What two things do the 2006 and 2010 World Cups have in common?
The first is the French team went out of both competitions in embarrassing style. The former saw Zinedine Zidane sent off for a headbutt on Italian Marco Materazzi that eventually told on Les Bleus in the ensuing penalty shootout with the Azzurri. The latter saw France score only one goal in the group stage matches and get ousted by the home squad South Africa.
The second similarity is Germany placed third in both competitions. It began with Jurgen Klinsmann and it was refined by his assistant Joachim Löw in the last World Cup.
The excitement of a more attacking offense and the galaxy of new stars has galvanized a once staid if not boring German game. And now some of Germany’s biggest stars are playing their trade abroad – Mesut Ozil and Sammy Khedira with Real Madrid, David Odonkor with Real Betis; and Timo Hildebrand with Sporting CP in Portugal to name a few.
And the German Bundesliga has received a massive shot in the arm with international players such as France’s Franck Ribery; the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Mark Van Bommel; Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko; Brazil’s Edu and Ze Roberto; Croatia’s Josip Simunic; Japan’s Atsuto Uchida; Portugal’s Hugo Almeida; and Spain’s Raul to name a few.
The Bundesliga, the third-ranked league in Europe by FIFA, is contested by 18 teams with a relegation and promotion system. The top three clubs are seeded into the UEFA Champions League while the fourth-ranked squad has to go through qualifiers. Should that team not make it, it competes in the Europa League.
The Bundesliga is also the number one European league in terms of average domestic attendance with an average of just under 42,000 fans per game.
While Bayern Munich is the league’s biggest winner with 21 league titles, other clubs such as Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund, SV Werder Bremen, Hamburger SV, and VfB Stuttgart have also lifted the domestic trophy.
Dortmund is the current club champion.
Catch the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach on AKTV on IBC-13 tonight at 9 p.m.
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