Digital Football Journalist
Bundesliga return: Which club should you follow based on your Premier League team?
From Liverpool or Manchester United to Leverkusen or Mainz, which Bundesliga side should you be following based on your Premier League club?
Last Updated: 25/05/20 5:21pm
Do you know your Fahrstuhlmannschafts from your Stadtrivalen? Well if you're a Premier League fan at a loss for who to support when the Bundesliga comes back this weekend, we've got the perfect guide for who you should support. All you've got to do is buy the shirt and learn the chants!
The Premier League won't be back until at least June following government announcements this week, so if you're looking for a Bundesliga side to relate to and follow, here's our guide to what could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
1. Bayern Munich... For fans of Manchester City
Some comparisons come easier than others, and while Bayern would have been a perfect parallel for Manchester United in years gone by, times have changed. After winning the Bundesliga on the final day of last season and looking unstoppable generally in recent years with the most star-studded line-up of any team in the division, Bayern have a lot of Manchester City about them these days.
Unlike Pep Guardiola's side, they are again leading the table this year thanks to the resurgence they've enjoyed in recent months under Hans Flick, but before the dismissal of Niko Kovac back in November, their season was faltering even more than City's. They've also got a man leading the line who's done it in the Bundesliga for a long time in Robert Lewandowski, and though he's a lot taller and a little less nippy than Sergio Aguero, they're both easily inside the elite bracket.
2. Borussia Dortmund... For fans of Liverpool
Yeah, yeah, Liverpool-Dortmund, the Klopp factor. The connection between these two sides runs a lot deeper than that though. Last season BVB were chasing a first league title in a good few years, but were denied on the last day of the campaign having led into the new year. Sound familiar? They've got a young English talent making waves on the right flank too, if you've heard of him...
First weekend fixtures
- Sat, 2.30pm: Dortmund vs Schalke - follow live on skysports.com
- Sat, 2.30pm: Augsburg vs Wolfsburg
- Sat, 2.30pm: Dusseldorf vs Paderborn
- Sat, 2.30pm: Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin
- Sat, 2.30pm: RB Leipzig vs Freiburg
- Sat, 5.30pm: Frankfurt vs M'gladbach
- Sun, 2.30pm: Cologne vs Mainz
- Sun, 5pm: Union Berlin vs Bayern - follow live on skysports.com
- Mon, 7.30pm: Werder vs Bayer Leverkusen - follow live on skysports.com
Near misses and hopes of getting back to the top are feelings Liverpool and Dortmund fans can share in abundance - albeit the Reds look a lot more likely to manage that than their German counterparts in this campaign. Liverpool fans now accustomed to watching the goals fly in at Anfield won't have to worry either. Lucien Favre's side have got you covered, with the net bulging 68 times in 25 games so far - mostly in front of the Westfalenstadion's Yellow Wall, which dwarfs even Anfield's famous Kop.
Liverpool's next scheduled league game will see them take on city-rivals Everton, while Dortmund's return pits them in their 'Stadtrivale' (local derby) with Schalke 04 - and if that isn't a sign, I don't know what is.
3. RB Leipzig... For fans of Leicester
A plucky, young, fancied up-and-coming manager who only arrived last year, a pacey striker up top and hopes of establishing themselves in the Champions League qualification spots long-term, and a team who haven't enjoyed much time at the top of the game until recently (albeit in rather different circumstances).
There's plenty of notes Leicester and RB Leipzig could share, although domestically the Foxes are looked upon a little kinder than Die Roten Bullen. But we don't think Timo Werner would mind being compared with Jamie Vardy too much given both players' proficiency in front of goal, and Ralph Nagelsmann's style of play isn't too far removed from Brendan Rodgers' either.
4. Borussia Monchengladbach... For fans of Wolves
Having reached the Europa League qualifying positions last season, Borussia Monchengladbach are now proving lightning can strike twice and pushing for a top-four finish - not unlike Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves in the Premier League.
The pace and trickery in the shape of Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram in attack can draw comparisons with that of Diogo Jota and Adama Traore with Thuram, in particular, bursting onto the scene since his summer move from Guingamp nearly as spectacularly as Traore has this season at Molineux.
