With the Premier League suspended and the Bundesliga returning this weekend, there is one obvious question for UK football fans – ‘who should I support?’.
Whether you are more likely to be swayed by kit colour, British players, the club’s history or even more trivial matters, we’ve taken a look at all the clubs to help you make your choice.
The biggest and most successful team in Germany by some way, Bayern Munich are going for their eighth title in a row. They dominate financially and often scoop up the best talent from rival teams. Put it this way, you either support them or you don’t – they are nobody’s ‘second team’.
If they were an English team: Manchester United in the Sir Alex Ferguson era (because they win nearly everything)
Why should you support Bayern? Glory hunting
Why shouldn’t you support Bayern? Come on, don’t just pick the best team
|Chances of winning title|
|Statistics from Gracenote|
|84% – Bayern Munich||1% – Borussia Monchengladbach|
|8% – Borussia Dortmund||Less than 1% – Bayer Leverkusen|
|7% – RB Leipzig||0% – everyone else|
Borussia Dortmund are an appealing choice. They have some of the most vocal and exuberant fans anywhere in the world (not that they’ll be at the games) as well as a team full of exciting young talented players like Jadon Sancho and Erling Braut Haaland. But beware – they are far too good to be a hipster’s choice.
If they were an English team: Liverpool (Jurgen Klopp, You’ll Never Walk Alone)
Why should you support Dortmund? Lots of Britons follow them already, they are excellent to watch, Sancho
Why shouldn’t you support Dortmund? Lots of Britons follow them already – this is not an original choice
Hmm. RB Leipzig were only formed 11 years ago by Red Bull and have stormed their way up through the leagues. But they have built an excellent team without a huge budget (by elite standards) and have two British players – Ethan Ampadu and Ademola Lookman.
If they were an English team: MK Dons
Why should you support Leipzig? You love Red Bull, they have two British players, they are easy on the eye
Why shouldn’t you support Leipzig? Everything else about them
Borussia Monchengladbach were huge in the 1970s – winning five Bundesliga titles, two Uefa Cups and reaching a European Cup final. They have never done any of those things before or after the 70s. They are also active and “fun” on social media and are currently allowing fans to pay €19 to have a cardboard cutout of themselves in the stands.
If they were an English team: Nottingham Forest
Why should you support Gladbach? You like social media banter, you can go to their games (as a cardboard cutout), you wish it was still the 1970s
Why shouldn’t you support Gladbach? You hate social media banter, they have not won anything since the 1995 German Cup
One of the few German teams owned by a company, Leverkusen were set up by pharmaceutical giants Bayer in 1904. They are the nearly men of German football – finishing second in the Bundesliga five times and losing a Champions League final without having won either of those trophies.
If they were an English team: Newcastle United (have come close to winning things in the past 25 years without succeeding)
Why should you support Leverkusen? Owners Bayer are playing a part in the fight against coronavirus, you like glorious failure, they have exciting players like Kai Havertz
Why shouldn’t you support Leverkusen? They are owned by a pharmaceutical company, they are likely to break your heart by missing out on the title, they have more red cards than any team in Bundesliga history (136)
Schalke – managed by ex-Huddersfield boss David Wagner – have two British players – first-choice right-back Jonjoe Kenny (on loan from Everton) and Wales international Rabbi Matondo. They are the third-most popular team in Germany but have never won the Bundesliga since its formation in 1963.
If they were an English team: Everton (they play in blue, have Kenny and are rivals to Borussia Dortmund, who we compared to Liverpool earlier)
Why should you support Schalke? They have two British players, they have a big fanbase, you support Huddersfield
Why shouldn’t you support Schalke? You like goals. Their 33 goals is one of the lowest totals in the league and only two teams have taken fewer shots
The city of Wolfsburg was only formed to house Volkswagen workers in 1938 (initially under a different name). The team were set up for Volkswagen workers in 1945. They are owned by Volkswagen and play at the Volkswagen Arena. Spot a theme?
If they were an English team: Wolves (just look at the name)
Why should you support Wolfsburg? You support Wolves, you like Volkswagen cars, you think it’s brilliant they once had a manager called Wolfgang Wolf
Why shouldn’t you support Wolfsburg? You don’t like Volkswagen cars, Wolves, wolves or Wolfgang Wolf
This one is going to be a tough sell. A bit of a yo-yo club with no real household names, but they are still in contention to reach the Europa League.
If they were an English team: Norwich (both teams have won the second tier four times)
Why should you support Freiburg? They are overachievers
Why shouldn’t you support Freiburg? There isn’t much to get excited about. Honestly they made me wonder why I was even writing this piece
Hoffenheim are 120 years old but were a fifth division team until being bankrolled by Dietmar Hopp, rising to the Bundesliga this millennium. Bundesliga matches were frequently stopped as opposition fans protested against Hopp in the weeks before football was shut down.
If they were an English team: Bournemouth (for their rise through their divisions, not their unpopularity)
Why should you support Hoffenheim? They consider themselves a “friendly team who do things differently”
Why shouldn’t you support Hoffenheim? Nobody else really likes them
The decision here has already been made for us. Sunderland have – for reasons I can’t quite understand – teamed up with Cologne to make them their Bundesliga team. Their goat mascot – Hennes IX – is not allowed at games in the coronavirus age.
