Finally, after weeks of no live sport, much to the relief of football fans all across the globe, the Bundesliga is back today. If you are an Indian football fan who will sit glued in front of the TV — honestly, my TV was lying ideal all through the lockdown and today is the first time I am going to turn it on — when Borussia Dortmund takes on FC Schalke 04 later today, without having a clue as to which club to support, this article is for you.
Football won’t be back in India till at least November, if you count out the Futsal championship that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is reportedly planning to kickstart the season with, once the pandemic is over. 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 affair.
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) May 16, 2020
Disclaimer: This is a piece of humour, meant to liven up your Bundesliga watching experience this weekend, and should not be taken seriously.
#1 Bayern Munich… For fans of ATK FC (or should I say ATK-Mohun Bagan?)
Some comparisons are easier to make than others. While East Bengal or Mohun Bagan could have been the Bayern Munich of Indian football in the past, times have changed. They won the Bundesliga on the final day of last season, look virtually unstoppable in recent years and boast the most star-studded line-up of any team in the country… Bayern does have a lot of ATK FC about them these days.
This season, as well, they are leading the pack, having made a resurgence after sacking their old coach and getting a new one.
Oh, and did I miss out on their A-League acquisition earlier in the summer in the form of ex-Wellington Phoenix midfielder Sarpreet Singh?
#2 Borussia Dortmund… For fans of Bengaluru FC
Last season, Dortmund were chasing their first league title, but were denied on the last matchday. Sound familiar to when Bengaluru attempted to take home the ISL title in their first season? Thought so.
They have a national hero — legend, in fact — who commands the respect of everyone, from fans to teammates, and — wait for it — wears the No. 11 shirt. Oh, and also, they have a young talent making waves down the right flank with his pace and silky feet. Need more?
Maybe, it’s time to sing, “Oh when the Yellows go marching in!”
#3 Hertha Berlin… For fans of East Bengal FC
A club formed more than a 100 years ago that used to be successful at one point but have not really won anything major in a long, long while — need I say more? Being a major Berlin side, Hertha had fans in the entirety of Berlin, but following the division of the city, an intense rivalry developed with Tennis Borussia Berlin. Sounds a bit like the start of East Bengal-Mohun Bagan rivalry following partition? Indeed.
Coming to more recent times, any Red and Golds fans will be able to relate only too well with the way Die Alte Dame trailed off last season after a promising start. Just as at East Bengal, Hertha has been a bit of a madhouse this season. There have been promises, most of which have not been met and the fans have been left frustrated for long.
#4 RB Leipzig… For fans of FC Goa
A club that believes in its philosophy; has a plucky, young, fancied up-and-coming manager who arrived a couple of seasons back, a classy striker up front and hopes of establishing themselves in Europe long-term, there’s plenty of notes RB Leipzig and FC Goa could share.
Although the Gaurs are looked upon a little kinder, I don’t think Ferran Corominas would mind being compared with Timo Werner too much given both players’ proficiency in front of goal.
#5 FC Schalke 04… For fans of Chennaiyin FC
A new manager walked through the doors in Gelsenkirchen and brought the pride back to a team going only one way at the Veltins-Arena, much like what Owen Coyle did at Chennaiyin FC.
The manager in question, David Wagner, put Schalke back in the race for European qualification. For a club used to challenging at the top rather than scrambling to qualify — Chennaiyin have won a couple of titles as well but this season, until January, no one thought they would make it to the playoffs — Schalke do have a lot in with the Marina Machans.
#6 Union Berlin… For fans of Kerala Blasters
There’s more similarities between Union Berlin and Kerala Blasters than what meets the common eye. Back in the day, with the fall of the Berlin wall and subsequent unification of the German leagues, Union suffered a series of financial hardships as the club struggled to stay afloat, much like the current scenario the Blasters are in.
Then, an astounding act of solidarity from Union supporters saw them start the ‘Bleed for Union’ campaign, where fans gave blood in order to raise funds for the club’s survival. With Manjapadda, being the active and vocal fan group they are, something like this cannot be ruled out in the immediate future.