Soccer. As we all know, truly football, is the "world's game." It's an amazing sport filled with flopping, diving, drama and approximate time keeping and adjusting. It's also a giant, epic non-stop action experience where the fans and team often integrate themselves in a way that few other sports can - by embracing their uniqueness regionally, nationally and then exporting it globally. Teams like Athletic Bilbao in Spain, who insist on fielding a squad of players only from their home Basque region. Teams like the mighty Bayern Munich, a mix of international, national and local superstars, projecting their brand globally while still taking time to enjoy Oktoberfest, the entire team dawning traditional lederhosen and steins of Bavarian beer.
I love soccer. I've loved it for several decades. Not more than a few weeks ago, I wrote about the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich. The iconic midfielder was instrumental in the return to dominance for both club and country. And now he is gone. But Bayern Munich remains.
Bayern plays in the German top division, the Bundesliga. I've followed the club since, by accident, selecting them as my team to follow when I was not yet a teenager on a visit to Germany to see my aunt and grandmother in the 1990s.
Here is what you need to know about the Bundesliga: it is the best league in the world. The league has the highest average attendance, highest goals per game average, the most parity (with the exception of Bayern, of course) of any major league in Europe. And, perhaps the most stable economic model of any major soccer league in the entire world. Their model of limiting corporate "sponsorship" and strict penalties for teams that fail to maintain balanced books is the kind of thing that could bring a much better and probably much more ethical product to the Spanish and English leagues - I happen to think there is no saving the French or Italian leagues (BIAS!).
So, why is this post here? Are you even still reading? Long before I started Life As A Dagger, I was writing a great deal about Bayern Munich on a Wordpress blog. I love the team and I love to discuss them in an open forum with, hopefully, fellow soccer fans. This coming season, I intend to resume writing about Bayern regularly. Part of the reason it stopped was that there was no reliable, quality service providing match feeds in the United States. Now, I will have, for a fee, access to all Bundesliga matches via Fox Sports 2 Go.
My hope is that fans of soccer and Bayern and Germany and the Bundesliga can be formed, grow and share our enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Besides, there are many sites dedicated to both Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga, some of which I have tried to join as staff, and most of them are doing a very poor job. There will be bias here, but hopefully a bit less. There will be Bayern here.
If you're still reading this, TODAY is the first match of the 2015-16 season. It features my beloved Bayern Munich playing against Hamburg SV. To kick off the partnership of Fox Sports and the Bundesliga for their broadcasting deal, the first match of the season (today) will be broadcast for free on YouTube. Here is the link for today's match.
If you want to join me on this journey, or do something dumb like cheer for another team in Germany, there are some good resources out there. Again, some are quality, some are just embarrassing. Here are a couple of great resources to help you out:
Bundesligarama: Pierson is a great source of good content on all things Bayern. Former editor/site manager over at SB Nation, now maintaining this website as well as writing for...
Bayern Central: I follow this site more loosely, mostly just follow their Twitter and look for relevant bits here and there. They do feature some of the more known Bayern writers who have plied their trade with ESPN FC and SB Nation among others.
Bundesliga Fanatic: This site, and definitely the podcast, are probably the best I've found for German football. They do a pretty good job of going in-depth and really hitting all of the teams at all positions in the league table. I missed their podcasts this summer and was quite pleased that they have uploaded their nearly two-hour season preview finally!
Bavarian Football Works: SB Nation blog, great a generating content and pretty good at staying on top of rumors and news. I stay out of the fan section "discussions," but checking their main page for information is helpful.
by Daniel Coughlin (@xvanwilderx)