When the world looks to Europe for football, Germany is always one league that gets a great deal of attention thanks to its well-known teams and passionate fans that fill the stadiums every week.
But which teams from Germany are most popular with overseas fans? Let’s take a look at the giants of German football and why some clubs are more popular than others, and why some are favoured by sports betting online players eager to back their favourite teams.
As this list will show, it is not just glory that attracts fans to clubs.
Bayern Munich is unquestionably the biggest team in Germany, and the team to which most foreign fans are accustomed thanks to their continual appearances in the Champions League, and the major success they have achieved at home and abroad over the years.
This giant from Bavaria has over 30 Bundesliga titles and numerous European honours to its name, and we all know that success breeds fans. This makes them a force in global football. Their iconic red and white colours are internationally recognizable, with star players like the newly acquired Harry Kane and Manuel Neuer and popular manager Thomas Tuchel at the helm making them a magnet for overseas interest.
Borussia Dortmund, established in 1909, is renowned as one of Germany’s premier football clubs. In recent years, it has massively increased its overseas fan base too. Despite consistently trailing Bayern Munich in domestic rankings, their vibrant fan base ensures the highest matchday attendance in the Bundesliga and the sight of the famous ‘yellow wall’ is recognizable the world over by football fans. They have eight Bundesliga titles, five German cups, a UEFA Champions League and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, making them successful by any yardstick.
On the European stage, Dortmund’s recent history has helped to improve its global reputation. They’ve frequently reached the knockout stages, lost in the final in 2013 to Bayern and won the tournament for the only time in their history in 1997, cementing their global reputation. Additionally, Dortmund has been a breeding ground for top-tier talents such as Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham, drawing jealous eyes from fans across Europe’s other top leagues.
Schalke, from Gelsenkirchen, has a history rooted in passion. Their trophy count may not be extensive compared to Bayern’s, but games like the Revierderby against Dortmund captivate global audiences. Legendary players like Klaus Fischer have bolstered their international reputation too, but at Schalke’s core is its community. The fans, celebrated for their fanatical support, generate a unique stadium atmosphere and there is no denying that in terms of numbers, Schake can compete with the best teams across Europe, even if their team cannot on the field. The chants from the Veltins-Arena reflect the team’s history and the community’s deep connection to football.
Hamburger SV stands tall among Germany’s iconic football clubs, resonating significantly on the international stage, maybe not comparable to clubs like Bayern as they have been traditionally much less successful, but they have had success to celebrate in the past. This Hamburg-based club is particularly notable for its uninterrupted run in the Bundesliga from its inception in 1963 until 2018. Their golden era spanned the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, including clinching the UEFA Champions League, then known as the European Cup, in the 1982-83 season and the European Winners’ Cup in 1976-77.
As one of Germany’s oldest football institutions, they have fierce rivalries with Werder Bremen and FC St. Pauli. With five Bundesliga titles, Hamburger SV remains a hallmark of German football heritage and is easily recognized by fans of a certain age overseas.
Borussia Mönchengladbach, for a long time only a small provincial team, has won five Bundesliga titles and two UEFA Cups, meaning they have punched well above their weight when it comes to trophies. They play at Borussia Park, known for its large Nordkurve terrace that holds around 16,000 fans. For the initial six decades of their history, the team had moderate success and was known mainly for its rivalry with FC Köln. This rivalry was highlighted when Gladbach beat Köln to win their first DFB-Pokal in 1960. They weren’t in the initial Bundesliga lineup in 1963, but by 1966, they had made their way to the top tier alongside Bayern Munich. The coach, Hennes Weisweiler, played a crucial role in their success during this period.
The 1970s were the club’s peak years, with key players like Berti Vogts and Jupp Heynckes leading them to multiple titles, which makes them well-known by fans over the age of 50.
So, there we have it. While Bayern and Dortmund often steal the limelight, each club, with their unique histories has their own set of fans outside of Germany. For aficionados around the globe, the allure of German football is both timeless and universal.