The Bundesliga is Germany’s top soccer league. As a result, it is followed widely outside the country. Read on to learn your options.
In a hurry? ESPN owns the rights to show Bundesliga in the US with most matches featured on ESPN+. You can get the service directly but you are probably best to get it with Hulu + Live TV, which also includes 85+ live TV channels including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and many more!
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The Bundesliga is one of the world’s greatest soccer leagues and, when measured by average attendance, it is the top one. It attracts players and fans from throughout the world with many of those in the latter category looking for ways to stream this competition’s matches.
The place to watch the Bundesliga in the US is ESPN+ ($9.99/mo). This arrangement was initially put into place for the 2020-21 campaign.
Meanwhile, those interested in catching all of the action from elsewhere in the world will, in nearly all cases, have their own media outlets showcasing these matches.
The Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, got its start in 1963. It initially focused solely on West Germany as East Germany had its own football pyramid. The league then incorporated teams from what had been East Germany for the first time in 1991-92, after the countries unified in October 1990.
Prior to 1963, German/West German football competitions were regional in nature. National champions were decided by a cup format involving champions from the country’s regional leagues.
The Bundesliga’s premier club is unquestionably Bayern Munich. Through the 2021-22 campaign, FC Bayern has claimed 31 championships while no other team has won more than five of those trophies. In fact, Bayern Munich has been especially strong as of late, winning every Bundesliga title since 2012-13.
German teams are also among the continent’s and world’s best, having won the UEFA Champions League on eight occasions and the FIFA Club World Cup twice. All but two of those 10 championships have been claimed by Bayern Munich.
The two exceptions both occurred in the Champions League. Hamburger SV won that competition in 1983 while Borussia Dortmund did so in 1997.
The Bundesliga is also known as a league that focuses more on fans than is the case for other big-stature competitions. This includes offering low ticket prices, which helps it lead the world in average attendance. For example, for the 2018-19 campaign, 43,445 fans attended Bundesliga matches on average, more than the Premier League’s 38,182.
The Bundesliga is comprised of 18 teams, and they play their 17 opponents once at home and once away for a total of 34 matches. The primary tiebreakers utilized when clubs are equal on points are goal difference and goals scored.
The top four finishers qualify for the next season’s UEFA Champions League while one team apiece earns spots in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League, respectively. One more Bundesliga team may also qualify for the Europa League, depending on the DFB-Pokal winner.
Conversely, the two teams at the bottom of the table get relegated to the 2. Bundesliga for the following campaign. They are replaced with the top two teams in 2. Bundesliga.
There is also a playoff. The 16th-place team in Bundesliga plays the third-place team in 2. Bundesliga. The winner of that two-leg playoff participates in the Bundesliga the next season.
At the conclusion of the 2021-22 season, Arminia Bielefeld and Greuther Fürth were relegated to 2. Bundesliga.
Hertha BSC retained its place in the Bundesliga after earning a 2-1 aggregate victory over 2. Bundesliga side Hamburger SV. Interestingly, the away team won both legs; after Hamburger claimed the first matchup, 1-0, Hertha responded with a 2-0 away victory.
The Bundesliga campaign usually runs from August to May.
All Bundesliga teams participate in the DFB-Pokal, Germany’s national cup. The competition is spread out. It commences around the start of August and its six rounds run to, in most years, late May.
All Bundesliga teams start in the opening round, joined by 46 others, including all 2. Bundesliga sides. All rounds are one match apiece and are hosted by one of the two sides except for the neutral-site final.
The winner qualifies for the UEFA Europa League unless that club is already qualified for the UEFA Champions League.
The previous season’s Bundesliga winner faces off against that campaign’s DFB-Pokal champion, which is usually also a Bundesliga club, in the single-match DFL-Supercup. This contest normally takes place at the start of the following season with one of the participating teams playing host to it.
Germany’s second-tier league has an almost identical format as the Bundesliga. It is also comprised of 18 teams who play 34 matches while its third-bottom side plays in the playoffs against the third-place club from the third-tier 3. Liga. Meanwhile, its top two sides get promoted to the Bundesliga, and its third-place team takes on the Bundesliga’s 16th-place club for a spot in the next season’s top tier.
The 2. Bundesliga has the second-largest attendance figures in the world for a second-tier league, just behind England’s EFL Championship. In 2018-19, 19,128 attended 2. Bundesliga matches versus the Championship’s 20,075.
2022-23 Bundesliga Teams
- Bayern Munich
- Borussia Dortmund
- Bayer Leverkusen
- RB Leipzig
- Union Berlin
- SC Freiburg
- 1. FC Köln
- Mainz 05
- 1899 Hoffenheim
- Borussia Mönchengladbach
- Eintracht Frankfurt
- VfL Wolfsburg
- VfL Bochum
- FC Augsburg
- VfB Stuttgart
- Hertha BSC
- Schalke 04
- Werder Bremen
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Watching the Bundesliga
In nearly every part of the world, you will be able to stream or watch on television Bundesliga games.
Bundesliga matches are, as expected, broadcast extensively in Germany and in nearby German-speaking countries, such as Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. In those places, DAZN and Sky Deutschland team up to carry these matches to viewing audiences.
ESPN+ ($9.99/mo) owns the rights to show Bundesliga matchups to viewers in the US with a select number of games possibly being moved to ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, or another ESPN-related network.
US-based German football fans should note that ESPN+ also owns the rights to the 2. Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and DFL-Supercup.
Sportsnet is where Canadians should head to follow the Bundesliga while Sky Sports is the official broadcaster for the Bundesliga in the UK and Ireland.
Meanwhile, Aussies and New Zealanders should both tune into beIN Sports to watch Bayern Munich and the other 17 Bundesliga teams battle each other all season.
Devices to Live Stream Bundesliga
ESPN+, Hulu, and other services like DAZN allow you to stream on most devices in use today. These include Android and iOS mobile devices; Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku devices; various smart TVs; and Xbox and PlayStation gaming systems.
This is especially the case for those who place high value on the atmospheres at the stadiums as well as the play on the pitch. For example, the Bundesliga is where you can find the famous Yellow Wall, during Borussia Dortmund home matches.
Fans based in the US should secure access to ESPN+ or Hulu to watch these games while others around the world will, in nearly all cases, have their own media outlets that are responsible for bringing them Bundesliga action.
Has a Bundesliga team won the UEFA Champions League?
A Bundesliga team has won the Champions League recently. The 2019-20 edition of that competition ended with Bayern Munich defeating Paris Saint-Germain, 1-0, to win its sixth European title. Other wins came in 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, and 2013. Other Bundesliga clubs to lift this famous trophy include Hamburger SV (1983) and Borussia Dortmund (1997). Also of note, Bayern Munich has won the FIFA Club World Cup twice, in 2013 and 2020.
Does the Bundesliga have playoffs?
Bundesliga has playoffs but not the kind many Americans may be familiar with. The 16th-placed side (third from the bottom of the table) takes on the third-place club from the 2. Bundesliga in a two-leg matchup. The winner plays in the Bundesliga the following season while the loser participates in the second-tier competition the next campaign.
How can I watch other soccer events?
We’ve written other soccer viewer’s guides:
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