Can you sense it? European football is coming back to our TV screens, with Germany leading the way. I daresay that all of us have missed the spectacular goals, incredible link-up play, and on-field drama. Like me, you’re probably eagerly awaiting the start of the German topflight.
Wait, you’re not?
Well, I’m honestly not surprised. Most football fans around the world usually support a domestic team and a club from either the Premier League or La Liga. While fans are familiar with big clubs like Juventus and FC Bayern Munich, the leagues these European giants play in are unfamiliar to them. If you were to ask a casual Premier League fan to name a starting line up comprised of players from other leagues in Europe, chances are they’d fill that squad entirely of players from the big teams. A sense of familiarity is key to supporting a club fully. Many football fans are not casual fans. Instead, they are die-hard ones. They will pick a club and give it their unwavering support.
Yet, there is something quite exciting about supporting a new club. It’s like you undergo a rebirth as a football fan. The process of finding out about the club and then forming a sense of belonging to it is truly a refreshing experience. Even though I’m a Manchester United fan, I started supporting Napoli way back in 2012. I discovered Napoli through FIFA 13 but I have seen Lorenzo Insigne blossom from a youthful prospect to an exceptional winger. Not only that I’ve seen the meteoric rise of Kalidou Koulibaly and Dries Mertens. Last season, Napoli were absolutely incredible and their second-place finish was a testament of their fine performances.
The Bundesliga shouldn’t be a total walk in the dark though. Many former premier league players now ply their trade there. Former Arsenal man, Serge Gnabry, and ex-Liverpool stalwart, Philippe Coutingho turn out for Bayern Munich. Another former Liverpool player, Emre Can, plays for Dortmund. Former Chelsea striker and Peruvian icon, Claudio Pizzaro, represents Werder Bremen despite the fact that he is 41 years old.
Jack is publishing a weekend preview (his specialty) for the upcoming Bundesliga matches and I urge you to read it because it provides you an entry-point to pick your teams. For me, I’ve decided to support Bayer Leverkusen for the remainder of the Bundesliga campaign. I barely know the club but I know most of their players: Leon Baily, The Bender brothers, Jonathan Tah, Kevin Volland and of course, the very talented Kai Havertz.
I’ll also be keeping an eye out for Dortmund cause they possess a squad filled with extremely sensational young players. There is a possibility that Sancho may be wearing a United jersey come the next transfer window so it’ll be nice to see how he performs. Achraf Hakimi, on loan from Real Madrid, has also been a joy to watch. Their main attraction, however, has to be their recent acquisition, Erling Braut Håland. The Norwegian has set the Bundesliga alight since arriving at Dortmund and it’ll be interesting to see him play weekly.
The Bundesliga’s resumption provides me (and you) an opportunity to find a team to support. Sure, we might not religiously tune in and watch the teams that we choose now once the other leagues resume. However, they will forever have a special place in our hearts. Supporting a relatively unfamiliar team and watching them play well and win matches is a thrilling and wholesome encounter. I urge you to pick a team and stick with it. Who knows, you might just become a convert.