Why has nobody actually come up with the idea of commissioning a reputable opinion research institute with the most important question of the republic? Why hasn’t a media outlet sent their reporters out to the street polls yet? It would be a worthwhile project, especially now, after Eintracht Frankfurt’s spectacular European Cup victory: to find out which 18 clubs would play in the first Bundesliga if people were allowed to put together this league themselves.
Leading demographers will note in advance that the results may vary depending on origin and age; those who come from the Hanover area are more likely to issue a first division entitlement to the local football club than someone from the Lower Rhine, who prefers Fortuna Düsseldorf. And anyone who remembers the Bundesliga from the days when the sports show only showed three games would be more likely to give the contract to 1.FC Kaiserslautern than Mainz 05.
Without anticipating the diligent pollsters, part of the result could possibly already be predicted: people would not only be able to agree on FC Bayern, but certainly also on the large traditional companies from Dortmund, Schalke, Hamburg, Bremen, Cologne, Frankfurt and Mönchengladbach and Stuttgart. The unique selling point of Bayer Leverkusen – the traditional club among the commercial clubs – should be rewarded with a secure starting place, as well as SC Freiburg, whose unique selling point is to be SC Freiburg. VfL Bochum? Yes, can be good.
But what about Hertha BSC? Hertha is the club in the capital with an endless amount of history – but would it be correct to give it preference over city rivals Union for historical reasons, who are doing so many things right in the present? And what weighs heavier: the magnificent old pictures painted by 1. FC Nürnberg, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, MSV Duisburg and TSV 1860 Munich – or the modern art of Mainz 05, which Klopp and Tuchel gave to German football to have? And do you really have to despise Hoffenheim and Leipzig in order to be allowed to be an upright citizen?
The point of the story is that traditional brands from clubs like Freiburg or Leipzig were forced to renew
These are the questions that have arisen from the past two weeks, in which German football has experienced lavish celebrations at Schalke 04, VfB Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt. The pictures were so similar that one thing was almost forgotten: Schalke, Bremen and Stuttgart only corrected or avoided the worst (the second class). Eintracht Frankfurt, on the other hand, has won an international title that German football has not won for 25 years.
The large pictures from Frankfurt are now representative of a football year that football romantics will hang over their beds. In the next season, the Bundesliga could look a bit like it did in the early days, but that alone is of value in itself at most for traditionalists and TV marketers.
The triumph of Frankfurt resulted in an order for the whole league, not only because Eintracht deserves credit for taking the Europa League as seriously as it deserves. Despite a mediocre Bundesliga season, Eintracht Frankfurt is now a role model for all the big cult brands: it has stabilized itself through serious squad politics in such a way that it can safely survive major upheavals like last summer (and with a title) – a goal from which Schalke, Bremen, Stuttgart, Hamburg and anyway Hertha are still far away.
But the football year is not over yet, and the upcoming DFB Cup final adds the decisive punch line to the good story. In the big league soap, SC Freiburg (good!) and RB Leipzig (boooooooose!) embody the different poles, but their innovative way of working results in the same thing: both the clever niches (Freiburg, Mainz) and the most heavily sponsored start -ups (Leipzig, Hoffenheim) have driven the traditional clubs in front of them and forced them to renew. However, the importance that Freiburg and Leipzig have gained for the company in this way cannot be determined from the demoscopy.