The Bundesliga 18-Team Format Unpacked: Secrets Revealed for Football Fans!

Unpacking the Bundesliga

If you’re a football fan, chances are you’ve heard of the Bundesliga. Germany’s top professional football league has been around since 1963 and has solidified its reputation as one of Europe’s top five leagues, along with the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1. In this article, we’re going to unpack everything you need to know about the Bundesliga, from its 18-team format to its winter break and more.


Before we dive into the specifics of the Bundesliga, let’s take a brief overview of what the league is all about. The Bundesliga is home to 18 professional football clubs in Germany. It is the highest tier of professional football in the country, with the champion of the league being considered the best team in Germany. The top seven teams in the league qualify for Europe, while the bottom two teams are relegated to the second division.

Why the Bundesliga has 18 Teams

The Bundesliga is unique in that it only has 18 teams, while most other top European leagues have 20. But why is that? The number 18 came about due to a coincidence in 1965 when the federation decided to replace Hertha Berlin, who were demoted on account of bribery, with another club from the west side of the capital. This resulted in an uneven number of teams, so the two clubs that were relegated at the bottom of the league were allowed to stick around in the first division. From then on, the 18-team format was set.

Why the Bundesliga Plays 34 Games

Without the extra two teams that most other top European leagues have, the Bundesliga only has 18 teams to play against. This means that each team plays 17 opponents that they must face twice throughout the season. Every team plays a total of 34 games in the season, making it the league with the shortest calendar among Europe’s top five leagues.

Why the Bundesliga Has a Winter Break

One of the unique features of the Bundesliga is its winter break, which is not seen in many other top European leagues. Since the league has only 18 teams and 34 games, teams have a four-week winter break. This system helps players recharge their batteries and spend time with their loved ones during the holiday season. It also spares them from playing during some of the coldest weeks of the season.

The 18-Team League Pros and Cons

As with any format, there are pros and cons to having an 18-team league. One of the advantages is that it provides a more competitive league, as the two extra clubs would be brought up from lower tiers. Additionally, this format is essential for maintaining a winter break that ensures a healthier schedule for athletes. Conversely, having only 18 teams in the league means that there is less opportunity for up-and-coming sides to climb their way to the higher echelon.

Will the Bundesliga Be Increased to 20 Teams?

There have been talks about increasing the number of teams in the Bundesliga to 20, but it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Some of the big teams in Germany are actually in favour of reducing the number of clubs to 16 instead of expanding it. While some of the smaller sides would love to see the league’s size increase, the 50+1 rule that establishes a new regime remains a tough task to achieve.

Will the Premier League Be Reduced to 18 Teams?

The Premier League tried to reduce the number of participant teams from 20 to 18. However, these attempts are due to fail, as the majority of the country is unwilling to destabilize a system that proved incredibly successful in terms of promoting English football throughout the globe.

Brief History of Bundesliga Schedule

The Bundesliga schedule has been the same for over five decades since the number of teams was 18. During the pandemic, the league was placed on hold, but it resumed with 34 games, starting in August and ending in May of the following year.

Main Events on Bundesliga Schedule

Throughout the season, there are various top derbies and rivalries that take place across the country, most notably the Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund match. It is a match that is highly anticipated, considering the rivalry between the two teams and their past encounters.

Bundesliga Main Venues

Each team must travel across the country and to different cities to complete the season. Every venue is important because winning at any of them will give the teams three points. However, some home grounds have a special place in the hearts of their fans, like the Allianz Arena, home of the biggest team in the league, Bayern Munich.


The Bundesliga is an intriguing league with its slightly different format from the other top European leagues. With only 18 teams, it provides a more competitive league, although it limits the opportunities for up-and-coming sides to climb higher. Whether the Bundesliga opts to keep the 18-team format or expand it to 20 remains a topic of much debate. In any case, the league remains an exciting one to watch, with multiple derbies and rivalries to spice up the season.


1. Who are the reigning champions of the Bundesliga?
2. How does the relegation system work in the Bundesliga?
3. Who is the all-time top goalscorer in the Bundesliga?
4. What is the 50+1 rule in German football?
5. How does the Bundesliga compare to other top European leagues?


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