The Bundesliga returns this weekend and for those who hope to learn more about one of the most interesting divisions in the world of soccer, SI's Luis Miguel Echegaray breaks down the three things you need to know to follow Germany's top soccer league.
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Luis Miguel Echegaray: The Bundesliga, Germany's top soccer league returns this weekend, and we want to make sure the nontraditional soccer fan learns a few things about one of the most interesting divisions in world football. Unlike the Premier League or La Liga's 20 clubs setup, the Bundesliga has 18 teams in a 34 game schedule, no playoffs. This is a race for the title, a prize for European qualification or avoiding relegation.
While the giant Bayern Munich continues to dominate, having won the last seven titles, this season has proved to be a closer race as only eight points separate first and fifth. Essentially, this is a competitive league where even the bottom clubs offer a respectable fight. The Bundesliga is known for quality, detailed coaching that produces tremendous players and is one of the best youth development systems in the world. That influences young German talent. So it's no surprise why Germany's national team has won four World Cups and made it to the finals eight times.
But the league also nurtures young players from all over the world. So when you watch certain teams, make sure you pay attention to their young international stars because one day you might see them at the World Cup.
Staying with developing talent, the Bundesliga is very, very important for the U.S. men's national team as it plays a central role in improving male American talent. For years, the league has built a strong relationship with American players from star man Christian Pulisic, the versatile Tyler Adams or the up and comer Giovanni Reyna. Americans and the German League have built a solid foundation.