Top 5 reasons why we, as football fans, should follow the Bundesliga

Top 5 reasons why we, as football fans, should follow the Bundesliga

What is the first thing which comes to your mind when it comes to Germany? Oktoberfest? Angela Merkel? Or Die Mannschaft‘s disappointing performance in the World Cup this year?

For me, it reminds me of how underrated the Bundesliga is. For football fans who truly see the sport as an art, it’s not something they should miss every week. Why? Let’s check it out!


Reason 1: It’s not just Bayern and Dortmund.

Despite teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia have a higher chance of winning the league (and playing in Europe), there are a number of underrated clubs in the Bundesliga.

For example, Eintracht Frankfurt, who are on fire in the Europa League this season under Adi Hütter. Also, Hertha Berlin, Möchengladbach, Hoffenheim, Leverkusen and Nürenberg are also some of the sides worth following.

Not to mention the 2. Bundesliga, where Hamburger SV, FC Cologne and Union Berlin are competing. You can watch that too if you’re interested and let’s see who’ll be promoted to the first division in May next season!

You may ask, “how about Leipzig?” Well, I personally don’t have hard feelings about them, but I’m not a fan of them either. Just saying. But the truth is, the Bundesliga can be fun to watch even if you’re a fan of the mid-table clubs.


Reason 2: Match highlights almost guaranteed.

It can be frustrating to know that clubs charge people for watching the matchday clips (especially if you’re outside Europe). Worry not! There are, indeed, highlights from Germany in English from YouTube, just like this one.

Sadly, it’s not available everywhere (like New Zealand, as Zac told me before). But when in doubt, YouTube is your friend. Try Fox Sport or the official Bundesliga channel for those moments, especially during the derby days.


Reason 3: Bloopers? They get you covered too! 

This is a scene which happens once in a blue moon in Germany and was caught on camera:

If it didn’t amuse you, then this may:

How about this one, if I didn’t impress you by the first two?

Well, even if the clips didn’t make you smile, you should get what I mean. Bundesliga isn’t just a football league, it reflects a part, if not all, of the culture in Germany. And it, somehow, reminds us that Germans can be humorous too.


Reason 4: You get to know the underrated stars.

Aside from Alfred Finnbogason, the Icelandic striker who’s playing for FC Augsburg in the “featured image”, there are some names that I would like to mention in this section.

Players like Jonathan Tah, Kevin Volland, Sébastien Haller and Luka Jović are the talents to keep an eye on.

Not to mention that a number of Germans stars like Mesut Özil, Leroy Sané, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger played in the Bundesliga too!

You’ll miss out the chance to spot the future celebrities in football if you don’t follow Bundesliga. Simple as that.


Reason 5: It’s more than just a game, after all!

It’s quite interesting to know that some of the words in the football vocabularies in German has its own meanings.

The word for “penalty kick” in German is “Elfmeter”, meaning “a kick from eleven metres” whereas in the word “gegenpressing”, “gegen” means “against” while the word “pressing” is self-explanatory to English speakers.

For me, the Bundesliga isn’t just a thing for entertainment. As a Dortmund lover who’s learning German, football can be a useful tool to aid me in learning the language, especially in both my listening and reading skills.


You may hate Bayern Munich for dominating the league and bullying the small teams. You may despise RB Leipzig for being the “Manchester City in Germany”. You may laugh at VfB Stuttgart for their poor performance.

There can be many reasons to dislike the Bundesliga. Yet, the thing is, being competitive is in the Germans’ DNA. This is what makes Bundesliga an interesting league to watch and makes it more than a game of 90 minutes.

Football’s golden oldies – the oldest football players around the world

Earlier this week, the Wellington Phoenix announced their signing of Australian goalkeeper Ante Covic as an injury cover for Filip Kurto. Covic isn’t a bad goalkeeper – he’s represented his country and he’s played in three European countries as well as Australia. However, he’s also forty-three years old, two months older than his own manager Mark Rudan. That puts him at the older end of active players, but he’s not the oldest. Let’s look at who is.

Across Europe

Before we can go up, we have to go down. The Premier League doesn’t currently have any players as old as Covic, but it does have 16 players over the age of 35. Twelve of these players are goalkeepers, with the exceptions being Glenn Murray, Jermain Defoe, Phil Jagielka and Bruno Saltor, the oldest outfield Premier League player at the age of 38. Only one player crosses the line into 39 – Crystal Palace keeper Julian Speroni.

Image result for julian speroni

La Liga’s oldest is 38-year-old Juanjo Camacho at Huesca, while Serie A has Stefano Sorrentino, 39. The Bundesliga goes up to 40 with Claudio Pizarro of Werder Bremen. Ligue 1 has two more 40+ players, Gianluigi Buffon, 40, and Montpellier captain Hilton, 41.

