Soccer is the number one sport in Germany, often referred to as ‘König Fußball’ (king football). There are over 26,000 soccer clubs across Germany and the league system in the country sorts out professional play - whichever team wins the Bundesliga is crowned the German soccer champion. The year 1874 is very important in soccer history in Germany because that was the year when the Dresden English Football Club was founded as the first modern soccer club in the country and also the year when the first soccer match took place within German borders.
The German Football Association exists since 1900 and with over six million members it is the world's largest sports federation. As for the soccer players themselves, they are known as the most persistent in the game, true sportsmen who play until the last minute of the match. The audience passionately cheers during big events, with every café, restaurant, and Biergarten in Germany putting up screens for public viewings of the matches.
3 Facts about the Team History
- Famous Players: Top soccer players who have performed for the national team are Franz Beckenbauer, Oliver Kahn, Miroslav Klose, Lothar Matthaus and Jurgen Klinsmann. Franz Beckenbauer played a sweeper in the Bayern Munich squad and is still praised for his defensive abilities. The famous goalkeeper Oliver Kahn came from the same team and took part in eight German Bundesliga championship wins, with a memorable performance at the 2002 World Cup finals. Germany’s scoring record in international competitions belongs to Miroslav Klose who scored 71 goals.
- Three German National Teams: Times were tough after WWII. Germany was banned from competing in most sports up until 1950. Three German states each had their teams: West Germany, East Germany, and Saarland. It wasn’t until German reunification in 1990 the teams became one single unity.
- International Elite: The German national soccer team has won the World Cup on four occasions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), being surpassed only by Brazil; they have been runners-up four times, have four third-place finishes; they are three-time European Championship winners and also runners-up in that competition on three occasions. ‘Die Mannschaft’ has taken part at every World Cup since 1954 and at every European Championship since 1972 and have reached 13 finals total at these major tournaments.
3 Fun Facts about the Country
- Famous Inventions: There are dozens of modern inventions the world has Germans to thank for. Some of them are the automobile, the pocket watch, the Diesel engine, the motorcycle, the jet engine, the clarinet, the LCD screen, the Walkman and also the discovery of insulin.
- The Largest Zoo in Europe and Second Largest in the World: The Berlin Zoological Garden opened in 1844 and it is the oldest zoo in Germany. It covers 35 hectares (86.5 acres), houses around 1,380 different animal species and over 20,200 animals within the zoo premises. The most famous animals living in the zoo are Knut the polar bear, Fatou the gorilla, and Bao Bao the giant panda.
- Europe's Second Largest Beer Consumer: Apart from Czechs, the Germans drink more beer than anyone else in Europe. They drink several billions of gallons of beer a year. There are more than 1,200 breweries across the country producing over 5,000 brands of beer. In Bavaria, beer is officially considered a food.