What Bundesliga team should I support: Find a club with this primer

What Bundesliga team should I support
Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
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Must read preface: For close to a decade on several platforms — most recently this one — I’ve given prospective fans of the Premier League a guide to choose a team. So it seems natural to answer the question: What Bundesliga team should I support?

Look, in no way do I claim to give anything other than an opinionated overview that I believe to be a fair representation of clubs whose history far outlives even my fandom of the beautiful game. With the Bundesliga returning this weekend and holding the status as (my opinion) the second-most interesting top-to-bottom elite league in the world, I’m going to wade into similar waters.

[ MORE: Bundesliga standings ahead of return ]

By no means do I claim a massive breadth of knowledge on every top German club. In fact, I guarantee that Bundesliga diehards will find at least a handful of gripes in my comparisons (There’s only so long to write).

But people need to know what they are getting into, as I know personally of a fan or two now attached to insufferable clubs. ‘They’ had no idea that their love for a brown ale or clever nickname would lead to a lifetime of supporter misery.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Also, this is primarily an American site, and the Bundesliga has been welcoming to USMNT players and prospects for some time, so we’ll make those connections for you.

So without further ado, I submit to you my 2020 beginner’s guide to answering the question “What Bundesliga team should I support?” I know there are better routes to run in finding a club you love, but these are desperate times for live sports fans. Let us give you a head start.

It’s a great league. You’re gonna love it.

18. Paderborn — The up-and-down club

Top-flight titles: None
Formed: 1907
In top-flight since: First season back
American players: None, though Khiry Shelton was there until January.

PL comparison: Norwich City
Season so far: Looking likely to be one-and-done, a traditional yo-yo club who’s probably been a bit better than their standing.

17. Werder Bremen — The underachieving mainstays, with glory not too far in the rearview mirror.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: Four (2004)
Formed: 1899
In top-flight since: 1981-82
American players: Josh Sargent, formerly Aron Johannsson
PL comparison: West Ham United with titles– Underachieving and fiercely supported. 

Season so far: A tremendous amount of talent has produced a whole lot of nothing. Hanging their hat on a match-in-hand, this decade could not have ended soon enough for a team that won a lot for a long time.

What Bundesliga team should I support
Werder’s Sargent (l) with Marco Friedl (Photo by Carmen Jaspersen/picture alliance via Getty Images)

16. Fortuna Dusseldorf — One of the country’s oldest clubs, trying to continue rebound

Top-flight titles and most recent one: One (1933)
Formed: 1895
In top-flight since: 2018-19

American players: Alfredo Morales, Zack Steffen (on loan)
PL comparison: Southampton — a ride to the lower tiers and back up.

Season so far: Nine of their 27 goals have come in three matches, and they’ve only managed five points from those outings.

15. Mainz — Weathering a storm in a relatively sunny period of the club’s history

Top-flight titles and most recent one: Three (1978)
Formed: 1905
In top-flight since: 2009-10
American players: None, formerly Conor Casey

PL comparison: Bournemouth — Instantly competitive once promoted but in tough waters right now.
Season so far: Swedish striker Robin Quaison has scored enough and in big spots to keep the mainstays just above the bottom three.

14. Augsburg — Slipping after a surprise UEL season in 2015-16.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: None
Formed: 1907
In top-flight since: 2011-12
American players: None, formerly Michael Parkhurst

PL comparison: Burnley — Sometimes you wonder how they do it, but they find a way to remain.
Season so far: Won five of six in the middle of the season and that’s about the only thing keeping them kicking.

13. Hertha Berlin — Spending big and crossing fingers.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: Two (1931)
Formed: 1892
In top-flight since: 2013-14
American players: None, several former players inc. John Brooks

PL comparison: Aston Villa — Big city, big club, spending and trying to find its old mojo
Season so far: They’ve spent a lot, gone through a few coaches (one was Jurgen Klinsmann), and expected a lot more than 13th.

12. Eintracht Frankfurt — Well-supported and hoping to sustain success

Top-flight titles and most recent one: One (1959)
Formed: 1899
In top-flight since: 2012-13
American players: Timothy Chandler, formerly several others

PL comparison: Wolves — Productive academy, recent tastes of Europe, and hopeful of continuing their resurgence.
Season so far: Two losing streaks have sent them away from the reaches of European qualification. Still alive in the German Cup if it goes forward.

What Bundesliga team should I support
Timothy Chandler (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

11. Union Berlin — Progressive, driven, and back in the big time.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: None
Formed: 1966
In top-flight since: 2019-20
American players: None, formerly Bobby Wood.

PL comparison: Everton — Big city vibes with a focus on the community
Season so far: Great at home but wretched away from the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei.

