right to compete in a final game for the national championship. On 28 January 1900, a national association, the Deutscher Fußball Bund (DFB) had been founded in Leipzig with 86 member clubs. The first recognized national championship team was VfB Leipzig, who beat DFC Prague 7–2 in a game played at Altona on 31 May 1903.

Through the 1950s, there were continued calls for the formation of a central professional league, especially as professional leagues in other countries began to draw Germany's best players away from the semi-professional domestic leagues. At the international level, the German game began to falter as German teams often fared poorly against professional teams from other countries. A key supporter of the central league concept was national team head coach Sepp Herberger who said, "If we want to remain competitive internationally, we have to raise our expectations at the national level."[This quote needs a citation]

Meanwhile, in East Germany, a separate league was established with the formation of the DS-Oberliga (Deutscher Sportausschuss Oberliga) in 1950. The league was renamed the Football Oberliga DFV in 1958 and was generally referred to simply as the DDR-Liga or DDR-Oberliga. The league fielded 14 teams with two relegation spots.


Main article: Introduction of the Bundesliga

The Bundesliga was founded at the annual DFB convention at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund on 28 July 1962

The defeat of the national team by Yugoslavia (0–1) in a 1962 World Cup quarter-final game in Chile was one impetus (of many) towards the formation of a national league. At the annual DFB convention under new DFB president Hermann Gösmann (elected that very day) the Bundesliga was created in Dortmund at the Westfalenhallen on 28 July 1962 to begin play starting with the 1963–64 season.[9]

At the time, there were five Oberligen (premier leagues) in place representing West Germany's North, South, West, Southwest, and Berlin. East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain, maintained its separate league structure. 46 clubs applied for admission to the new league. 16 teams were selected based on their success on the field, economic criteria and representation of the various Oberligen.

The first Bundesliga games were played on 24 August 1963. Early favorite 1. FC Köln was the first Bundesliga champion (with 45:15 points) over second place clubs Meidericher SV and Eintracht Frankfurt (both 39:21).


Following German reunification in 1990, the East German leagues were merged into the West German system. Dynamo Dresden and FC Hansa Rostock were seeded into the top-tier Bundesliga division ahead of the 1991–92 Bundesliga, with other clubs being sorted into lower tiers.[citation needed]

21st century

Gazprom became a major sponsor of Bundesliga football in 2006, with Gerhard Schröder's climb to the top of the company.[10]

Competition format

Son Heung-min of Hamburger SV against Eljero Elia of Werder Bremen in the Nordderby

The German football champion is decided strictly by play in the Bundesliga. Each club plays every other club once at home and once away. Originally, a victory was worth two points, with one point for a draw and none for a loss. Since the 1995–96 season, a victory has been worth three points, while a draw remains worth a single point, and zero points are given for a loss. The club with the most points at the end of the season becomes the German champion. Currently, the top four clubs in the table qualify automatically for the group phase of the UEFA Champions League. The two teams at the bottom of the table are relegated into the 2. Bundesliga, while the top two teams in the 2. Bundesliga are promoted. The 16th-placed team (third-last) in the 1. Bundesliga and the third-placed team in the 2. Bundesliga play a two-leg play-off match. The winner of this match plays the next season in the 1. Bundesliga, and the losing side in the 2. Bundesliga.

If teams are level on points, tie-breakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Goal difference for the entire season
  2. Total goals scored for the entire season
  3. Head-to-head results (total points)
  4. Head-to-head goals scored
  5. Head-to-head away goals scored
  6. Total away goals scored for the entire season

If two clubs are still tied after all of these tie-breakers have been applied, a single match is held at a neutral site to determine the placement. However, this has never been necessary in the history of the Bundesliga.

In terms of team selection, matchday squads must have no more than five non-EU representatives. Nine substitutes are permitted to be selected, from which five can be used in the duration of the game.

Changes in league structure

Qualification for European competitions

The number of German clubs which may participate in UEFA competitions is determined by UEFA coefficients, which takes into account the results of a particular nation's clubs in UEFA competitions over the preceding five years.

