The main season usually lasts from August through May and in addition to regular season games, there are cup games, European cup matches and the national squad’s games, either friendlies or qualifiers for one of the next international championships. The professional teams play in the 1., 2. and 3. Bundesliga, but there are numerous additional leagues below that level, going all the way down to one village playing the neighboring one in all of Germany’s regions. Children may start playing the game as early as at age 5 or 6 and in the past years, women’s soccer has gradually gained more attention, thanks in part to the successes of the Women’s national team and the World Championships hosted by Germany in 2011. The Men’s team has qualified for all World and European championships in history and has won the World title three times, in 1954, 1974 and 1990. Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006 and in preparation of this event, many stadiums were either built completely new or have been updated thoroughly.
The 1. Bundesliga is widely considered to be one of the strongest leagues in the world. Eighteen teams compete for the title of German champion, with each team playing each other twice per season, once away and once on their home ground. There are a number of teams in Germany with a widespread and enthusiastic fan base across the country (or sometimes across Europe) and it is these teams’ home games that give visitors the most impressive experiences. Tickets usually start at around 20 Euros and can go all the way up to several hundred Euros for high-profile games. For these, it is often very difficult to come by any tickets at all. If you are planning on a stadium visit and are not familiar with the German fan culture or go with family, it is advisable not to choose the cheapest tickets as these will put you right in the middle of the most fierce supporters - which is not an environment well suited for a family experience. The most loyal fans consider it their duty to chant and holler over the full 90 minutes of a game and sometimes, the atmosphere may turn sour among these fans (especially since beer is sold in all German stadiums). A stadium experience as a whole, however, is a great thing for the whole family and there are some stadiums which feature an area of seats designated for families.
The following is a list of the teams which enjoy the most widespread support in Germany and beyond. To obtain tickets for these teams’ home games, visit their websites.