Bundesliga Fanatic (not exactly a) Mailbag! – Inaugural Edition

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a regular mailbag feature here at Bundesliga Fanatic?

Or, is it possible this seems like an amazing idea just because it’s winter break and there is no Bundesliga action for another four weeks-plus?

Either way, if it’s good enough for the Men in Blazers and Grantland’s Bill Simmons, well . . . I want to play, too.

But, we don’t really get email queries, probably because we’ve not asked for them. At least, I’d like to pretend it’s that and not because you collectively believe we have no idea what we’re doing.

Actually, I have hard evidence that some folk do assume we are not without some level of expertise. Among the things reported to us as a website are search-engine terms that eventually led users to click on our site.

Sometimes, they can be incredibly straight-forward, such as “erik durm bundesliga” or “johannes geis footballer”.

Other times, they can be impenetrable; any idea what “simpal pep sc twelfth” might mean?

But many of them seem like good queries that maybe deserve not only an answer, not only for the person who’d hoped we could enlighten, but also just for the good of further helping to spread the preserves of Bundesliga love a bit wider and thicker atop the daily bread of the footballing world.

And, some of them are tailor-made for a bit of fun.

So, with no further ado . . .

“how to watch bundesliga in us”

As we recently learned from our year-end statistical reporting, the United States interest in the Bundesliga is on the rise, despite the relative difficulty in finding matches for viewing.

US television rights to the Bundesliga are currently held by GolTV. I’ll wait here while you consult your cable guide to see whether you have it . . . No? Well, you’re not alone. The network was already somewhat poorly represented on cable and satellite providers even before beIN Sports began muscling them out of the way with their giant piles of Qatari money (yep, Qatar again!), snatching La Liga rights from GolTV and leveraging them, along with Serie A, Ligue 1, and Copa del Rey coverage, to hammer their competitor into submission.

Beginning with the 2015-16 season, Fox takes ownership of US Bundesliga rights, but to what degree they will be using them has not yet been made clear.

In the interim, there is one great option for all US-based Bundesliga fanatics. As reported here, KlowdTV offers live-streaming service of GolTV at a modest cost. You can’t watch all the Bundesliga matches, nor can you see them on and on-demand basis, but the network does offer several matches each weekend with some replays during the week, as well as several airings of their “Hallo! Bundesliga” weekly recap and highlights show.

Having utilized the service myself, I can tell you their quality and reliability are vastly superior to any illegal streams that none of us would ever dream of using, right?!

“what bundesliga team should i support”

First, I promise that we here at the Fanatic will investigate this query much more deeply before next season.

Now, I feel obligated to share this with anyone who has this question . . .




Once you’ve had a laugh running through that (excepting those ultra-serious Bayern fans who always find a way to take offense as the victim of EVERYTHING!), let’s talk business.

Clearly, you need to find the club that will suit your needs for what you want from pursuing Bundesliga fandom. This chart is somewhat old. Hence, some of the stereotypes about the clubs that inform it are outdated, not to mention that it doesn’t quite capture the current league make-up.

My most sincere advice would be to just keep watching matches until something grabs your interest in a way you can feel. You will get no deeper bond with your side than if you let your club come to your heart. Some will be drawn by the fan support and atmosphere. Others will latch onto a player or players . . . or a style of play . . . or a uniform . . . or a club song . . . or any of dozens of things.

But one of the things that tends to appeal about the Bundesliga is the passion of the support, which makes the idea of finding your one true love through a process of considering input, whether it’s data or advice, just the completely wrong way to go about it.

As I was told when I found myself baffled at how I landed with my club despite having seen four others live and in person in my first contact with the sport and league: “You can choose you wife, but you cannot choose your football club.”

But, if all that sounds a bit hokey to you, and you’d just like to watch a team win, well that’s easy enough, but you’d probably not needed to have run a Google search to land on “Bayern” at the end.

“worst germny club 2014”

I am never sure whether it’s a good thing or bad when a typo or misspelling leads to a visit to the site. Either Google corrected that to “Germany” for the user, or we have a typo somewhere that slipped by our editorial oversight.

Even with proper spelling, though, the question isn’t quite clear. There is a lot of room for interpretation for “worst club” and even for “2014.”

For the sake of being able to provide an answer at all, let’s stick to the professional clubs in the top two leagues. We can safely assume that no matter who we tab as candidates for “worst” there, they’re probably still better and better off than the clubs in 3.Liga and below. We’ll also assume the person was looking for a year-end answer, considering the timing, rather than just the Hinrunde of the current season.

It’s difficult to not just go with a big club that was relegated. Even though FC Nürnberg is within reach of the promotion discussion after a disastrous start to their 2. Bundesliga season, collecting points in the league below where they belong is not 100% dignified.

Yet, I’m compelled to choose a similar club who survived the drop on the away-goals rule, to set a new record for fewest points for a Bundesliga club to not be relegated, only to return to this season looking very much again like a candidate to go down, despite being one of German’s biggest and most-esteemed clubs.

Clearly, the choice here is Hamburger SV.

The Bundesliga dinosaurs compiled just eleven points in the Rückrunde of the 2013-14 season, which was the league’s worst and just enough to stay in the playoff spot by one point only thanks to the fumbling efforts of the aforementioned Nürnberg.

The HSV picked up right where they left off last season, scoring just nine goals in the first 17 matches of this season, but getting enough points to float above other stragglers in the table. On the touch line, Hamburg tried three different men to lead their highly paid roster to something resembling a competitor, to no avail thus far.

So, yes, relegation is worse than being a consistently bad Bundesliga side, but failing repeatedly on a bigger stage, for me, is a much better measure of who truly was the “worst” of 2014.

“are austrians germans”


“norbert siegmann tackle”

The easiest out here is to just point you to Niklas Wildhagen’s look back at it from early 2013, and to attach a Bundesliga-produced video on the matter.

I can’t say anything more than what is found in the video below, other than to warn you that if you’re in the least bit squeamish, you may wish to not view it. The audio is in English, and the part of the image obscured by the play button on the preview image is obscuring a fairly gruesome scene.

If the name Ewald Lienen, the player victimized by this famously brutal tackle, sounds familiar, it is because he was named the latest head coach at FC St. Pauli about two weeks ago.

Unfortunately, he is no longer sporting that amazing mullet which would have made him easily the best coiffed coach in that league, the honors of which shall remain with new VfL Bochum man Gertjan Verbeek.

Well, that seems like a good/awful place to leave off for the day. We hope you enjoyed what is sure to become the internet’s most-beloved English-language, Bundesliga-oriented mailbag that is not at all a mailbag.

For now, Tschuß!

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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