History of European qualification


Main article: List of clubs in the Bundesliga

Club Position in 2022–23 First Bundesliga season Number of seasons in Bundesliga First season of current spell Number of seasons of current spell Bundesliga titles National titles Last title
FC Augsburgb 15th 2011–12 13 2011–12 13 0 0
Bayer Leverkusenb 6th 1979–80 45 1979–80 45 1 1 2024
Bayern Munichb 1st 1965–66 59 1965–66 59 32 33 2023
VfL Bochum 14th 1971–72 37 2021–22 3 0 0
Borussia Dortmunda 2nd 1963–64 57 1976–77 48 5 8 2012
Borussia Mönchengladbach 10th 1965–66 56 2008–09 16 5 5 1977
Darmstadt 98 2nd (2. B) 1978–79 5 2023–24 1 0 0
Eintracht Frankfurta 7th 1963–64 55 2012–13 12 0 1 1959
SC Freiburg 5th 1993–94 24 2016–17 8 0 0
1. FC Heidenheimb 1st (2. B) 2023–24 1 2023–24 1 0 0
TSG Hoffenheimb 12th 2008–09 16 2008–09 16 0 0
1. FC Kölna 11th 1963–64 52 2019–20 5 2 3 1978
RB Leipzigb 3rd 2016–17 8 2016–17 8 0 0
Mainz 05 9th 2004–05 18 2009–10 15 0 0
VfB Stuttgarta 16th 1963–64 57 2020–21 4 3 5 2007
Union Berlinb 4th 2019–20 5 2019–20 5 0 0
Werder Bremena 13th 1963–64 59 2022–23 2 4 4 2004
VfL Wolfsburgb 8th 1997–98 27 1997–98 27 1 1 2009
a Founding member of the Bundesliga
b Never been relegated from the Bundesliga

Members for 2023–24

Main article: 2023–24 Bundesliga

Team Location Stadium Capacity Ref.
FC Augsburg Augsburg WWK Arena 30,660 [11]
Bayer Leverkusen Leverkusen BayArena 30,210 [11]
Bayern Munich Munich Allianz Arena 75,000 [11]
VfL Bochum Bochum Vonovia Ruhrstadion 27,599 [11]
Werder Bremen Bremen Wohninvest Weserstadion 42,100 [11]
Darmstadt 98 Darmstadt Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor 17,650 [11]
Borussia Dortmund Dortmund Signal Iduna Park 81,359 [12]
Borussia Mönchengladbach Mönchengladbach Borussia-Park 59,724 [11]
Eintracht Frankfurt Frankfurt Deutsche Bank Park 51,500 [11]
SC Freiburg Freiburg im Breisgau Europa-Park Stadion 34,700 [11]
1. FC Heidenheim Heidenheim Voith-Arena 15,000 [11]
1899 Hoffenheim Sinsheim PreZero Arena 30,164 [13]
1. FC Köln Cologne RheinEnergieStadion 49,698 [11]
RB Leipzig Leipzig Red Bull Arena 47,069 [14]
Mainz 05 Mainz Mewa Arena 34,000 [11]
VfB Stuttgart Stuttgart MHPArena 60,449 [11]
Union Berlin Berlin Stadion An der Alten Försterei 22,012 [11]
VfL Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Volkswagen Arena 30,000 [11]

Business model

In the 2009–10 season the Bundesliga's turnover was €1.7bn, broken down into match-day revenue (€424m), sponsorship receipts (€573m) and broadcast income (€594m). That year it was the only European football league where clubs collectively made a profit. Bundesliga clubs paid less than 50% of revenue in players' wages, the lowest percentage out of the European leagues. The Bundesliga has the lowest ticket prices and the highest average attendance among Europe's five major leagues.[15]

Bundesliga clubs tend to form close associations with local firms, several of which have since grown into big global companies; in a comparison of leading Bundesliga and Premiership clubs, Bayern Munich received 55% of its revenue from company sponsorship deals, while Manchester United got 37%.[15][16][17][18]

