So you’ve seen the news, the Bundesliga is set to resume this month with matches played behind closed doors.
Though we’ve seen flickers of light in places like Belarus and Nicaragua, the return of top-flight German football is a watershed moment and a genuine opportunity for fans to get their football fix.
However, many of us have never committed to a German team. You see Sancho pop up on your timeline every so often, and you know that Serge Gnarby is actually really, really good now, but other than that you'd struggle to tell your Paderborns from your Düsseldorfs.
Have no fear, I’m hear to help you pick a Bundesliga team based on the only criteria that really matters: their shirts.
You like clean kits where the crest is the star of the show. The Augsburg crest is easily one of the best in Germany, with all the elements you love to see including a dash of heraldry, a striking typeface and a charming tree which seems to have been planted in an elaborate gold vase.
You like kits with animals on them. This season, Hertha Berlin released an amazing special edition shirt which referenced an old kit with a retro, football-playing, crown-wearing bear across the front. Sadly the home and away kits don’t have the bear, but they are sponsored by “TEDi” so that counts, right?
You like Macron kits. Macron have quietly been producing some superb designs over recent years, but sadly they only manufacture one team’s kits in the Bundesliga. Union are flying the flag in a big way though, and I have to nod to the crest too which rivals Augsburg as the best in the league.
n.b. Union have signed a deal with adidas who'll produce their kits from next season. It's a move that sees them go from strength to strength in many ways!
You like shirts with consistently great colour schemes. Bremen are one of those teams who always stand out on the basis of their shirt colour, and this season is no exception. Yes, they’re probably going to get relegated this season, but they’ll do so in style. Bonus points for a fantastic back catalogue of kits which includes some audacious green and orange numbers.
You like teams who wear European kits. Dortmund are perhaps the most famous example of a team who releases a variation of their home shirt for use in European/cup competitions. It’s a trend that dates back to the 90s, and as someone who loves shirts I always enjoy seeing how they tweak things year-on-year.
I don’t need to tell you either that they wore an incredible array of Nike shirts in the 90s. My favourite shirt of all time is a Dortmund kit (1994 home), and on that basis alone they deserve your attention.
You like band t-shirts. Back in October, Fortuna released one of my favourite special editions kits of the year that featured the logo of cult Germany band “Die Toten Hosen”. They wore it in a match and it looked incredible.
Düsseldorf are also the best choice if you’re a St Pauli fan looking for a second team to appreciate in the top flight, for obvious reasons.
You like teams that enjoy a good black kit. Frankfurt have historically worn red and black stripes, but since Nike took over in 2014 they’ve brought out their fair share of predominantly black shirts to great effect. This year’s effort features a beautiful red and white striped pattern on a black base, and the 2018 home wasn’t a million miles away from a blackout kit.
You like hummel kits. I’m a huge hummel fanboy, and I’d go as far to say they are my favourite kit manufacturer of all time. As a brand they’re quite selective with their teams, and they’ve chosen an absolute gem in Freiburg who are one of the most charming in Germany, not least because they play their football on the edge of the Black Forest (and had a kit that referenced such in 2018).
You like Pro Evo. Tell me that the Hoffenheim crest is not one of the most generic, Pro Evo-esque badges you’ve ever seen? I’m probably being a bit harsh, as the team have actually had some interesting kits over the years to go alongside their vanilla crest. They’re also the only Bundesliga team with Joma kits, if that helps.
You’re all about ‘the brand’. The funny thing is, although RasenBallsportRed Bull Leipzig can be seen as little more than a marketing campaign masquerading as a football team, they’ve actually had some great kits. Their explicit use of the Red Bull logo, from a purely aesthetic point of view, actually adds a lot to their designs in my opinion.
You appreciate teams that keep their kits for more than one season. Remember when kits would last more than a season? Seems like a long time ago doesn’t it? Bayer Leverkusen however have been bucking the trend in recent years, retaining some if not all of their home, away and third kits for consecutive seasons. Pretty impressive, huh?
You love to party. Mainz are famous in the kit world for their “Fastnachtstrikots”, or carnival jerseys. They are A LOT of fun, and the ongoing theme is a key date in the kit release calendar that exists in my head.
You enjoy creative kit designs. This season, Mönchengladbach have one of the best sets of kits in Germany, with a smokey green and black home shirt and a third shirt which features a lovely repeated pattern that is right up my street. Many people lament the yellow Postbank sponsor but I actually don’t mind it, given that it’s been on their shirts for more than a decade now.
They also had a long partnership with Lotto in the 00s and 10s which produced some incredibly tasty pieces of kit.
You like adidas kits. It’s quite striking that adidas, the most German of brands, only works with one team in the Bundesliga at the moment. It’s very much a case of quality over quantity though, as Bayern so often posses the best adidas kits across all clubs andnations.
Of course, they also rival Dortmund for having the most iconic 90s kits of any team, period.
You root for the underdog. Paderborn are probably going to get relegated this year, and they’re going to do so in a kit made by lesser-known Germany manufacturer Sport-Saller, but football isn’t all about winning and glory.
You like kits with strong sleeves/cuffs. Schalke have a really strong set of kits this season, starting with the home which boasts a tasteful sleeve pattern (something which I always like seeing). They followed that with some of the best cuffs of the season in the away kit, and though it doesn’t strictly match this criteria their third kit is also great too.
You like Xbox. Over the past few seasons, Wolfsburg have doubled down on shirts which feature some sort of “X” across the front, and in 2019 the movement reached new heights with a design that reminds me very much of a certain gaming brand. It’s a beautiful shirt, especially with the new flattened VW logo in tow.
Follow us on Twitter and join in our daily shirt conversation. We’d love to know which Bundesliga team you’ll be following!
And if you want to nail your colours to the mast, browse our Bundesliga collection here.