Monchengladbach are five-time Bundesliga champions but their top-four challenge is more impressive given they haven't lifted the trophy since 1977 - and even that's 18 years more recent than Wolves' last top division triumph.
5. Bayer Leverkusen... For fans of Manchester United
After a couple of years in the wilderness, Bayer Leverkusen are looking to get back among the league's best teams under Peter Bosz, who guided them to a Champions League return last season thanks to a great second half of the season.
Leverkusen don't have quite the same trophy cabinet as Manchester United but much like at Old Trafford, it feels an awful long time ago now since their best days, when reaching the Champions League final and twice taking home runners-up medals in the equivalent of the German FA Cup.
More similar to life in Manchester has been their climb up the table in recent months after a poor start to the campaign, and so too the raw pace of Moussa Diaby and Karim Bellarabi out wide. There's some sort of parallel to be drawn with the sensational form of attacking midfielder Kai Havertz and a January arrival in a similar role for United too...
6. Schalke 04... For fans of Arsenal
David Wagner, yes, that David Wagner, has walked through the doors in Gelsenkirchen and brought the pride back to a team going only one way at the Veltins-Arena. He's put them back in with an outside shot of European qualification, for a club used to challenging at the top rather than scrambling to qualify for Europe, as the Gunners are this side of the Channel.
Their resurgence pre-dates Arsenal's under new boss Mikel Arteta by several months as Wagner has been in charge since last July, but both have had similarly positive impacts. Schalke are making the most of young midfielder Suat Serdar's talents to help with that endeavour, if Arsenal fans are missing having an emerging Bukayo Saka to get excited about during the lockdown.
7. Wolfsburg... For fans of Everton
Wolfsburg are teetering on the edge of European football with a new man at the helm in the shape of Oliver Glasner, who arrived from LASK last summer.
On the back of an up-and-down couple of years for Die Wolfe, Glasner has stabilised things at the Volkswagen Arena and got the club hopeful of another season in the Europa League, something they share with the Toffees on the back of their own improvement under Carlo Ancelotti.
8. Freiburg... For fans of Burnley
Burnley have been proud of their achievements on a limited budget and rightly so, with Sean Dyche's wonderfully well-drilled style of play showing it's not what you've got but what you do with it. Things are pretty similar at Freiburg, who are now in their fourth straight season in the Bundesliga.
They finished 13th last season as they continued to defy the critics despite a minor drop from an 11th-placed finish the season before, and now are pushing for an outside shot of Europe - it'll be a home from home for the Clarets. Just swap the Pennines for the Black Forest.
9. Hoffenheim... For fans of Crystal Palace
As a consistently inconsistent team with a good record against the big clubs, Hoffenheim will be an easy transition for Crystal Palace fans on the back of the Eagles' typically streaky form and penchant for springing surprises.
Under new head coach Alfred Schreuder, Hoffenheim have beaten Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen this season, but a lack of consistency, and the absence of a consistent goalscorer - which may prove nostalgic to Palace fans - has halted their charge in the Bundesliga.
10. Cologne... For fans of Newcastle
It wasn't long ago Cologne were finishing just outside the Champions League places before being relegated with a whimper not too long after, something Newcastle fans will remember only too well.
Now back in the big time, a dreadful start to the season has been put behind Cologne thanks to a run of form spurred on by a surprise 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen back in December. Swap Leverkusen with Manchester United and Newcastle fans are almost there.
11. Union Berlin... For fans of Sheffield United
Union Berlin's recent top-flight experience is even rarer than Sheffield United's - this is their first in history, in fact - and in winning promotion from 2. Bundesliga last season, their rock-solid defence shipped only 33 goals, the best in the entire division.
Know your German football lingo...
- Mit breiter Brust - 'with a big chest', confidently
- Stadtrivale - 'city rivals', but also in the local area
- Traditionszerein - a club steeped in history
- Sahnetag - a perfect performance
- Rote Laterne - 'cellar dwellars', bottom-half sides
- Meisterschale - the Bundesliga trophy
- Joker - a substitute who comes on and scores
- Ehrentreffer - 'honour goal', a consolation strike
They got into their stride early on in the season with a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund, perhaps reminiscent of the Blades' hard-fought Arsenal victory in October, and in following Union, Blades fans can get back to revelling in shaking off pre-season tags of relegation favourites, albeit with a more German feel and much less Henderson's Relish.