Bundesliga clubs are required to be majority-owned by German club members (known as the 50+1 rule [de] to discourage control by a single entity) and operate under tight restrictions on the use of debt for acquisitions (a team only receives an operating licence if it has solid financials); as a result 11 of the 18 clubs were profitable after the 2008–09 season. By contrast, in the other major European leagues numerous high-profile teams have come under ownership of foreign billionaires and a significant number of clubs have high levels of debt.[17][18]

Exceptions to the 50+1 rule allow Bayer Leverkusen, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, and VfL Wolfsburg to be owned by corporations or individual investors. In the cases of Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, the clubs were founded by major corporations (respectively Bayer AG and Volkswagen) as sports clubs for their employees, while Hoffenheim has long received its primary support from SAP co-founder Dietmar Hopp, who played in the club's youth system.[19]

After 2000 the German Football Association and the Bundesliga required every club to run a youth academy with the aim of developing local talent for the club and the national team. As of 2010 the Bundesliga and second Bundesliga spend €75m a year on these youth academies, which train five thousand players aged 12–18. This increased the percentage of under-23-year-olds in the Bundesliga from 6% in 2000 to 15% in 2010. This in turn allows more money to be spent on the smaller number of players that are bought.[15][17][18]

In the 2000s, the Bundesliga was regarded as competitive, as five teams won the league title. This contrasted with the English Premier League, then dominated by a "Big Four" (Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal), as well as France's Ligue 1, won seven consecutive years by Lyon.[20] Since then, however, a resurgent Bayern Munich has won each year from 2013 to 2023.[21][22]

Financial regulations

For a number of years, the clubs in the Bundesliga have been subject to regulations not unlike the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations agreed upon in September 2009.

At the end of each season, clubs in the Bundesliga must apply to the German Football Federation (DFB) for a licence to participate again the following year; only when the DFB, who have access to all transfer documents and accounts, are satisfied that there is no threat of insolvency do they give approval.[23] The DFB have a system of fines and points deductions for clubs who flout rules, and those who go into the red can only buy a player after selling one for at least the same amount. In addition, no individual is allowed to own more than 49 per cent of any Bundesliga club, the only exceptions being VfL Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and current Regionalliga Nordost member FC Carl Zeiss Jena should they ever be promoted to the Bundesliga, as they were each founded as factory teams.[16]

The Commerzbank Arena, is the home ground of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Despite the good economic governance, there have still been some instances of clubs getting into difficulties. In 2004, Borussia Dortmund reported a debt of €118.8 million (£83 million).[24] Having won the Champions League in 1997 and a number of Bundesliga titles, Dortmund had gambled on maintaining their success with an expensive group of largely foreign players but failed, narrowly escaping liquidation in 2006. In subsequent years, the club went through extensive restructuring to return to financial health, largely with young home-grown players. In 2004 Hertha BSC reported debts of £24.7 million and were able to continue in the Bundesliga only after proving they had long term credit with their bank.[24]

The leading German club Bayern Munich made a net profit of just €2.5 million in 2008–09 season (group accounts),[25] while Schalke 04 made a net loss of €30.4 million in 2009 financial year.[26] Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA, made a net loss of just €2.9 million in 2008–09 season.[27]


Main article: Bundesliga attendance

Based on its per-game average, the Bundesliga is the best-attended association football league in the world; out of all sports, its average of 45,116 fans per game during the 2011–12 season was the second highest of any professional sports league worldwide, behind only the National Football League of the United States.[2] Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund has the highest average attendance of any football club in the world.[28]

Out of Europe's five major football leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, and Serie A ), the Bundesliga has the lowest ticket prices and the highest average attendance. Many club stadia have large terraced areas for standing fans (by comparison, stadia in the English Premier League are all-seaters due to the Taylor Report). Teams limit the number of season tickets to ensure everyone has a chance to see the games live, and the away club has the right to 10% of the available capacity. Match tickets often double as free rail passes which encourages supporters to travel and celebrate in a relaxed atmosphere. According to Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert, tickets are inexpensive (especially for standing room) as "It is not in the clubs' culture so much [to raise prices]. They are very fan orientated".[15][17][18] Uli Hoeneß, president of Bayern Munich, was quoted as saying "We do not think the fans are like cows to be milked. Football has got to be for everybody."[16]

The Bundesliga has the highest average attendance of any football league in the world. Borussia Dortmund has the highest average attendance at Signal Iduna Park of any football club in the world.

