How Many Games In a Bundesliga Season?

As the top league in Germany, the Bundesliga has many fans from all over the world tune in for matches. There are a few dominant teams at the top of the table seemingly every year, with one team standing out far and above the rest.

Each year, the competitiveness of the league improves. Knowing how many games go on domestically each season helps fans keep track of the standings.

How many games are there in a Bundesliga season? The Bundesliga season consists of a total of 306 games. Each of the 18 teams plays 34 games in total. They have a home and away fixture with each team to make it as fair as possible.

How The Bundesliga Season Works

  • Bundesliga Season: August-May
  • Off-Season: June-July

Like many other European domestic leagues, the Bundesliga regular season consists of playing each team in the league twice. With 18 teams in the league, the result is 34 games per season in the Bundesliga. 

Each team plays the other 17 teams once on the road, and once at home. At the end of the season, the table leader is the champion. Tiebreakers include goal differential, total goals, and head-to-head win percentage in that order.

Other Matches Throughout the Year

Bundesliga teams don’t play just 34 matches per year. Some of the top teams can end up playing quite a few more matches thanks to all the different cups and tournaments they are involved in.

The number one goal for any European club team is to qualify for the Champions League. To do this, they need to finish with a great record the year before in Bundesliga.

Bundesliga is officially in the top four of UEFA’s member association club coefficients through at least 2023-2024. That means the top four clubs automatically qualify for the Champions League the following season.

There’s also the chance for a fifth club from the Bundesliga to make the Champions League. The winner of the Champions League and Europa League automatically makes the Champions League the following year, so if that team is outside the top four domestically, they become the fifth team.

Fifth and sixth place finishers in Bundesliga automatically qualify for the Europa League the following season. The DFB Cup winner also automatically gets a spot in the Europa League, given that they haven’t already qualified or made it to the Champions League.

Finally, there are random cups and contests played throughout the year that might have local interest. Competitions are weighed differently, so teams might allow players normally not playing much to compete in the lesser-known matches. They are glorified exhibitions in some cases, especially for the big-budget teams.

How Does Relegation Work In the Bundesliga?

At the end of each season, Germany does relegation a little bit differently than most other leagues. They use a relegation playoff to decide whether the two fringe teams stay or go.

This playoff includes the team that finishes 16th in the Bundesliga, going up against the team that finishes third in Bundesliga 2. A two-legged playoff system is in place, and the winner gets a chance to compete in Bundesliga the following year.

The goal each year is to get this playoff finished within 10 days of the end of the regular season. It adds a bit more drama to the mix, as teams are fighting to compete at the highest level the following year.

The 17th and 18th placed teams in Bundesliga still automatically drop to Bundesliga 2. Meanwhile, the first and second place teams in Bundesliga 2 go to Bundesliga the following year. While there have been talks of additional playoffs, there’s only a single playoff matchup.

Who are the Best Teams in Bundesliga?

In recent memory, the one team dominating the most has been Bayern Munich. Not only do they seemingly contend for the domestic league title every single year, but they are a big player in international competitions as well.

They’ve been in Champions League Finals 11 times and with six victories all-time. Their payroll makes them competitive against any team in the world.

Historically, a few other teams have joined Bayern Munich at the top of the table. Borussia Dortmund is the most consistent team outside of Bayern Munich, as they have fire championships and eight runner-ups domestically. They are also the last team to win the Bundesliga not named Bayern Munich, winning in the 2011–2012 season.

Borussia Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen are the only two other teams that have four or more titles to their name. A lot of clubs have pulled off historic runs once in a while, but sustained success is more challenging to come by.

When Did Bundesliga Start?

The Bundesliga officially started in 1963. That meant that the very first champion, FC Köln, hoisted the trophy in 1964. The league has gone through quite a few changes throughout the years, mostly depending on the number of teams, the number of teams relegated, and the teams qualifying for European competitions.

Historically, Bundesliga hasn’t been as competitive as some of the other European domestic leagues. With that said, they still have championships to their name things in large part of Bayern Munich. They are the one team that consistently competes against any other team in the world due to their funding.

The Future of Bundesliga

Some soccer fans remain worried that Bundesliga is not competitive enough because of the domination of Bayern Munich.

In many seasons, it seems to be nothing more than a battle for second place. Supporters would say that other teams need to match their level, but the team has a sizable advantage as far as funding is concerned.

The reputation of the Bundesliga is built on quality youth development and outstanding physical fitness. It may not be the flashiest domestic league in the world, but it’s hard to argue with the results on the international stage.

Germany gets the vast majority of its players for each World Cup directly from the Bundesliga, and they are in the mix to win the title every four years.

If a few more teams can start the challenge Bayern Munich at the top, it could help raise the overall reputation of the league. It has the chance to be right up there with every other European league with just a little bit more competitiveness from top to bottom.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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