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How to pick a German football team that perfectly suits your character

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How to pick a German football team that perfectly suits your character
Borussia Dortmund players and fans. Photo: DPA.
09:49 CEST+02:00
Many football-loving expats find themselves baffled by the variety and number of German football teams to choose from. We’re confident though that you’ll be able to align yourself with at least one of the five teams listed here.

With the kick-off of the German Football Cup last weekend and the start of the new Bundesliga (first division) season on Friday, the pressure’s on to find a team to support. No sweat - our guide will help you find out which one best corresponds to your character.

The jock

If you’re a brash millennial who doesn’t play by the rules and lives off of your parents’ money to survive, RB Leipzig may be the team for you.

Very new to the football scene, RB Leipzig was only founded in 2009. This is considered young as some German football teams have been around since the 19th century.

Willi Orban is RB Leipzig's 24-year-old team captain. Photo: DPA.

Energy drink maker Red Bull initiated the club, hence the name RB Leipzig. But because sponsors aren’t allowed in the names of football clubs, RB Leipzig is also called RasenBallsport Leipzig.

RB Leipzig started off playing in the fifth division, but they quickly raised in the ranks to the 3. Liga (third division) in 2013 and then to the 2. Liga (second division) the following season. They were finally promoted to the first division in May 2016.

These guys are so hated that fans of one opposing club threw a decapitated bull's head from the stand at a game last year. 

So if you, too, have sensed feelings of annoyance and jealousy from people at how young you are and how fast you’ve garnered success, you might feel right at home cheering on RB Leipzig.

The lifer

If you’re the type of person who is down-to-earth, hardworking, loyal and fully committed to everything you do, you might identify with a football club that isn’t rich and doesn’t get a lot of money from sponsors yet is still quite successful: Borussia Dortmund.

You’re not concerned with rooting for the team that always wins. Instead, you’d offer one of your ribs if you had to for a team that is first and foremost authentic.

If you’re in it for the long haul, Borussia Dortmund - a first division club going strong with 145,000 members and the highest average attendance at home games of any football club in the world - is your best bet.

The fact that the team has a total of eight Bundesliga championships under their belt doesn’t even matter. What matters is that that they’ve been around for over 100 years, they’re respected and well-liked and most importantly, they have people like you who they’re proud to call true fans.

The poser

If following the crowd is more up your alley, go ahead and root for FC Bayern München.

Everyone knows they’re the most “successful” football club in Germany. Besides, not only have they won the most amount of Bundesliga championships, they’ve claimed the title consecutively over the past five years.

Their budgets are huge so they can afford to pay for well-known football stars. And even their slogan Mia san mia which is Bavarian for “We are who we are” has a slight air of arrogance to it. But hey, we won’t blow your cover if you’re also into the whole old money, aristocratic thing.

Since FC Bayern München could very well win the Bundesliga tournament again this upcoming season and you’d just rather play it safe, we promise we won’t tell if you decide to become a bandwagoner, err, fan.

Bayern München celebrating their German Football Cup victory last year. Photo: DPA.

The slacker

Are you someone who procrastinates on all of your assignments at university, gets by on mediocre marks and somehow manages to pass all your exams?

Or are you someone who completes the tasks required of you at work with minimum effort and yet for some reason you haven’t been sacked?

If you can identify as either of these types of people, you might want to consider cheering on the Hamburger HSV football team.

For the past while, this first division club has been playing horribly. In 2011, for instance, they almost found themselves relegated to the second division. And in a German Cup game last weekend, they were embarrassingly defeated 3-1 by VfL Osnabrück, a team which ranks lower than them in the third division.

Despite this, they take pride in their status of having never been relegated and having continuously played in the first league since their foundation. Slackers, take note!

The hipster

Say you consider yourself alternative, independent or someone who likes to go against the grain. If this is the case, you sure as heck shouldn’t root for any of the teams listed above.

Instead, you should go for a club in the second league rather than the first league whose games are more affordable to watch. How about a team like FC Union Berlin that ditches the glitz and the glamour?

FC Union Berlin's fan base is considered small in comparison to other football clubs in Germany. Photo: DPA.

No worries if one of the reasons you want to support them is so you can brag about being an original fan once the team eventually becomes more mainstream.

The diversity and the size of the club’s current fan base may appeal to you: with just over 16,600 club members, it’s not as daunting as joining a club like Borussia Dortmund that’s nearly ten times as big.

And since FC Union Berlin is based in the city with arguably the largest population of hipsters in Germany, you may already live in the capital city and likely won't have to travel very far for home games. 

READ ALSO: How to sound like a football expert with your German pals

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