The Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany and the football league with the highest average stadium attendance worldwide. At the top of the German football league system, the Bundesliga is Germany’s primary football competition. The Bundesliga is contested by 18 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the 2. Bundesliga. Seasons run from August to May. Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, with a few games played during weekdays. All of the Bundesliga clubs qualify for the DFB-Pokal. The winner of the Bundesliga qualifies for the DFL-Supercup.

A total of 53 clubs have competed in the Bundesliga since its founding. FC Bayern Munich has won the Bundesliga the most, winning the title 24 times. However, the Bundesliga has 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, currently ranked 3rd in Europe according to UEFA’s league coefficient ranking, based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons. The Bundesliga is the number one 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 National Football League. The Bundesliga is broadcast on television in over 200 countries.

The Bundesliga was founded in 1962 in Dortmund and the first season started in 1963. The structure and organisation of the Bundesliga along with Germany’s other football leagues have undergone frequent changes right up to the present day. The Bundesliga was originally founded by the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (English: German Football Association), but is now operated by the Deutsche Fußball Liga


Prior to 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 recognised 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.”

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.

Season Bundesliga Champion Season Bundesliga Champion Season Bundesliga Champion Season Bundesliga Champion
63–64 1. FC Köln 77–78 1. FC Köln 91–92 VfB Stuttgart 05–06 FC Bayern Munich
64–65 SV Werder Bremen 78–79 Hamburger SV 92–93 SV Werder Bremen 06–07 VfB Stuttgart
65–66 TSV 1860 München 79–80 FC Bayern Munich 93–94 FC Bayern Munich 07–08 FC Bayern Munich
66–67 Eintracht Braunschweig 80–81 FC Bayern Munich 94–95 Borussia Dortmund 08–09 VfL Wolfsburg
67–68 1. FC Nürnberg 81–82 Hamburger SV 95–96 Borussia Dortmund 09–10 FC Bayern Munich
68–69 FC Bayern Munich 82–83 Hamburger SV 96–97 FC Bayern Munich 10–11 Borussia Dortmund
69–70 Borussia Mönchengladbach 83–84 VfB Stuttgart 97–98 1. FC Kaiserslautern 11–12 Borussia Dortmund
70–71 Borussia Mönchengladbach 84–85 FC Bayern Munich 98–99 FC Bayern Munich 12–13 FC Bayern Munich
71–72 FC Bayern Munich 85–86 FC Bayern Munich 99–00 FC Bayern Munich 13–14 FC Bayern Munich
72–73 FC Bayern Munich 86–87 FC Bayern Munich 00–01 FC Bayern Munich 14–15 FC Bayern Munich
73–74 FC Bayern Munich 87–88 SV Werder Bremen 01–02 Borussia Dortmund
74–75 Borussia Mönchengladbach 88–89 FC Bayern Munich 02–03 FC Bayern Munich
75–76 Borussia Mönchengladbach 89–90 FC Bayern Munich 03–04 SV Werder Bremen
76–77 Borussia Mönchengladbach 90–91 1. FC Kaiserslautern 04–05 FC Bayern Munich