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German soccer teams: best clubs, biggest & most successful football clubs in Germany



German soccer teams over the years have enjoyed remarkable success in European competitions and on the world stage.


The Bundesliga, and 2. Bundesliga represents the best football clubs in the country. The German Bundesliga was founded in 1963, and has grown to accommodate some of the most traditional soccer teams globally.


One thing about German soccer which makes it more interesting is the 50+1 rule which allows fans to have the upper hand in the day-to-day management of soccer teams in the country.


This move has made it more attractive for fans to be engaged in the league.

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Teams like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, Schalke 04, VfL Wolfsburg all have many followers worldwide.


Cool facts

Who is the best team in Germany? Bayern Munich is the best team in Germany, having won the Bundesliga 31 times, DFB-Pokal 20, DFB/DFL-Supercup 9, six Champions League, etc.


What is Germany’s most famous football team? FC Bayern Munich is the most prominent team and one of the most supported in Germany, with over 350,000 members.


What do they call soccer in Germany? Football, or soccer, is known as Fußball in Germany.


Most successful side Bayern Munich most recently swept the European scene, winning the UEFA Champions, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup win in 2020. Bayern Munich alone has amassed more trophies.


Other German teams, including Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, have also recorded success in European and international competitions.


Ranking the greatest and the most successful German soccer teams


Bayern Munich

Borussia Dortmund

SV Werder Bremen

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Hamburger SV

VfB Stuttgart



1. Bayern Munich


Club Summary

Name: Bayern Munich

Nickname(s): The Bavarians

Founded: 1900

Stadium: Allianz Arena

League: 1. Bundesliga


Bayern Munich, or simply Bayern, is the most successful football club in German football history.


The Munich-based club has amassed numerous domestic and international trophies since its establishment as a football club in the country.


Bayern has won a record 31 Bundesliga titles, including nine consecutively league crowns since 2013 to date. They’ve also won 20 DFB-Pokals.


Although the club was not a founding member of the Bundesliga and had to come through the lower divisions, it’s more like it owns the division.


Bayern enjoyed early success, which could be tagged one of the greatest moments of the club’s history in the mid-1970s.


The club won the UEFA Champions League (European Cup) in three consecutive seasons (1974–1976). Since then, Bayern has gone on to win other major trophies internationally.


In terms of overall performance on the European continent, Bayern Munich has won six European Cups/UEFA Champions League titles which is a German record and the reason behind the club’s four stars on its logo.


Bayern Munich is also the second European club to achieve a continental treble twice after completing it in 2020. In 2020, Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, DFL-Supercup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.


Bayern holds numerous German and European football records


Some of Bayern Munich record’s and statistics are

  • Bayern Munich was the only second club to win the sextuple.
  • One of five clubs won all three of UEFA’s main club competitions.
  • The only German club won all three of UEFA’s main club competitions.
  • The only second European club to achieve the continental treble twice.
  • One of the most successful European clubs internationally.
  • The only German club won two international titles (FIFA Club World Cups and Intercontinental Cups).
  • Bayern Munich remains one of the biggest football clubs in the world.


Bayern Munich rivalry

Bayern Munich has established a strong presence within and outside Germany since its establishment as a soccer club.


The Bavarians are one of the three professional soccer teams in the Munich area. Bayern Munich holds an intense rivalry with 1860 Munich, known as the Munich Derby.


The club also contests a heated rivalry with FC Nürnberg. Other FC Bayern Munich rivals are Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, Werder Bremen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Bayer 04 Leverkusen.


Bayern vs. Borussia Dortmund

Referred to as the ‘Die Klassiker,’ Dortmund plays host to Bayern Munich. The two rival clubs have met in the league, DFB-Pokal, and the DFL-Supercup.


2. Borussia Dortmund


Club Summary

Name: Bayern Munich

Nickname(s): The Bavarians

Founded: 1900

Stadium: Allianz Arena

League: 1. Bundesliga


Borussia Dortmund is the second-best football team in Germany and has consistently retained this position over the years.


