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Historical Ranking: GERMANY

A historical ranking of football clubs competing in Germany.

[Updated to: end of 2012-2013 season]

Rank Club Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Bayern München
Borussia Dortmund
Dynamo Dresden
Werder Bremen
Borussia Monchengladbach
Hamburger SV
VfB Stuttgart
1. FC Köln
1. FC Kaiserslautern
FC Schalke 04
Eintracht Frankfurt
1. FC Nürnberg
Erzgebirge Aue
Hansa Rostock
Hallescher FC
Rot-Weiß Erfurt
Hannover 96
Bayer Leverkusen
521
217
189
188
187
183
167
153
151
145
141
124
122
119
101
98
96
87
Rank Second Tier Clubs Points
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
Hertha Berlin
VfL Bochum
Karlsruher SC
Chemnitzer FC
Fortuna Düsseldorf
MSV Duisburg
1860 München
Eintracht Braunschweig
Energie Cottbus
Arminia Bielefeld
1. FC Union Berlin
SC Freiburg
VfL Wolfsburg
FC St. Pauli
1. FSV Mainz 05
1.FC Saarbrücken
Stuttgarter Kickers
Greuther Fürth
86
86
83
82
76
74
70
66
65
55
54
54
47
37
31
31
24
21
Rank Third Tier Clubs Points
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
SV Darmstadt 98
VfL Osnabrück
SpVgg Unterhaching
1899 Hoffenheim
FC Augsburg
FSV Frankfurt
SC Paderborn 07
Wacker Burghausen
FC Ingolstadt 04
SC Preußen Münster
SV Wehen Wiesbaden
SSV Jahn Regensburg
SV Sandhausen
VfR Aalen
1. FC Heidenheim 1846
Borussia Dortmund II
Holstein Kiel
RB Leipzig
SV Elversberg
VfB Stuttgart II
21
19
16
11
10
8
7
5
4
4
3
2
2
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
Rank Non-league & Defunct Clubs with 10+ Points
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
Berliner FC Dynamo
Frankfurter FC Viktoria ’91
1. FC Magdeburg
FC Carl Zeiss Jena
FSV Zwickau
Lokomotiv Leipzig
BSG Chemie Leipzig
Rot-Weiss-Essen
Bayer 05 Uerdingen
Kickers Offenbach
Alemannia Aachen
Dresdner SC
Stahl Riesa
SV Waldhof Mannheim
1.FC Lok Stendal
Rot-Weiß Oberhausen
SC Fortuna Köln
SG Wattenscheid 09
SV Babelsberg 03
FC Homburg/Saar
SV Dessau 05
Tennis Borussia Berlin
Stahl Brandenburg
SV Stahl Thale
1. SV Gera
Borussia Neunkirchen
FC Weißenfels
SV Meppen
Wuppertaler SV Borussia
Meeraner SV
VfR Mannheim
189
144
142
131
114
100
94
51
44
38
33
32
32
31
30
27
24
22
21
17
16
16
15
14
12
12
12
11
11
10
10

Click here to discuss this ranking on our forum


The ABOUT A BALL Ranking is a progressive points scoring system devised by our statisticians to grade each league club according to their historical achievements since the beginning of organised football in that country. We felt such a ranking was necessary in order to help settle age old debates about which is the biggest/best club in each country and which ones historically merit a top division place. Of course, there are only a limited number of places available in the top division of any given country, so who really are the sleeping giants in the lower divisions and which clubs are currently flying well above their historical status?

NOTES: The ranking shows the 56 teams currently competing in the top three levels of German football. They have been split into three tiers according to their scores to show which division their historical record would place them in. A further 83 clubs have registered points under the system since the Second World War but have either folded or dropped out of the top divisions. The bottom section of the table shows all those clubs with ten or more points.

Due to the particularities of German history it proved much harder to come up with a reasonable ranking system for Germany than for any other country. Although German football dates back to the dawn of the 20th century and beyond, we decided to limit the ranking to post-war competitions because of the number of changes and irregularities before this time. For example, there was never a single national championship before the war, only regional groups who played off for the title. As the German empire expanded in the 1930′s and ’40′s the championship and the cup included (and were often won by) Austrian, Czech and French teams e.g. First Vienna FC, Rapid Wien. When football resumed after the war, Germany was split into two countries, the BRD in the west and the DDR in the east with separate leagues and cups. These were reunited in 1990 and a unified league began in the 1991/92 season. We decided to treat points gained from East and West German football equally, just as East German Marks were converted to Deutsch Marks at reunification.