The spectator figures for league for the last ten seasons:

Bundesliga Spectator Statistics
Season Overall Average Best supported club Average
2011–12[29] 13,805,514 45,116 Borussia Dortmund 80,521
2012–13[30] 13,042,263 42,622 Borussia Dortmund 80,520
2013–14[31] 13,311,145 43,500 Borussia Dortmund 80,297
2014–15[32] 13,323,031 43,539 Borussia Dortmund 80,463
2015–16[33] 13,249,778 43,300 Borussia Dortmund 81,178
2016–17[34] 12,703,167 41,514 Borussia Dortmund 79,653
2017–18[35] 13,661,796 44,646 Borussia Dortmund 79,496
2018–19[36] 13,298,147 43,458 Borussia Dortmund 80,820
2019–20[37] 9,112,950 29,781 Bayern Munich[38] 57,353
2020–21[39] 163,705 535 Borussia Dortmund[40] 1,282
2021–22[41] 4,641,988 21,039 Borussia Dortmund[42] 41,789
2022–23[43] 13,147,701 42,966 Borussia Dortmund 81,228
2023–24[44] 12,090,797 39,512 Borussia Dortmund 81,305

Media coverage


The Bundesliga TV, radio, internet, and mobile broadcast rights are distributed by DFL Sports Enterprises, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Fußball Liga. The Bundesliga broadcast rights are sold along with the broadcast rights to the relegation playoffs, 2. Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup.[45]

From 2017 to 2018 to 2018–19, Bundesliga matches were broadcast on TV in Germany on Sky Deutschland and Eurosport. Prior to the 2019–20 season, Eurosport sublicensed its broadcast rights to sports streaming service DAZN, which will broadcast games previously allocated to Eurosport until the conclusion of the 2020–21 season.[46] Three Friday night matches – the openers of the first and second halves of the season, and on the final matchday before the winter break – are broadcast to all Germans on Sat. 1.

Starting with the 2018–19 season, Sky began arranging simulcasts of high-profile Saturday games on free TV to promote its coverage of the league. The April 2019 Revierderby was broadcast on Das Erste, and two additional games during the 2019–20 season were broadcast on ZDF.[47][48]

Day Time (CET) Broadcaster
Friday 20:30 DAZN
Sat.1 (1st, 17th, and 18th matchdays)
(1 match)
Saturday 15:30 Sky Sport Bundesliga (5 matches)
(4 matches in case of a third game on sunday)
18:30 Sky Sport Bundesliga (1 match)
Sunday 15:30 DAZN (1 match)
17:30 DAZN (1 match)
19:30 DAZN (1 match on 5 matchdays)

Radio coverage includes the national Konferenz (whip-around coverage) on the stations of ARD and full match coverage on local radio stations.


The Bundesliga is broadcast on TV in over 200 countries

The Bundesliga is broadcast on TV in over 200 countries. ESPN has held rights in the United States since the beginning of the 2020–21 season. 4 matches per season are reserved for linear television with the rest appearing on ESPN+.[49][50] In Canada, the Bundesliga is broadcast live on DAZN[51]

In the United Kingdom and in Ireland, the Bundesliga is broadcast live on Sky Sports.[52] In Spain, the Bundesliga is broadcast live on Movistar+.[53]

In 2015, digital TV operator StarTimes acquired exclusive television rights for Sub-Saharan Africa for five years starting from 2015 to 2016 season.[54]


Main article: List of German football champions

In total, 13 clubs have won the bundesliga, not including the former German championship titles won before the Bundesliga's inception and those in the East German Oberliga. The record champions are Bayern Munich with 32 titles.[55]

List of champions

The number in parentheses is for Bundesliga titles won.

