Sports in Germany
Germans are great sports enthusiasts. However, sports differ. Rugby or Cricket – prime sports in South Africa – are unknown in Germany. Instead, soccer is the most important team sport and people can go mad for it. There is no other sport in Germany that enjoys such wide popularity than soccer does. Germany has played in many World Cups so far and won the tournament in 1954, 1974 and in 1990. German kids play soccer whenever there is an opportunity and even the tiniest German village has a soccer club. Soccer is also taught at school level from the first year on, together with other sports, such as handball, basketball, athletics and gymnastics. German kids get marks for their sports performance in school.
Bundesliga: The premier German soccer league is called Bundesliga and consists of 18 teams. The bottom three clubs are eligible for relegation to the 2nd league. Normally, Bayern München, Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Hertha BSC Berlin, VfL Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, HSV Hamburg, VFL Wolfsburg, Hannover 96, FC Kaiserslautern, Arminia Bielefeld, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfL Bochum and Hansa Rostok are Bundesliga clubs. The 1st league feeds the German national soccer team.
The no 2 ball sport in Germany. It enjoys great popularity and is also taught at school. In February 2007, Germany won the Handball World Championship (Final match against Poland).
Tennis scores high on the priority list of German sports enthusiasts, especially since champion players Boris Becker and Steffi Graf dominated the world’s tennis scene during the eighties and won many Grand Slam titles.
Golf only became widely known during the last ten years in Germany. The popularity is mainly due to the success of German champion golfer Bernhard Langer, who has won the Masters Tournament twice. Today, there are hundreds of golf courses in Germany and a membership has become affordable.
The Bavarian Alps around Oberstdorf and Berchtesgaden but also the higher elevations in the Central German Uplands – especially in the Bavarian Forest and the Black Forest – are favourite locations for winter sports. January and February are main months when Germans like to go skiing.