German Bundesliga Returning May 16, a Quick League 101


We’re not going to have the high profile, big money American team sports return for awhile. Unless things get better soon, may not have them back at all in 2020. However, there are other professional team sports leagues, elsewhere in the world, currently active.

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), began their regular season this past Tuesday. The CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) in Taiwan has been active for close to a month already. And you can see that here, here, here and here, that is just my jam right now! Also, Korea’s soccer league is currently active and Belarus never suspended their top flight.

May 16 brings another live sports option as the Bundesliga, THE sports league in Germany resumes action with a full slate of matches.

bastian schweinsteiger

In a global pandemic, it helps that their country is led by an actual scientist…while ours is led by a 1980s C list celebrity and game show host.

It’s the top flight in a footballing/soccer nation whose peers on this planet are Brazil, England and…well, that’s about it. Some Bundesliga games will be televised, as FOX Sports has been their broadcast rights holder in the U.S. for several years. Here’s a link to the latest television schedule and online guide to streaming options.

Unfortunately, FOX Sports is making a massive bone-headed blunder in that they’re a.) not putting any of the games on the flagship, free TV network (nothing on big FOX) and b.) doing next to nothing to promote the return of the league.

They have a massive audience desperate for anything fresh in terms of sports content- look at the insane ratings for ESPN Film’s “The Last Dance,” which Bristol moved up from June in order to capitalize on the very large void of sports options.

FOX is whiffing badly on this, but then a FOX owned network making horrible decisions? Shocking. I, for one, am SHOCKED!

Their relevance will further slip as the Bundesliga rights will shift to ESPN+ next season. And if you want to watch the German top flight right now and declare a rooting interest, who should your club be?

Achtung baby! It’s the mach schnell! guide to the Bundesliga.

bayern munich

Bayern Munich

On one hand, they’re the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Alabama Crimson Tide and Duke Blue Devils, all rolled into one, of the Bundesliga. So if you’re a front-runner or frat boy, this is the team for you.

On the other hand, we all love Bastian Schweinsteiger, the man who’s somehow a silver-haired fox at just age 34, especially here in Chicago, and thus you can safely support this club without critique.

You have my permission; which you obviously 100% absolutely, positively need.

Borussia Dortmund 

This is is honestly the team most Americans should support, because it put Christian Pulisic, the face of American soccer, on the map.

They also propelled Jurgen Klopp, one of the most interesting and compelling figures in all of world football/soccer to superstardom, before he assumed managerial duties at Liverpool FC.

Many believe it’s only a matter of time before the German takes the reigns of the national team. They’re also compelling in that they have an original modus operandi that all Americans can appreciate.

They acquire/develop the best up-and-coming young prospects, facilitate their growth, and then turn a nice profit when they let them go to the biggest clubs.

BVB literally buys low and sells high when it comes to top tier talent in the transfer market.

Pulisic himself is an example of this narrative, with forwards Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho up next. And they are the only club that can rival Bayern, as any time the two play, it’s Der Klassiker, the German Classico.

Since the foundation of the Bundesliga in 1963, they are two of the most successful teams in German football, having won a combined total of 21 of the past 25 Bundesliga titles as of 2019.

Finally, this is the team I’ll be adopting, as I’ve covered a couple of their friendlies here in the United States, and found them a joy to work with, in every facet, on all dimensions.

Bayer Leverkusen 

Yes, the pharmaceutical company which founded this team, in 1904, and from which the name is derived. They are among the top contenders in the league, usually finishing in the top four, and almost always in the top six. And for a time they employed Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, arguably the most beloved footballer in the USA right now.

But he isn’t he a Mexican international? Yes, and if you follow soccer at all stateside, you’ll know that any time the Mexico national team, or a Liga MX side plays in the states, it’s a de facto home game for them.

Borussia Monchengladbach 

Well, the name itself is reason to support this club. When will you ever find another team name this long/interesting? The colloquial way to refer to them is by “Gladbach.” Oh, and they’re really good too- in Denis Zakaria and Marcus Thuram, they have a stellar duo that Liverpool, arguably the best club on the planet right now, are after.

RB Leipzig

Speaking of Liverpool transfer targets (Klopp, the German connection, you see the natural pipeline here), follow this team to watch Timo Werner, one of the sport’s up and coming scoring machines, in action.

horst the hero instagram

FC Schalke

I had to include them as they’re a side in the hearts of the humans who run the @Horst_the_Hero and Bingo_the_Jackpot accounts on Instagram.

Cat Insta/petstagram is a thing that’s really huge in Germany right now, and it’s by far the most pleasant and fun genre of social media.

The Field 

Pick any other team not mentioned above, and you’ll be an interesting, original hipster (think Jeff Winger on the soccer episode of “Community”) because you might just be literally the only supporter in your respective town.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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