Immediately after the war, West German football continued on a regional basis with the regional Oberliga winners entering playoffs for the overall champion until 1963. The Bundesliga began in the 1963/64 season, and has continued as a single, national top division ever since. A new second level was created at the same time first time, although this took the form of five regional groups with playoffs for two promotion places. For the 1974/75 season this became two groups and in 1981 a national second division was created. This has remained unchanged except for the 1991/92 season when it was briefly regional to accommodate the inclusion of eastern clubs. The third level has always been regional and has changed frequently. In 2000/01 it was streamlined to just Nord and Sud groups above a fourth level of ten parallel divisions. The West German cup resumed after the war in the 1952/53 season.

The East German league was much simpler to follow as it changed little between post-war resumption in 1949/50 and reunification at the end of 1990/91. There was always a single top division with between two and five regional divisions below it. The cup also ran from 1949/50 – 1990/91. There have been numerous name changes in German football, particularly regarding teams from the former East Germany. I have done my best to take all of these into account although the history of many clubs has become a bit murky due to the number of mergers, splits and reformations.

How it works

Points awarded as follows:

Champions Cup Win +15
Other European Trophy Win +10
League Championship +10
FA Cup Win +6
League Cup Win +3
Second Level Division Win +3
Lower Division Win +1
Season in top division +2
Season in 2nd division +1
Bonuses: Super Cup; Club Cup; Double +1

NOTES SPECIFIC TO GERMANY: The league cup has not been included. (It is a small summer competition involving only 8 clubs). West German second level winners have been awarded points from 1963/64 onwards. Where there were two (regional) winners, both have been awarded points. Points have not been awarded for East German second level wins as it was never a national division. (I felt the regional divisions in East Germany were too weak to merit 3 points for the winners). Points for lower division wins have been awarded from 1994 onwards. Points for seasons in the top division were awarded from 1949/50-1990/91 in East Germany and from 1963/64 onwards (Bundesliga era) in West Germany / unified Germany. Seasons in the second division have scored points from 1981/82 onwards in West (& unified) Germany but were never credited for the regional DDR divisions.

Criticisms and Improvements

There is no account taken of when the points were scored, so a team could have scored most of their points a long time ago but still be ranked high up today. Also, teams who have been in the league longer will have had the possibility to accrue more points than newer clubs so a team who have experienced a recent period of success may be below a team who have underachieved consistently over time. Our system only takes account of on the pitch successes and not off the pitch factors such as attendance and annual budget which could indicate a big club. The About a Ball system could be improved (and also complicated) by including points for average attendances and annual budget/profit, dividing points totals by the number of years clubs have been in the league, or by giving less weight to points scored a long time ago. However, we feel that the passage of time should not be taken into account because staying power and longevity are indicators of a great club. Equally, small clubs enjoying a current period of success are not guaranteed to remain big. All in all, we are satisfied that the ranking shows the relative playing merits of the current league clubs based on historical success, and identifies clubs currently under or over achieving.

Conclusions

It’s no surprise to see Bayern topping the table – five European Cup triumphs and several more championships than anyone else put them well ahead of the rest. The fact that the points only date from 1945 mean that scores are lower than for other countries, and large gaps have not had time to develop among the field. The fact that Germany was previously two countries accounts for the high number of clubs that have scored points although almost half of those are still in single figures. Many teams have appeared fleetingly in the top flight only to drop back into obscurity.

Over half (eleven) of the current top division clubs are in the historical top division. The other seven would all normally be competing at the second level apart from Hoffenheim, whose meteoric rise in recent seasons has seen them climb well above their historic status and FC Augsburg. They are by far the smallest club currently in the top division. Of the seven clubs in the top division of our ranking but not currently in the 1. Bundesliga, five are competing in the second division (Dynamo Dresden, Hansa Rostock, Erzgebirge Aue, Eintracht Frankfurt and VFL Bochum) whilst Carl Zeiss Jena,  and Rot-Weiss Erfurt are in the third division. Several of these clubs hail from the former East Germany (DDR) and have struggled economically since reunification but gradually some of the former DDR clubs are creeping back up through the divisions.

The non-league and defunct clubs table makes for interesting reading. Berliner FC Dynamo (Dynamo Berlin) would be in third place overall, were they still a league club. However, their record is the most contrived of all the former DDR clubs and is almost entirely down to their ‘government aided’ ten championships in a row from 1979 to 1988. Eight of the next nine places are also occupied by former DDR clubs whose records would place them in the top two divisions.

It is strictly forbidden to copy or reproduce these tables without permission. Any breach of copyright may lead to prosecution. The tables will be updated annually and any feedback on the results/corrections to data is welcome.

aboutaball.com 2013

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