Welcome to Bundesliga Restart Week!
In honor of the upcoming restart of the Bundesliga this weekend, we will be doing a “beginner’s guide” to the league and all its wonderful teams. Today, we will look at the teams in the lower half of the Bundesliga table and briefly cover the history, successes, and failures their fans have all gone through. That way, you can fit in with everyone that you choose to support.
We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.
18th: SC Paderborn 07 (4W-4D-17L — 16 pts)
Located: Paderborn, North-Rhine Westphalia
Stadium: Benteler-Arena (15,000)
Manager: Steffen Baumgart
Paderborn is a team that has always had a rough history of football in the Bundesliga. SC Paderborn 07 was the product of the merger of two clubs in 1997. Since then, Paderborn has mostly spent their time in the second and third tiers of German football, having been promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time only in 2015. The team was promptly relegated the next season. Last year, however, Paderborn won promotion from the 2. Bundesliga again, but they seem destined to repeat the past.
17th: SV Werder Bremen (4W-6D-14L — 18 pts)
Pronounced: “vehr-der bray-men”
Located: The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
Stadium: Weserstadion (42,000)
Nickname: Die Werderaner, from the “Werder,” an island meadow in the Weser River where the team originally practiced, Die Grün-Weissen (The Green-Whites)
Manager: Florian Kohfeldt
Titles: 4 league titles, 6 DFB Pokals
Founded in 1899, Werder Bremen has enjoyed success that some German clubs envy. Historically one of the best teams in northern Germany, Werder has captured four league titles and six German cups. The golden age of Werder Bremen football was the 1990s, when the team won the Bundesliga in the 92/93 season and also won three cups in the decade. This season, despite their high level of talent, Bremen has sputtered and fallen into the relegation zone. If they fail to climb out, it will be the first time since 1981 that this team will play in the 2nd division.
16th: Fortuna Düsseldorf (5W-7D-13L — 22 pts)
Pronounced: “for-tu-na doos-sell-dorf”
Located: Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia
Stadium: Merkur Spiel-Arena
Nickname: Die Flingeraner (from the district of Flingern)
Manager: Uwe Rösler
Titles: 1 league title, 2 DFB-Pokals
Having not won a title since 1932/33, Fortuna Düsseldorf has rotated in and out of the top flight of the Bundesliga. Since the 2001/02 season, they have been in the Bundesliga for only three seasons (including 2019/20). Currently sitting in 16th place and in the relegation playoff spot, they are 4 points away from 15th and 4 points away from a relegation spot. Struggling to find any defensive consistency, Düsseldorf looks to have an uphill battle to climb to remain in the Bundesliga past this season.
15th: 1.FSV Mainz 05 (8W-2D-15L — 26 pts)
Located: Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate
Stadium: Opel Arena (34,034)
Nickname: Die Nullfünfer (the “zero-fivers”), Karnevalsverein (Carnival club)
Manager: Achim Beierlorzer
Mainz has not always been a successful club, having been in the top flight consistently since only 2008. But what they lack in silverware, they make up by having one of the best fan cultures and atmospheres in the Bundesliga. As one of the foremost cities that celebrate Carnival, the so-called “fifth season” that typically runs from November until Ash Wednesday, Mainz supporters bring a joyful and fun atmosphere to every game. The club itself knows this and every year, around the start of the party, the club releases a special “Karneval” jersey that is always outlandish in a great way.
14th: FC Augsburg (7W-6D-12L — 27 pts)
Pronounced: “Owgs-berg” (ow as in “ouch”)
Located: Augsburg, Bavaria
Stadium: WWK Arena
Nickname: Die Fuggerstädter (residents of Fugger City)
Manager: Heiko Herrlich
Although the club was founded in 1907, 2011 marked its first-ever season in the Bundesliga. For a majority of its history, Augsburg rotated between the Regionalliga, 2.Bundesliga, and 3.Bundesliga. In the 2014/15 season, FC Augsburg finished 4th in the league and earned their first-ever spot in the Champions League. While FC Augsburg is stuck in the relegation battle this season with a 5 point buffer, they have proved to be a successful squad since joining the Bundesliga and will look to make an aggressive push to remain in the Bundesliga for another year.
13th: Hertha Berlin (7W-7D-11L — 28 pts)
Prounounced: Hair-ta Bair-leen
Located: Charlottenburg, Berlin
Stadium: Olympiastadion (74,649)
Nickname: Die Alte Dame (The Old Lady)
Manager: Bruno Labbadia
Titles: 2 league titles; 3 second division titles
After winning the German titles in back-to-back years in 1930 and 1931, Hertha Berlin has had a rough time in the modern Bundesliga. The 1970s were Hertha’s high point, when they finished as runners-up a few times. But the following decade was rough for the club, who dropped all the way down to the 3rd division. Hertha had history as a “yo-yo” club throughout the 1990s and into this century, constantly moving up and down between the first and second divisions. But they’ve had a nice run in the top flight since 2012 and are therefore seen by some as the most successful club in Berlin.
12th: Eintracht Frankfurt (8W-4D-12L — 28 pts)
Pronounced: “ein-traght Frank-furt” (ei as in “wine”)
Located: Frankfurt am Main, Hesse
Nickname: Die Adler (The Eagles)
Manager: Adi Hütter
Known as The Eagles thanks to the eagle on their chest, Eintracht has been known in recent history as an aggressive squad with loads of attacking talent. In the past 2 years they have seen all three of their star attackers make big-euro transfers, such as Luka Jovic to Real Madrid and Sebastian Haller to West Ham United. As recently as 2018, Eintracht made it to the semifinals of the Europa League before falling out to eventual winners Chelsea. Having not won the league since 1958, they do not appear to be anywhere near breaking that streak as they still deal with the losses of their star players over the past couple of seasons. But they beat Bayern Munich to win the DFB Pokal in 2018 under Niko Kovac.
11th: 1.FC Union Berlin (9W-3D-13L — 30 pts)
Pronounced: “Oo-knee-own Bair-leen”
Located: Köpenick, Berlin
Stadium: Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium at the Old Forester’s House) (22,012)
Nickname: Die Eisernen (“The Iron Ones”)
Manager: Urs Fischer
Titles: 1 East German cup
Located in the East Berlin neighborhood of Köpenick, Union Berlin had a long history of strong fan support in East Germany’s DDR-Oberliga. The team was sponsored by the East German trade union and developed a rivalry with another East Berlin team, BFC Dynamo, who were sponsored by the Stasi (the East German secret police). While BFC won numerous titles, Union struggled up until German reunification. Union fans are some of the most loyal in the league and are well known for using their own funds and volunteering to rebuild their stadium. Over 2,000 fans contributed over 140,000 working hours to pouring concrete and rebuilding the ground. Now, the stadium has a 22,000 seat capacity, with most of that being standing terraces.
10th: 1.FC Köln (10W-2D-13L — 32 pts)
Pronounced: somewhat like “coal’n” — but Cologne is also perfectly fine!
Located: Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia
Stadium: Müngersdorfer Stadion
Nickname: Die Geißböcke (The Billy Goats), FC/Effzeh (Pronounced: EF-tsay)
Manager: Markus Gisdol
Created in 1948 after a merger of two clubs, FC Köln has become known for their yearly Karnival-inspired kits (which, frankly, are always awesome). FC Köln enjoyed its greatest success in the 1960s and 1970s, when they won all three of their league trophies. Affectionately known as Effzeh, which is a play on the abbreviation FC, the team has bounced back and forth between the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga in recent years. This season, they appear to be comfortably outside of the relegation battle.
Tune in tomorrow when we review the teams at the top of the table that are chasing Bayern for the title!