Sports in Germany

Updated 2019-08-23 15:09

Sport is more than a hobby in Germany; it is a lifestyle. In fact, Germans are generally very excited about sports events, be it football, handball, basketball, ice hockey, etc. Many major sporting events are regularly held in most German cities. Hence, sports fans travelling to Germany will simply be delighted.

You can not only attend matches and other competitions and watch these on TV but you will also find many places and facilities to practise your favourite sports. The country continuously works on the sport spirit and conditions, so 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 in Germany

Football (or Fußball, as known in German) is the favourite sport of Germany, 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 country'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.

Locally cities admire football as it makes a great part of the identity. Some of the cities with excellent club identity are:

  • Hamburg (with the two major clubs Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV) and FC St. Pauli
  • Bremen, with its local club Werder Bremen
  • Berlin, with its club Hertha BSC, and FC Union Berlin
  • Dortmund, with Borrusia Dortmund, strong in the Bundesliga
  • Cologne, with its passionate club FC Köln
  • Munich, known for FC Bayern München, which has won the Bundesliga more than 25 times

 Good to know:

If yоu like to play football, you will very easily find a club. This is one of the best ways to keep fit and to find like-minded individuals. Germany has more than 87,000 clubs throughout the country available in all of its main cities.

Handball in Germany

Handball was first played in Germany and Scandinavia and remains popular. In fact, it is one of the country's dominant team sports and is practiced in most regions. The German national team has won the World Handball Championship more than once. Handball is good as it allows doing sports but without too much time spent on organising and registering teams beforehand. Every city has clubs with members, but you can also organise with friends. The groups meet once per week and can be organised for men, women and kids.

Basketball in Germany

Basketball is another popular sport in Germany that is closely followed by enthusiasts. Besides, the country participates regularly in the NBA, the European Championship and World Championship basketball. The Basketball Bundesliga (the easyCredit BBL) is the highest league in Germany. Also, there is the German Cup on which teams for the first and the second league and from the Regionalliga are allowed to participate.

Basketball is also played locally. Being a famous sport, you can easily find a club in your city to join and play. There are also many schools which offer lessons for younger children.

Ice hockey in Germany

Ice hockey is another popular sport in the country. It is mostly famous for the northern cities like Hamburg or Hanover, where there are many opportunities to watch a match. German Ice Hockey is divided into several leagues, among which the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) consisting of 14 big teams. The country also has courts for practising.

Car racing in Germany

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, mainly because 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 in Germany

When it comes to which sports the Germans actually practice (rather than watch on TV), you will get a very different picture:

Cycling is considered a sport, a hobby and a mean of transport. 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 is also popular, as are many pools which offer monthly subscriptions and possibilities to join a team.

Jogging and Nordic walking are followed by winter sports such as skiing and ice-skating. You are likely to find ice rinks, which are open throughout the year. Hiking is also quite famous, and there are many beautiful places to do it such, as The Black Forest, Harz in Lower Saxony, The Eifel (which also borders with Belgium), and in the Bavarian Alps.

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 like sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and paddle-boarding 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!

 Useful links:

Sport Club 321
Deutscher Fussball-Bund
Index of Clubs in Germany

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.