Founded in 1909, Dortmund has proven to be one of the most supported soccer clubs in Germany. The club has consistently pulled out the highest matchday attendance in the Bundesliga.


In terms of performance, the club sits behind Bayern Munich as one of Germany’s best teams in Europe and internationally.


Dortmund has won eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokals, one UEFA Champions League, one Intercontinental Cup, and one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.


Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga back to back in 2010–11 and 2011–12 before Bayern Munich began its nine-year winning streak in the 2012/2013 season.


Tipped to match Bayern with arms and shoulders in the domestic scene, the club hasn’t lived up to that expectation from fans and lovers of German soccer.


Over the years, Dortmund has also lost some promising players to Bayern Munich, including Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gotze, etc.


Although Dortmund had faced tough competition from Bayern, their global brand is not being disputed. Especially in European competitions like the UEFA Champions League, Dortmund has featured, qualifying for the knockout stages.


Borussia Dortmund Rivalry

Dortmund has also produced some of the most prominent players, some of which have moved to Bayern Munich at some point and represented the German Men’s National Team.


Borussia Dortmund’s greatest rivals are Bayern Munich and Schalke 04, etc.


3. SV Werder Bremen


Club Summary

Name: Sportverein Werder Bremen

Nickname(s): The River Islanders

Founded: 1899

Stadium: Weserstadion

League: 2. Bundesliga


SV Werder Bremen is regarded as the third-best German soccer team in history. Although the club has faced ups and downs in recent years, it is still one of the biggest teams in the history of soccer in the country.


The club also shares the record for most seasons played in the Bundesliga with Bayern Múnich.


Founded in 1899, SV Werder Bremen have won four Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, three DFL-Supercups, European Cup Winners’ Cup. To add to the club’s trophy cabinet, SV Werder Bremen won the “Double” in 2003–04.


Bremen were runner-up in the UEFA Cup (Europa League) in the 2008–09 campaign and the European Super Cup (UEFA Super Cup) in 1992. Werder Bremen boost a significant number of followers across Germany.


SV Werder Bremen rivalry


Bremen is also Germany’s top performer. Although the club’s form dropped in recent years, it still holds a high place in the history of soccer in the country.


Bremen has an intense rivalry with Hamburger, one of the long-standing rivalries in German soccer. It is known as the Nordderby or North derby in English.


4. Hamburger SV


Club Summary

Name: Hamburger Sport-Verein

Nickname(s): The Red Shorts

Founded: 1887

Stadium: Volksparkstadion

League: 2. Bundesliga


Hamburger SV is one of the few German soccer clubs that have achieved success internationally along with Bayern, Dortmund, Bremen, etc.


Hamburger SV is one of the most supported football clubs in the country internationally. Until 2018 before its relegation, it was the only club to remain in the Bundesliga since its establishment in 1963.


Unlike other clubs, Hamburger SV’s most successful period was in the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s.


During this period, the club won major domestic trophies like UEFA Champions League (European Cup) in 1982–83 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1976–77.


Regarded as one of the oldest football clubs in Germany, the club has a long-standing rivalry with Werder Bremen (Nordderby) and FC St. Pauli (Hamburg derby).


Hamburg is five-time German champions between 1922–23, 1927–28, 1959–60, 1978–79, 1981–82, and 1982–83.


The club won three DFB-Pokals, one European Cup (Champions League), one European Cup Winners’.


Hamburger SV completed the “Double” in the 1982–83 season following Bundesliga and European Cup success.


Hamburger SV rivalry

As the only team that had played in every season of the Bundesliga since its foundation in 1963, Hamburger SV developed an intense rivalry with other top clubs in the country.


Hamburger SV is also one of the oldest soccer clubs in Germany. HSV contest the Nordderby with SV Werder Bremen. Hamburger SV also has an existing rivalry with another Hamburg-based side FC St. Pauli.


5. Borussia Mönchengladbach


Borussia Mönchengladbach is one of Germany’s best soccer teams in history. Gladbach was founded in 1900 is the fifth largest soccer club in Germany.


Borussia Mönchengladbach has won five Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals, two UEFA Cup (Europa League) winners between 1974–75 and 1978–79.


