In Germany, football is the most popular national sport: Many people play football and the various amateur leagues have their own attractiveness whilst at the same time setting the foundation for the professional leagues. Broad media coverage, large stadiums  providing venues for the live experience and the rise of fans at both regional and supra-regional level characterize the football image. Both, big and small clubs benefit from the growth market and the German National League is globally of high importance. In this scenario, three facets may be summarized: (a) continuous growth market with high return, (b) increasing overheated boom market with many different clubs in the international business and (c) the same boom market with a focus on less internationally successful club teams.

The Bundesliga has caught up with big European leagues. Many international top players do not change to Madrid or Milan anymore but to Munich, Gelsenkirchen or Hamburg. This can lead to a division between the handful of large, internationally successful clubs and the rest of the medium sized clubs which can only follow in the wake of their more illustrious compatriots as they have no real chance of competing on the international stage. Football is primarily professionally staged and payed for media entertainment. Active sports become less important and amateur football is more and more restricted to its function as a “supplier” for the professional sports.

The Bundesliga has not survived the professionalization without any damage. International leagues and competitions have positioned themselves so successfully that many top German clubs retire from the Bundesliga in order to seek the riches of a greater European league. With higher professionalism and monetary rewards being the main attraction, they are also highly susceptible to fluctuations within this newly created market boom. The Bundesliga is evolving into a “German first league” whose leadings clubs, have little chance of ever entering into the higher echelons of European footballs newly created Super League.

If the classic melody of “Football’s coming home” ringing out from the stands, most people in 2025 share the vision of those responsible in the early 21st century. Having resisted the temptation of the profit-oriented football business but rather aspiring to maintain their traditional policy with its regulation of salaries and financial compensation of clubs, this approach, targeted on authenticity, has enabled them to secure growth as well as to ensure sustainable profitability. Therefore, the Bundesliga is amongst one of the most successful international leagues with many top teams playing regularly at a high international level.

Society values such as authenticity and sustainability have become core values. Active sports, in particular, are seen as a tool for a healthier lifestyle. Within this environment, international/professional football is viewed as “a national sport that has sold its soul”. In Germany, they focus increasingly on traditional policy as well as compensation and regulation of salaries and structures. Thus, teams of the German Football League are falling further behind in international competitions as well as in the “big business”.  Many clubs are foregoing investments in entertainment and focus on sports again. The fan base is strongly oriented on the region and the amateur sector is developing into a “small growth market”.

In 2025 the former national sport of Germany was twice pushed to the margins. On the one hand, sports have become generally less important on the other hand, football has been replaced by other sports. The game is seen as old-fashioned, the rise of fans is stagnating and the German clubs can hardly survive in the international business.

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