But we can go higher.

Across the World

Let’s look at international players. It’s increasingly common for footballers to retire early from international service, for a number of reasons – for young players to come through, to focus on club commitments, etc. And this isn’t so bad if you play for, say, Germany, where there’s a talent pool big enough to bring someone into your shoes.

That’s not really applicable, however, for a smaller country, somewhere without the population or facilities to excel in football – or much else, for that matter – but still loves the game. Somewhere like Andorra, the nation of one of the three active international players over the age of 40.

Juli Sanchez was born in 1978. He’s had a decent career by Andorran standards, playing in his home country as well as Spain and Portugal. He made his debut in Andorra’s first FIFA-recognised match, and he managed to get on the scoresheet in their win over Belarus in 2000, their first-ever. He’s played 70 games now for the tiny Pyrenees nation. In many ways, his career is the story of football in Andorra. And he’s still kicking – he played in Andorra’s most recent match, against Latvia, as a substitute.

Image result for andorra

For our other two international players over 40, we’re going to leave Europe in favour of the Caribbean.

I can’t find much information on Benny Labadie – perhaps it’s a side effect of playing for the U.S. Virgin Islands. In any case, he was born in 1977 and is forty-one years of age. He spent seven years at Skills F.C. in the Saint Croix Soccer League – there are two separate leagues in the Virgin Islands for mainly geographic reasons. He now plays for Rovers in the same league, he’s a goalkeeper, and that’s about all there is to know. Oh, and he started the Virgin Islands’ most recent match, a 3-0 loss to Barbados in November.

But there is one current international player that is older, and we don’t have to go far to find him.

400km southeast of Saint-Croix, we find the nation of Dominica. There’s only seventy thousand people on the island, and as such, quality footballers are had to come by. This explains the case of Euclid Bertrand, who was born in 1974 and is 44 years of age. Bertrand isn’t a bad footballer, having played in sixteen matches for Dominica, including just a month ago against Sint-Maarten. He’s also got five years’ experience up in Canada – not bad for a Dominican given the rest of their squad either play at home or elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Image result for dominica

But we can go higher.

At Club Level

Remember Essam El-Hadary? Of course you do. The Egyptian shot-stopper became the oldest ever player at a FIFA World Cup earlier this year when he played against Saudi Arabia – and saved a penalty – at the age of 45. He’s been left off the internationals part of this article simply because he retired from international football after the World Cup. However, he’s still playing club football, having left Saudi club Al-Taawoun in favour of former club Ismaily back in Egypt. His 46th birthday is in January, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

He’s by no means the only one still kicking at 45 – there’s also Oscar Perez, currently at Pachuca. Also a goalkeeper, Perez has 57 Mexico caps and went to two World Cups – 2002 and 2010. He’s not still playing international football, unfortunately, but he’ll be 46 in March and one can assume he won’t stop playing club football.

Image result for oscar perez

We can go older than both El-Hadary and Perez, though, and we’re going back to Andorra to do it.

Leonel Gancedo’s a pretty experienced footballer. He’s played for River Plate and Osasuna among other clubs. He’s got a Copa Libertadores in his trophy cabinet, along with six other competition wins. He retired at the start of 2009, at the age of 37, and one would assume that that was the end of Leonel Gancedo.

It was not. Encamp in Andorra hired him as player-manager in September this year, and Gancedo’s played fifty-one minutes over the course of three matches. He’s not done well at all, as Encamp are sitting in last place with one point and five goals scored in ten games, but he does get the distinction of being the world’s oldest footballer.

Well, no he actually doesn’t. We’re going across Europe, and across Asia, all the way to Japan.

The story of Kazuyoshi Miura

File:Kazu Miura, Roberto Baggio and Tsuyoshi Kitazawa.jpg

We’ve all heard of Stanley Matthews, haven’t we? The Englishman was one of the greats of the first half of the 20th century in footballing terms. He played a very long career, 1932 to 1965, and played for England for twenty-four years. He spent nineteen years at Stoke City and fourteen at Blackpool. He’s a true legend of the early game.

Kazuyoshi Miura’s not had that same loyalty – he’s played for thirteen clubs in his career, only two of which he’s been at for more than five years – but he has broken Matthews’ record as the oldest-ever professional footballer, which he achieved in March 2017. He’s played in a few countries – Brazil, Japan, Italy, Croatia and Australia – and he picked up almost ninety Japan caps in his ten years of international football before he retired in 2000 aged 33.

Since 2005 he’s been playing for Yokohama FC (no, not F. Marinos) in the Japanese second-tier. He’s seen twelve managers in that time, and even though his role has been somewhat diminished under new boss Edson Tavares, he’s still going at it at the age of 51. And I, for one, don’t see him stopping.