Season Champions[56]
1963–64 1. FC Köln
1964–65 Werder Bremen
1965–66 1860 Munich (1)
1966–67 Eintracht Braunschweig (1)
1967–68 1. FC Nürnberg (1)
1968–69 Bayern Munich
1969–70 Borussia Mönchengladbach
1970–71 Borussia Mönchengladbach
1971–72 Bayern Munich
1972–73 Bayern Munich
1973–74 Bayern Munich
1974–75 Borussia Mönchengladbach
1975–76 Borussia Mönchengladbach
1976–77 Borussia Mönchengladbach (5)
1977–78 1. FC Köln (2)
1978–79 Hamburger SV
Season Champions
1979–80 Bayern Munich
1980–81 Bayern Munich
1981–82 Hamburger SV
1982–83 Hamburger SV (3)
1983–84 VfB Stuttgart
1984–85 Bayern Munich
1985–86 Bayern Munich
1986–87 Bayern Munich
1987–88 Werder Bremen
1988–89 Bayern Munich
1989–90 Bayern Munich
1990–91 1. FC Kaiserslautern
1991–92 VfB Stuttgart
1992–93 Werder Bremen
1993–94 Bayern Munich
1994–95 Borussia Dortmund
Season Champions
1995–96 Borussia Dortmund
1996–97 Bayern Munich
1997–98 1. FC Kaiserslautern (2)
1998–99 Bayern Munich
1999–2000 Bayern Munich
2000–01 Bayern Munich
2001–02 Borussia Dortmund
2002–03 Bayern Munich
2003–04 Werder Bremen (4)
2004–05 Bayern Munich
2005–06 Bayern Munich
2006–07 VfB Stuttgart (3)
2007–08 Bayern Munich
2008–09 VfL Wolfsburg (1)
2009–10 Bayern Munich
2010–11 Borussia Dortmund
Season Champions
2011–12 Borussia Dortmund (5)
2012–13 Bayern Munich
2013–14 Bayern Munich
2014–15 Bayern Munich
2015–16 Bayern Munich
2016–17 Bayern Munich
2017–18 Bayern Munich
2018–19 Bayern Munich
2019–20 Bayern Munich
2020–21 Bayern Munich
2021–22 Bayern Munich
2022–23 Bayern Munich (32)
2023–24 Bayer Leverkusen (1)

Performance by club

Clubs in bold currently play in the top division. The German championship winners and DDR-Oberliga winners are not included in table below.

Club Winners Runners-up Winning seasons Runners-up seasons
Bayern Munich 32 10 1968–69, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21, 2021–22, 2022–23 1969–70, 1970–71, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1997–98, 2003–04, 2008–09, 2011–12
Borussia Dortmund 5 9 1994–95, 1995–96, 2001–02, 2010–11, 2011–12 1965–66, 1991–92, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2021–22, 2022–23
Borussia Mönchengladbach 5 2 1969–70, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77 1973–74, 1977–78
Werder Bremen 4 7 1964–65, 1987–88, 1992–93, 2003–04 1967–68, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1994–95, 2005–06, 2007–08
Hamburger SV 3 5 1978–79, 1981–82, 1982–83 1975–76, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1986–87
VfB Stuttgart 3 3 1983–84, 1991–92, 2006–07 1978–79, 2002–03, 2023–24
1. FC Köln 2 5 1963–64, 1977–78 1964–65, 1972–73, 1981–82, 1988–89, 1989–90
1. FC Kaiserslautern 2 1 1990–91, 1997–98 1993–94
Bayer Leverkusen 1 5 2023–24 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2001–02, 2010–11
1860 Munich 1 1 1965–66 1966–67
VfL Wolfsburg 1 1 2008–09 2014–15
Eintracht Braunschweig 1 1966–67
1. FC Nürnberg 1 1967–68
Schalke 04 7 1971–72, 1976–77, 2000–01, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2009–10, 2017–18
RB Leipzig 2 2016–17, 2020–21
MSV Duisburg 1 1963–64
Alemannia Aachen 1 1968–69
Hertha BSC 1 1974–75