Mönchengladbach won the “Double” in the 1974–75 season and revisited its name on the list of German soccer teams with the “Double” following a successful outing in the League and the UEFA Europa.


Since the beginning of the 21st century, Gladbach has been consistent in all competitions, including Europe.


Borussia Mönchengladbach rivalry

Mönchengladbach has a regional rival in 1. FC Köln. Other rivalries are against Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.


6. VfB Stuttgart


VfB Stuttgart prides itself as one of the most successful teams in Germany. It is also one of the largest sports clubs in the country.


In the domestic scene, VfB Stuttgart is a household name and has won five Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals, and two Bundesliga 2 titles.


VfB Stuttgart rivalry

Stuttgahasave a rivalry with Bavarian side Bayern Munich (“Süd-/South Derby”).


There’s also a city rivalry with Stuttgarter Kickers (Die Roten/Reds against Die Blauen/Blues).


Schalke 04

Schalke is one of the most popular professional football teams and multi-purpose sports club in Germany.


Founded in 1904, “The Royal Blues have won over seven German Championships, five DFB-Pokals, one DFL-Supercup and one UEFA Cup (Europa League).


Schalke 04 is also one of the top internationally recognized German soccer teams alongside Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, etc.


The club has a rivalry with Borussia Dortmund, known as the Revierderby.


FC Köln

Köln or FC Cologne is another top side in German soccer. Köln has won two Bundesliga titles and four DFB-Pokals.


Eintracht Frankfurt

Frankfurt has enjoyed more success in the DFB-Pokal, winning the German knockout cup Competition five times.


The club also had its name listed as one of the clubs from Germany with an international trophy after following the success it recorded in the 1979–80 UEFA Cup. Frankfurt won the Bundesliga title in 1959.


FC Kaiserslautern

FC Kaiserslautern was one of the early big names in the country. Historically, FC Kaiserslautern is among the most successful football clubs in Germany, having won the league four times.


The club also won the DFB-Pokal twice and two Bundesliga 2 trophies.


FC Nürnberg


FC Nürnberg was an early winner of the German soccer league. The club won the league about nine times, although most titles were the old national league crown.

Also Read:

Bundesliga all-time winners

DFB-Pokal all-time winners

DFL-Supercup all-time winners


The popularity of soccer in Germany


Soccer remains the most popular sport in the German federal republic. Amid soccer dominance in the country, there’s a wide range of sports like basketball, hockey, handball, having large followers.


Soccer in Germany has grown from a regular sport to a tradition among fans and lovers of the game throughout the country.


The love for the sport was behind the push by fans to introduce the 50+1 rule.


The 50+1 allows fans to own and control major shares of professional soccer clubs in Germany, most especially teams in the two Bundesliga divisions.


The fans’ involvement in the game has also helped smaller clubs gain popularity and sponsorship and endorsement deals from the corporate organization.


This makes Germany the successive big league with more sponsors and money from Television broadcast partners domestically and internationally.


Top football competitions in Germany


1. 1. Bundesliga

The German Bundesliga is the country’s top-tier professional soccer competition contested by 18 teams across the federation.


Bayern Munich is the record winner of the top division and the strongest in the league’s history.


The German league is ranked third-best football league on the European continent according to the UEFA coefficients.


Bundesliga teams including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, VfL Wolfsburg, Hamburger SV are European heavyweights.


2. 2. Bundesliga

The second Bundesliga is the second-tier professional football league in Germany contested by 18 teams.


Behind the EFL Championship, Bundesliga 2 is regarded as the second-best second-tier football division in Europe.


In terms of popularity and matchday attendance, Bundesliga 2 could challenge the EFL Championship.


It is also one of the most sought after in Germany and worldwide alongside the 1. Bundesliga.

3. DFB-Pokal

DFB-Pokal is the national knockout Ccupcompetition contested by all professional and regional teams across the country.


The DFB-Pokal is one of the biggest national knockout cup competitions in Europe, along with the FA Cup, Copa del Rey, Scottish FA Cup, Coupe de France, etc.


