"Why German football?", many often ask. "Why football?", I answer. It is not even a difficult question to answer. The actual clarity of the inquiry often makes me sad. Why is the answer not clear to the others? Why don't they understand? Why don't they understand perhaps the most imperious thing about football; the passion? What is it about German football that is so unbelievably unappealing to some? It is a mystery good enough for Sherlock Holmes. It is a mystery I intend to solve.
Football: It is the life of many, some love it, some just don't get what the fuss is about, but most people in the world know what it is. Even if it's called football, Fußball, Fútbol or Soccer, with the latter sending shivers down my spine, you know exactly what it is and often what it represents. For some football fans, this sport is their lives. A great example is Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch where he describes his life changing relationship with Arsenal Football Club, a relationship I myself understand quite well. When your favourite team plays well and wins the weekend is great. When it's the other way around, the weekend is affected in the same way. This passion for football shown in Hornby's book presents not just the lives of many English fans, but the whole German fanbase. If you look for so called "plastic fans", Dame Fortune won't be kind to you in the Teutonic lands.
This passion for the sport, mixed together with some of the brightest ideas of modern football (gegenpressing, for example), makes a fantastic league. Add to that the excitement of watching your team play in front of stands of emphatic fans, all dressed in the colours of your team, shouting your club's name time after time, in rather friendly and positive chants. Every german team has its own chants, or Fangesänge, from 1. FC Köln's "Effzeh Kölle" to VFB Stuttgart's "VFB Hier im Stadion", always sung with immense passion and feeling which makes you melt, fall in love or perhaps both.
Furthermore, the teams themselves are healthy clubs with good financial statuses, often illuminated by a long history full of dramatic games and derbies. These, together with club legends, create a legacy that the fans can either look back to, remember or even relish in. The afore-mentioned fans are naturally a great part of very team in every tier of German football. From Bayern Münich to Wehen Wiesbaden, all teams are supported by fans: young or old ones, new or seasoned, all true and loyal to the club. The clubs are often full of nice gestures, shown when they tried to incorporate the refugees into the club through training camps and free tickets. In that way they showed loyalty and immense respect, not only towards their fans, but to the whole of mankind.
Forget not the players, the ones who make the actual football in Bundesliga what it is. The players who are indoctrinated to press high and counter attack. Every player from Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund to Dennis Grote of MSV Duisburg knows exactly how to "gegenpress" the opposition to win the ball and attempt to score in front of their ridiculous amount of fans. It is beautiful, it is quick and it is very effective. Compact and tight in the back and experimental and expressionistic in attack has come to epitomise the whole of Bundesliga, as well as the German national team itself. When the German teams play their quick, counter attacking football, it reminds us of a grand orchestra playing symphonies in a beautiful and well orchestrated way, symphonies which, for the opposition, end with Mozart's Requiem.
Let us not forget Germany, let us not forget 7-1 versus Brazil, let us not forget gegenpressing. Let us not forget Bundesliga, for it might just be the greatest league this world has ever seen. This site is hereby opened and will henceforth be known as "Fresh off the Gegenpress" and you, dear readers, are very welcome to come here, to read and learn about the lost teams, the forgotten goal, the under-appreciated manager or the unseen player. Welcome home!
Axel Falk. Co-Founder and Editor.