Oliver Kahn won eight Bundesliga championships

In 2004, the honour of "Verdiente Meistervereine" (roughly "distinguished champion clubs") was introduced, following a custom first practised in Italy[57] to recognize sides that have won three or more championships since 1963 by the display of gold stars on their team badges and jerseys. Each country's usage is unique, with the following rules applying in Germany:[58]

The former East German side BFC Dynamo laid claim to the three stars of a 10-time champion. The club asked for equal rights and petitioned the DFL and the DFB to have their DDR-Oberliga titles recognized. BFC Dynamo received support from SG Dynamo Dresden and 1. FC Magdeburg in its attempts to achieve recognition for East German titles.[59] The DFL eventually answered that it was not the responsible body and pointed to the DFB, but the DFB remained silent for long time. BFC Dynamo eventually took matters into their own hands and emblazoned its jerseys with three stars, while a decision was still pending.[60] This caused some debate because the club had been the favorite club of Erich Mielke during the East German era. There were rumours that the ten titles won by the club were also due to alleged manipulation of the game by Erich Mielke, while there is no proof that referees stood under direct instructions from the Stasi and no document has ever been found in the archives that gave the Stasi a mandate to bribe referees.[61][62][63] Critics in the DFB environment pointed to politically influenced championships in East Germany.[64] BFC Dynamo had been supported by the Stasi and had been advantaged.[64] The club had enjoyed privileged access to talents and access to a permanent training camp at Uckley in Königs Wusterhausen. However, also other clubs in East Germany had enjoyed similar advantages, which put the DFB in a difficult situation.[64] Additionally, former East German referee and CDU parliamentarian Bernd Heynemann spoke out for recognition of all East German titles.[61] The issue of recognition for titles outside the Bundesliga also affected pre-Bundesliga champions, such as Hertha BSC. The DFB finally decided in November 2005 to allow all former champions to display a single star inscribed with the number of titles, including all German men's titles since 1903, women's titles since 1974 and East German titles.[65]

The DFB format only applies to teams playing below the Bundesliga (below the top two divisions), since the DFL conventions apply in the Bundesliga. Greuther Fürth unofficially display three (silver) stars for pre-war titles in spite of being in the Bundesliga. These stars are a permanent part of their crest. However, Fürth has to leave the stars out of their jersey.

Since June 2010, the following clubs have been officially allowed to wear stars while playing in the Bundesliga. The number in parentheses is for Bundesliga titles won.

In addition, a system of one star designation was adopted for use. This system is intended to take into account not only Bundesliga titles but also other (now defunct) national championships. As of July 2014, the following clubs are allowed to wear one star while playing outside the Bundesliga. The number in parentheses is for total league championships won over the course of German football history, and would be displayed within the star. Some teams listed here had different names while winning their respective championships, these names are also noted in parentheses.

* currently member of 1. Bundesliga
** currently member of 2. Bundesliga
*** currently member of 3. Liga

Logo history

For the first time in 1996, the Bundesliga was given its own logo to distinguish itself. Six years later, the logo was revamped into a portrait orientation, which was used until 2010. A new logo was announced for the 2010–11 season in order to modernise the brand logo for all media platforms.[66] To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bundesliga, a special logo was developed for the 2012–13 season, featuring a "50" and "1963–2013".[67] Following the season, the 2010 logo was restored. In December 2016, it was announced that a new logo would be used for the 2017–18 season, modified slightly for digitisation requirements, featuring a matte look.[68]

Influence and criticism

The Dutch football schools, which existed and developed the Netherlands into one of Europe and the world's major football forces, have been strongly influenced and galvanised with German football philosophy, in particular by experiences of Dutch players and managers in Bundesliga.[69] Former England international Owen Hargreaves hailed the Bundesliga alongside Pep Guardiola for its positive impact on nurturing young talents, noting that the Bundesliga is the best league in the world to promote young footballers.[70] Many young English talents have sought refuge in Germany in order to regain fitness and football skills.[71] Outside Europe, the J.League of Japan, which was founded in 1992, was strongly influenced by the philosophy of the Bundesliga. Since then, the J.League has managed to establish itself as one of the best football leagues in Asia, in which it shares a beneficial relationship with its German exemplar.[72]