If they were an English team: Sunderland
Why should you support Cologne? You support Sunderland, you like a set-piece goal (11 of their goals have come from corners)
Why shouldn’t you support Cologne? You have a particular dislike of goats, you support Newcastle or Middlesbrough
Union Berlin, known for their colourful fan base, are in their first ever season in the Bundesliga. They probably have less on the line than anybody in the league – seven points off Europe and eight points above the relegation play-off spot. Not ideal if you’re probably only going to support a team to the end of the season.
If they were an English team: Sheffield United (exceeding expectations after promotion)
Why should you support Union? You like the underdogs, you don’t want your new team to cause you any stress
Why shouldn’t you support Union? Because they’re not likely to do anything this season
Eintracht Frankfurt have struggled this season after reaching the semi-finals of last year’s Europa League and are not entirely safe from relegation yet. They have the same nickname as Crystal Palace, the Eagles.
If they were an English team: West Brom (five cup wins and one league title each)
Why should you support Eintracht? You like Eagles/support Crystal Palace, you are a fan of old Premier League players you vaguely remember (Jonathan de Guzman, Gelson Fernandes, Erik Durm)
Why shouldn’t you support Eintracht? You support Palace’s rivals Brighton, you don’t get excited by Premier League journeymen
This is unfamiliar territory for Hertha, who are not even the top Berlin team in the division at the moment. Their former Premier League players include Salomon Kalou, Dedryck Boyata, Dodi Lukebakio (a solitary substitute appearance for Watford) and Marko Grujic.
If they were an English team: West Ham (they both play at the Olympic Stadium)
Why should you support Hertha? You are a Chelsea fan who loved Kalou (if such a person exists), you support a team with blue and white stripes, you have Alexander Esswein in your Fifa ultimate team
Why shouldn’t you support Hertha? You get annoyed at your team conceding penalties – Hertha have given away seven, more than anyone else, according to data company Gracenote
Augsburg are based in Bavaria, in the shadow of Bayern Munich. They have been in the top flight since 2011 having spent the rest of their history in the lower leagues. Reece Oxford is an Augsburg player, although he hasn’t featured since November.
If they were an English team: Watford (a smaller team with bigger neighbours)
Why should you support Augsburg? You like quirky nicknames (Die Fuggerstadter is their nickname after a famous family from the region), Reece Oxford
Why shouldn’t you support Augsburg? You’re not sure what you’re going to get. Heiko Herrlich has been head coach for two months but hasn’t managed a game yet – and he won’t be in charge this weekend either after violating quarantine by leaving the team’s hotel
Jurgen Klopp’s other team, Mainz like to play carnival music after their goals because it is a carnival city. Have several ex-Premier League randoms, including former Sunderland forward Ji Dong-won.
If they were an English team: Brighton (neither side have ever won a major trophy)
Why should you support Mainz? You like carnival music, you like Klopp (but didn’t want to support Dortmund)
Why shouldn’t you support Mainz? They play carnival music after their goals…
|Chances of automatic relegation (chances of being in play-offs in brackets)|
|Statistics from Gracenote (all other teams less than 1% chance of automatic relegation)|
|97% – Paderborn (2%)||10% – Mainz (19%)|
|49% – Werder Bremen (26%)||2% – Augsburg (8%)|
|40% – Fortuna Dusseldorf (34%)||2% – Hertha Berlin (8%)|
A team for Manchester City fans of a certain age to keep an eye out for – Fortuna Dusseldorf’s manager is ex-City striker Uwe Rosler. Plus they have City goalkeeper Zack Steffen on loan. Dusseldorf’s season could go on a bit longer – they are currently in a promotion-relegation play-off place.
If they were an English team: Tottenham Hotspur (struggle for clean sheets and concede too many chances)
Why should you support Dusseldorf? You support Manchester City, you like Cool Runnings (defender Mathias Jorgensen’s nickname is Zanka), you are Ghanaian (Dusseldorf have four players from Ghana)
Why shouldn’t you support Dusseldorf? Jorgensen hasn’t spelt Sanka correctly
Werder Bremen have spent more seasons in the Bundesliga (56) than anyone else but that record could be coming to an end as they sit four points adrift of the promotion-relegation play-off spot. Claudio Pizarro is still going at the age of 41 – and has 10 games left before retirement to score a Bundesliga goal for a 22nd consecutive year.
If they were an English team: Aston Villa (a few league titles and a European trophy but now battling relegation)
Why should you support Bremen? You want a historic team to keep their top-flight position, you want to see Pizarro score 200 Bundesliga goals, Pierre Wome used to play for them (maybe that one is just me…)
Why shouldn’t you support Bremen? With 11 defeats in their past 14 games, you might never see them actually win a game
Paderborn – in only their second Bundesliga season – are bottom of the table, six points behind the play-off place. With one point in their past six games, they look doomed. Don’t do it to yourself.
If they were an English team: Huddersfield (two seasons and going down… presumably)
Why should you support Paderborn? You love lost causes
Why shouldn’t you support Paderborn? Haven’t you been through enough recently?