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Although Germany was slower out of the blocks than its European counterparts in establishing a professional football league, since is inception in 1963, the Bundesliga has grown in size and stature and is now held in the same regard as England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A.

It is broadcast in over 200 countries around the globe with the likes of Fox Sports, Fox International Channels and Sky all acquiring rights in recent years.

In recent seasons the German top flight has consistently been ranked in the top three leagues in Europe according to UEFA's league coefficient ranking, which is based on performances in European competitions. And with the likes of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 generally holding their own in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League, it's little wonder.

Germany's Big Two

Bayern, who are the Bundesliga's record title holders, have won the European Cup on no less than five occasions and are a generally regarded as a powerhouse on the European scene having played in 10 finals in total.

Indeed, the Bavarians are now a global brand and challenging elite clubs such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus for support around the world.

Munich may not be in the same league as Barca, Real and United in that regard just yet, but the intent is there with the club’s launch of an office in New York in 2014, to raise awareness of the FC Bayern brand in North America, a massive step in the right direction.

Borussia Dortmund are also huge selling point for Germany's top division with the likes of World Cup winner Mario Götze and prolific hitman Robert Lewandowski making their names at the club. BVB also have a UEFA Champions League title under their belt (1997) and are third on the all time winner's list - behind Bayern and 1. FC Nürnberg - with eight Bundesliga titles.

Der Klassiker

Germany's answer to El Clasico is Der Klassiker, which features the Bundesliga's two most successful clubs - Bayern and Dortmund.

The fixture earned the moniker of Der Klassiker back in 2010 following years of intense rivalry between the clubs. Subsequently, BVB won five games on the bounce against the Bavarians and that only added fuel to the fire.

From 1994 until 2016 only four teams outside of Munich and Dortmund have won the Bundesliga title, whilst the the big two also faced off in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, which Bayern won.

The tit for tat nature of the battle for supremacy between Der FCB and Die Schwarzgelben can be summed up by Bayern breaking Dortmund's Bundesliga points record in 2013 only a year after BVB had set it.

Bundesliga Talent

The Bundesliga has produced a wealth of world class talent over the years with the likes of Gerd Muller, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uwe Seeler, Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthäus and Rudi Voller all becoming household names.

And it continues to do so today with the likes of Thomas Müller, Marco Reus and Manuel Neuer among the top rated players in Europe.

Germany's national side has certainly benefited from the solid foundation the Bundesliga provides (as West Germany first and Germany after reunification), winning four FIFA World Cup Finals (1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014) and three UEFA European Championships (1972, 1980 and 1996).

Only Brazil (5) has won more World Cups than Germany but the Europeans have appeared in the most finals (8).

German Dinosaurs

The Bundesliga began life as a 16-team professional league but has since expanded to 18 and the names of its top clubs - like Bayern, Dortmund, Gladbach, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen and Hamburg - trip off the tongue.

Hamburger SV boast the honour of being the only ever-present club in the Bundesliga. HSV are the dinosaurs of the league but have survived only by the skin of their teeth on more than one occasion, most notably in back-to-back relegation play-offs in 2014 and 2015.

The Red Shorts have won the league on six occasions, although their last triumph came way back in 1983. They also won the European Cup that year, whilst they also landed the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1977 and claimed the UEFA Cup in 1982.

European Qualification

A top three finish in the Bundesliga currently offers direct qualification to the following season's group phase in the UEFA Champions League, whilst a fourth placed finish earns a berth in the Champions League qualifiers.

Fifth and sixth place secure a ticket to the Europa League, whilst the DFB Pokal (German Cup) winners also earn a berth to Europe's second tier competition. 

Famous Venues

The stunning Allianz Arena is the home of Bayern Munich and is one of Europe’s most modern stadiums, with a capacity of over 70,000. The ground boasts an impressive facade consisting of 2,760 diamond-shaped cushions that form a membrane cladding covering an area of 66,500 m². 

The mesmerizing effect of the magnificent architectural feat means the Allianz has already established itself in the collective consciousness of lovers of the 'beautiful game'. Interestingly, the Allianz Arena became Germany’s favourite sports venue and one of the top 10 national sites of interest in the nation just three years after it was built.

SIGNAL IDUNA PARK is 'the temple' of Borussia Dortmund fans and another impressive sight to say the least. With a capacity of over 80,000 behind's its glass façade, as well as undersoil heating and the largest stand in Europe, BVB has given a signal of intent to challenge for domestic and European glory for years to come.

Berlin's Olympiastadion boasts a 74,475 capacity and since 1985 has hosted the final of the DFB-Pokal. Prior to that, the hosting of the German Cup decider was awarded to various cities throughout the nation but the Olympiastadion has justifiably become Germany's answer to Wembley in recent years. 

It has been home to the Bundesliga's Hertha BSC since 1963 and had the honour of hosting the 2006 FIFA World Cup final - won by Italy on penalties (vs. France) - and six games in total at the competition.

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