Competition in German soccer


The competition in Germany has been one-sided in the last seven to eight years.


Munich-based club Bayern Munich has dominated most of the domestic trophies.


The club has won the league title in a nine-year run beginning from the 2012/2013 season.


This could be attributed to the level of players available at the club as Bayern Munich has spent more money on recruiting and keeping some of the best players across Europe. In some cases, some domestic players had been monitored by Bayern Munich.


The issues of Bayern Munich scouting top players from other Bundesliga clubs could be attributed to the underperformance of these clubs.


Another area could be the lack of competition and the financial firepower and interest from clubs to spend big on players outside Germany.


Traditionally, most Bundesliga clubs are focused on home-based players, while the likes of Bayern Munich spend heavily on players outside Germany.


Performance of German soccer teams in Europe

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are the two best german teams in European soccer competitions.


Other names on the list are Hamburger SV, Borussia Mönchengladbach, SV Werder Bremen, etc.


Bayern Munich holds almost all European records and has singlehandedly led to Germany’s coefficient points over the years.


The Bavarians have won over six UEFA Champions League titles.

In the 21st century, Bayern Munich has won three Champions League titles in 2000–01, 2012–13, and 2019–20 which makes them one of the most successful in the current era.


Other top sides that have enjoyed a significant rise in the European scene are Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and RB Leipzig.


Dortmund won the Champions League once in the 1996–97 season and was runners-up during the 2012–13 season.


The club has also gone beyond the group stages over the last few seasons and has been tipped as tournament favourites or top German Soccer team to watch.


Hamburger SV Schalke 04 are the two other sides with impressive Champions League records in their history.


For RB Leipzig, the team has consistently participated in the Champions League since its debut season in the 2017–18 season.

Top teams to follow

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich remains an internationally recognized brand or simply a global brand.

Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund has consistently followed the high standard set by Bayern Munich. They’re the next big side on the block and also recognized internationally.


Borussia Mönchengladbach

RB Leipzig

Hertha BSC

VfL Wolfsburg



About Soccer in Germany, Culture

Football or Soccer is like the second culture of the people. The involvement of the public was behind the long-standing 50+1 rule, which only allowed more participation on the part of fans in terms of controlling the clubs from decision-making to other areas of development.


Today, top clubs, including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, Schalke 04, SV Werder Bremen, etc., have many followers outside Germany.


For Bayern Munich, its achievements have led to an increased number of followers from all over Europe, the Americas, Asia,  and Africa.


German soccer teams have continued to grow globally even though the competition over the last few seasons had been one-sided.


Professional Soccer teams in Bundesliga and 3. Liga

Arminia Bielefeld, FC Augsburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, VfL Bochum, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt, SC Freiburg.


Greuther Fürth, Hertha BSC, 1899 Hoffenheim, 1. FC Köln, RB Leipzig, Union Berlin, VfL Wolfsburg, Erzgebirge Aue, Werder Bremen, Darmstadt 98, Dynamo Dresden.


Fortuna Düsseldorf, Hamburger SV, Hannover 96, 1. FC Heidenheim, FC Ingolstadt, Karlsruher SC, Holstein Kiel, 1. FC Nürnberg, SC Paderborn, Jahn Regensburg, Hansa Rostock.


SV Sandhausen, Schalke 04, FC St. Pauli


How to follow Soccer in Germany

Soccer is one of the country’s most popular sport in Germany. The most followed soccer competition is the Bundesliga which runs side by side in television broadcast rights with the Bundesliga 2.


For the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 in Germany, Sky Sports Deutschland and DAZN hold the exclusive rights to broadcast live games.


Internationally, ESPN Sky Sports are some op media platforms raking millions for the German soccer teams.


You can also follow these clubs on social media for the recent development regarding teams.


German soccer teams are also top performers at one with old stage.


The best football clubs in Germany are Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, SV Werder Bremen.


Bayern Munich also prides itself as the biggest and the most successful soccer team in Germany.

I'm a sports enthusiast, love writing about football. I have been writing about top teams in Europe, the Premier League and La Liga.



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