This graphic runs through the national champions of German football. Each season is linked back to the time its champion last won the title by an arc. The arcs are all semi-circular so they are wider when the a club’s wait for a title was longer. First time champions have a straight line stretching to infinity. As such, this visualisation highlights and celebrates variety in the history of the title winners, something that is often sadly absent from league football. I have previously done the same for England, Scotland, Spain and Portugal. I’ll combine the graphics for a side by side comparison after I’ve added a few more leagues to the collection.
Until 1963, the national championship was a brief competition contested by regional champions which was played in, and here named after, a single year. The last of these was the 1963 tournament won by Dortmund. After the formation of the Bundesliga, the competition was a more traditional autumn to spring league. The first of these was the 1963-64 tournament won by Köln.
- Germany has had many different champions. Clubs were crowned for the first time on a regular basis over the first seven decades but almost never in the following four. Wolfsburg, 2008-09 champions, are the only new winners since Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1969-70.
- Since regaining the title in 1979-80, Bayern Munich have never gone more than three seasons without winning it or more than three seasons without losing it.
- Bayern aside, the only clear periods of dominance by a single team are Nuremburg in the ’20s and Schalke in the ’30s and ’40s.
- The longest drought between a club’s titles was the 37 seasons between Kaiserslautern’s wins in 1953 and 1990-91.
- The mid ’80s to mid ’90s was a good time for the nostalgic with Stuttgart, Bremen, Kaiserslautern and Dortmund all overcoming relatively long waits.