Sport is more than a culture in Germany. It is almost a lifestyle. In fact, Germans are generally very excited about sports events, be it football, handball, basket-ball, ice hockey, etc. Many major sporting events are regularly held in most German cities. Hence, sports fans traveling to Germany will simply be delighted. You can not only attend matches and other competitions and watch these on TV but also practice your favorite sports if you wish.
Germany has large, modern sports infrastructure. You can find sports clubs and gyms almost everywhere in urban and regional areas across the country.
Good to know:
Germany currently has more than 90,000 registered sports clubs (Sportvereine) of which 25,000 are football clubs with around 160,000 teams.
Football is the Germans' favorite sport and the country is one of the world's biggest football nations. The National Mannschaft, which is the German national team, won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The Bundesliga which is the coutnry's first division football league, is led by Bayern Munich. While the German national team also takes part in the UEFA European Championship, club teams participate in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
Good to know:
The women's football World Cup was held in Germany in 2011, and in 2015 the German team came fourth.
Handball was first played in Germany and Scandinavia and remains popular. In fact, it is one of the country's major team sports and is practiced in most regions. The German national team has won the World Handball Championship more than once.
Basketball is another popular sport in Germany that is closely followed by enthusiasts. In addition, the country participates regularly in the NBA, the European Championship and World Championship basketball.
Ice hockey is another famous sport in the country. German Ice Hockey is divided into several leagues, among which the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) consists of 14 big teams.
Germany has become very famous in the worldwide car racing field thanks to Michael Schumacher. It is also deemed to be among the best in terms of racing, especially due to the fact that the country is among the world's leading sports car manufacturers. Sebastian Vettel became the youngest car-racing driver to win the Formula 1 World championship in 2010.
Most practised sports
When it comes to which sports the Germans actually practice (rather than watch on TV), you will get a very different picture:
Cylcing is considered both as a sport and a hobby. Cycle tracks are very well developed and many Germans even cycle to work. Hence, you can buy or rent a bike to wander around the city or in the countryside. Swimming and hiking are quite popular, as are fitness studios.
Jogging and Nordic walking are followed by winter sports such as skiing and ice-skating. In fact you are likely to find ice rinks, which are open throughout the year.
Team sports like volleyball, basketball and handball are widely practised, as well as tennis, badminton and squash. Watch out for the local Volkshochschule (adult education centre), which also publishes regional sports club activities.
Water sports such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing are pretty popular in the coastal regions and inland lakes such as Lake Constance where you can register with water sports schools.
Good to know:
Another popular activity that has come up over the past few years is Geocaching – to some Germans it’s a sport and a great way to discover a new place!