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Bundesliga explainer: How Germany’s top domestic soccer league operates

The 2021-22 season of Bundesliga play kicks off on August 13. We’re going through the basics and what to watch for ahead of their kickoff.

FC Bayern München - Team Presentation Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

The 2021-22 Bundesliga season kicks off on August 13 as 18 teams will vie for the championship once again. If you’re not familiar with Bundesliga, then have no fear! We’ve got you covered here as we go through some of the basics of the German top flight league and talk about what to expect and what to watch for as this next season gets underway.

Who is the best team in Bundesliga?

Even if you’ve never heard of the Bundesliga, chances are you’ve heard of Bayern Munich. It’s arguably the best team in the league year after year as it has won the championship the last nine seasons in a row, starting in 2012-13. Bayern Munich has 30 titles overall and is easily the most dominant club in the league, especially in recent years.

Who are the reigning Bundesliga champions?

Again, Bayern Munich takes the honor here as it finished atop the league last season with an impressive 78 points, logging only six draws and four losses all season long. The next closest team was RB Leipzig who finished with 65 points, a whole 13 points behind the league champions.

Who are the best players in Bundesliga?

Undoubtedly, Robert Lewandowski is one of the first players that comes to mind when asked this question. The 32-year-old striker has been nothing short of phenomenal, winning the honor of the Bundesliga top scorer six of the last eight years, which includes the last four seasons in a row. Other recognizable names include goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, striker Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Kingsley Colman. Of course, those guys all play for Bayern Munich, so you can’t forget guys like Erling Haaland and Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund and Emil Forsberg of RB Leipzig.

Who is expected to win the title this season?

Would it be a surprise if Bayern Munich showed up in the answer to this question? Probably not. The club is going for its 10th consecutive Bundesliga title this season which is no small feat, and it’ll be relying on the scoring prowess of Lewandowski once again to get there.

How many goals will Robert Lewandowski score this season?

This is a very valid question, considering he’s been the top scorer for six of the last eight seasons. He just keeps scoring more every season, most recently logging a career-high 41 goals in Bundesliga play last season through 29 appearances. His previous career high came in 2019-20 when he bagged 34 goals, so who knows — maybe he’ll come close to 50 this next season if the trend continues.

Who are some notable Americans playing in Bundesliga?

A handful of Americans play in Bundesliga, including Tyler Adams at RB Leipzig, John Brooks with Wolfsburg, Timmy Chandler at Eintracht Frankfurt, Gio Reyna with Borussia Dortmund, and Chris Richards at Bayern Munich. Young USMNT striker Josh Sargent spent several seasons with Werder Bremen as well, but recently made the move to EPL side Norwich City.

How can I watch Bundesliga in the US?

All of the Bundesliga games will be shown on ESPN+ as the company recently inked a multi-year deal with the German league for exclusive rights to its games. They’ll be shown both live and on demand so you can catch your favorite German teams anytime on the streaming service.