12. Frankfurt... For fans of Tottenham
Much like Spurs, Frankfurt enjoyed a European dream beyond their wildest expectations in 2018/19. Much like Spurs, they're enduring somewhat of a hangover - and much like Spurs, it's down to a lack of firepower.
Spurs may have lost Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son to injury this season, but Frankfurt's striking issues have been even more pressing after losing Luka Jovic and Sebastian Haller to permanent transfers away from the club, and a poor run of form after a spurt around the turn of the year, not unlike Tottenham, has left a return to European football looking a tough ask.
13. Hertha Berlin... For fans of Watford
Hertha have been back in the big time for roughly the same time as Watford, and any Hornets fans will be able to relate only too well with the way Die Alte Dame trailed off last season before a dreadful start to 2019/20.
Just as at Vicarage Road, the Olympiastadion has been a bit of a madhouse this season. Boss Ante Covic was given the chop in November and replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann, who announced via Facebook, no less, that he was standing down only 10 weeks later back in February. It makes Quique Sanchez Flores' 85-day return look positively normal.
14. Augsburg... For fans of Southampton
Southampton have been getting used to flirting with relegation in recent years and that's something Augsburg fans know only too well, finishing well inside the bottom half in each of the last four seasons.
They're there again now too, and in a manner reassuringly familiar to Saints supporters - a dreadful start, a sudden change in fortunes and some ropey form since.
And in the same vain as the impressive Danny Ings at St Mary's this season, Augsburg have their ready-made replacement in the shape of Florian Niederlechner, who is enjoying his most profitable Bundesliga season to date at the age of 29. It will probably cost a fair bit more to get his name on the back of a shirt, though.
15. Mainz... For fans of West Ham
Mainz have even taken one of West Ham's players across to Germany this season, with Edmilson Fernandes slotting into midfield after spending last season on loan from the Olympic Stadium with Fiorentina.
But the similarities run a lot deeper than that, let me tell you. Both sides have had a big season of upheaval personnel-wise, with Mainz even beating West Ham's eight new arrivals with 11 of their own.
On the pitch, it hasn't really gone to plan for either side, with Mainz only four points ahead of the relegation play-off place - so any West Ham fan feeling underwhelmed with how things have gone this season will feel right at home.
16. Dusseldorf... For fans of Bournemouth
Bournemouth's primary aim of Premier League survival as a minimum is very much matched by Dusseldorf, who are only in their second year back in the Bundesliga for the first time since the 1980s.
Joy has been in short supply as Dusseldorf look to keep their heads above water but there has been some respite between the sticks in the shape of Manchester City loanee Zack Steffen, who could do worse than be compared to an American Aaron Ramsdale after the Cherries stopper was named the club's player of the season in a Sky Sports poll last month.
17. Werder Bremen... For fans of Aston Villa
It wasn't too long ago Werder Bremen were up at the right end of the table, and while they haven't suffered the ignominy of relegation, those days still feel just as far away for Die Werderaner as for Villa fans.
Since a second-placed finish in 2010 Bremen have reached the top half only three times, and despite boasting a relatively talented squad on paper, they're back fighting for their lives this season after some rare positivity in 2018/19. It will all be depressingly reminiscent for the Villans.
18. Paderborn... For fans of Norwich
This is Paderborn's first season back in the Bundesliga, and it looks like they'll be going straight back where they came from with time running out to mount a stunning escape from relegation.
But, like their Norfolk counterparts, they've provided plenty of thrills along the way courtesy of their entertaining front three of Kai Proger, Streli Mamba and Abdelhamid Sabiri.
If Norwich fans thought they'd had a bit of a yo-yo few years, spare a thought for the blood pressure of those in the stands at the Benteler-Arena, who have witnessed a promotion or relegation in five of the last six seasons, quite rightly earning them the title of Germany's Fahrstuhlmannschaft, which of course translates as 'elevator side'.