The Bundesliga has earned praise for its reputation on good financial management and the physical fitness of players.[73]

The Bundesliga outperformed the English Premier League in 2017 in online influence in China, having been accredited for its open embrace of live-streaming and fast-forward visions.[74]

The Bundesliga has at times been criticised for a perceived lack of competitiveness due to the continued dominance of FC Bayern Munich. The club has won a record 32 titles (of 59 available) in the modern Bundesliga era since 1963; a greater level of success than that of all their rivals combined. Indeed, the Bavarian club won 11 consecutive titles between the 2012–13 season and the 2022–23 season.[75] Former Germany international Stefan Effenberg has suggested that the league be restructured in order to end Bayern's dominance.[76]


Main article: Bundesliga records and statistics § Player and manager records


See also: List of Bundesliga players

As of 1 June 2016[77]
Charly Körbel
Top ten players with most appearances
Rank Player Apps Years Club(s)
1 Germany Charly Körbel 602 1972–1991 Eintracht Frankfurt 602
2 Germany Manfred Kaltz 581 1971–1991 Hamburger SV 581
3 Germany Oliver Kahn 557 1987–2008 Karlsruher SC 128, Bayern Munich 429
4 Germany Klaus Fichtel 552 1965–1988 Schalke 04 477, Werder Bremen 75
5 Germany Miroslav Votava 546 1976–1996 Borussia Dortmund 189, Werder Bremen 357
6 Germany Klaus Fischer 535 1968–1988 1860 Munich 60, Schalke 04 295, 1. FC Köln 96, VfL Bochum 84
7 Germany Eike Immel 534 1978–1995 Borussia Dortmund 247, VfB Stuttgart 287
8 Germany Willi Neuberger 520 1966–1983 Borussia Dortmund 148, Werder Bremen 63, Wuppertaler SV 42, Eintracht Frankfurt 267
9 Germany Michael Lameck 518 1972–1988 VfL Bochum 518
10 Germany Uli Stein 512 1978–1997 Arminia Bielefeld 60, Hamburger SV 228, Eintracht Frankfurt 224

Top scorers

See also: List of Bundesliga top scorers

As of 14 May 2022[78]
Gerd Müller
Top ten goalscorers
Rank Player Goals Apps Ratio Years Club(s)
1 Germany Gerd Müller 365 427 0.85 1965–1979 Bayern 365/427
2 Poland Robert Lewandowski 312 384 0.82 2010–2022 Dortmund 74/131, Bayern 238/253
3 Germany Klaus Fischer 268 535 0.50 1968–1988 1860 Munich 28/60, Schalke 182/295, Köln 31/96, Bochum 27/84
4 Germany Jupp Heynckes 220 369 0.60 1965–1978 M’gladbach 195/283, Hannover 25/86
5 Germany Manfred Burgsmüller 213 447 0.48 1969–1990 Essen 32/74, Dortmund 135/224, Nürnberg 12/34, Bremen 34/115
6 Peru Claudio Pizarro 197 490 0.40 1999–2020 Bremen 109/250, Bayern 87/224, Köln 1/16
7 Germany Ulf Kirsten 181 350 0.52 1990–2003 Leverkusen 181/350
8 Germany Stefan Kuntz 179 449 0.40 1983–1999 Bochum 47/120, Uerdingen 32/94, K'lautern 75/170, Bielefeld 25/65
9 Germany Dieter Müller 177 303 0.58 1973–1986 Offenbach 0/2, Köln 159/248, Stuttgart 14/30, Saarbrücken 4/23
Germany Klaus Allofs 177 424 0.42 1975–1993 Düsseldorf 71/169, Köln 88/177, Bremen 18/78

Boldface indicates a player still active in the Bundesliga.

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