10. Koln — Fun. Like a live goat type of fun.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: Three (1978)
Formed: 1948
In top-flight since: 2019-20
American players: None

PL comparison: Crystal Palace — A unique club with an unmistakable stadium experience, the fit misses the mark on past silverware but makes solid contract on the live mascot comparison. Goats and eagles are bit different though…
Season so far: A horrible first few months led to tremendous success with a 8W-3L run since mid-December. Capable of making a run to sixth if they can recapture the mojo.

9. Hoffenheim — Everyone’s enemy.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: None
Formed: 1899
In top-flight since: 2008-09
American players: None, formerly several including Danny Williams

PL comparison: Chelsea or Man City before the silverware.
Season so far: Two hot runs of form does not a good season make. Not resembling the team that gave Liverpool a hard time in the UCL a couple of years ago.

8. Freiburg — Rise and grind (and grind and grind).

Top-flight titles and most recent one: None
Formed: 1904
In top-flight since: 2016-17
American players: None, formerly a few including Danny Williams

PL comparison: Watford — On occasion they’ll delight, but the footing never feels too solid.
Season so far: Bang average. About as middle of the road and inconsistent as you’ll find.

7. Wolfsburg — A roller coaster ride with the highest peaks.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: One (2009)
Formed: 1945
In top-flight since: 1997-98
American players: John Brooks and several former players including Claudio Reyna

PL comparison: Leicester City — a surprise title in 2009 and roller coaster since
Season so far: Won just twice between November and the end of January, but still capable of making Europe.

What Bundesliga team should I support
John Brooks (Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images)

6. Schalke — Often on the precipice.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: Seven (1958)
Formed: 1904
In top-flight since: 1991-92
American players: Weston McKennie and plenty of former players

PL comparison: Chelsea — UCL regulars who’ve succeeded with several styles of play. Less league success though, but solid rivalries.
Season so far: There are questions about the club’s long-term prognosis in terms of their top talents, but David Wagner’s boys still have a chance to head back to Europe.

5. Bayer Leverkusen — Always the bridesmaids (or groomsmen. It’s 2020).

Top-flight titles and most recent one: None
Formed:
In top-flight since: 1979-80
American players: None, but several former including Landon Donovan and Frankie Hejduk

PL comparison: Tottenham Hotspur — A mainstay, but always on the precipice. Plus: One UCL runners-up season.
Season so far: As usual, entertaining and living near the top without sipping from the grail. A lot of top young players could leave soon, so is now the time?

4. Borussia Monchengladbach — Stylish, powerful, and a bit too “nearly.”

Top-flight titles and most recent one: Five (1977)
Formed: 1904
In top-flight since: 2008-09
American players: Fabian Johnson, and formerly Michael Bradley and others

PL comparison: Liverpool of 2018-19– Entertainers on the cusp of something more?
Season so far: Leaders for a while and boasting a very good squad that could still lay claim to the crown.

3. RB Leipzig — Like Hoffenheim. On steroids.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: None
Formed: 2009
In top-flight since: 2016-17
American players: Tyler Adams

PL comparison: Man City — Not perfect as City has a massive history, but the nouveau riche vibe is heavy in the German consciousness and the club is helped by its club relationships. A wealth-fueled rise from nothing to pure power.
Season so far: The title charge has stalled due a series of draws, but still very much alive with Timo Werner’s clock ticking.

2. Borussia Dortmund — Relatively successful monster hunters.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: Eight (2012)
Formed: 1909
In top-flight since: 1976-77
American players: Giovanni Reyna, formerly a few including Christian Pulisic and Jovan Kirovski

PL comparison: Arsenal — Stylish football but slip-ups in big spots as of late. Talent procurers and producers of the highest order
Season so far: The season pause came at a terrible time for red-hot Dortmund, who is riding Jadon Sancho to another title charge. Can they end Bayern’s long run?

1. Bayern Munich — Monsters.

Top-flight titles and most recent one: 29, including the last eight
Formed: 1900
In top-flight since: 1965-66
American players: None, formerly Landon Donovan and Julian Green

PL comparison: Manchester United — The best-known team in the league from a worldwide perspective, ruthless competitors who almost always spend.
Season so far: A slow start has kept the field of title chasers five-deep, but Hansi Flick’s side has spread its wings and will win again if it can navigate a tricky-enough fixture list with three of the four chasers left on the docket.

What Bundesliga team should I support
(Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

Brighton vs Tottenham: How to watch, live stream link, TV channel, team news

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Brighton vs Tottenham is an early-season test of credentials as the host Seagulls look to show their top-four quality is on the level of their third-place visitors at the Amex Stadium (watch live, 12:30pm ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Seagulls have given new manager Roberto De Zerbi a solid start in taking over for Graham Potter, who left for Chelsea.

STREAM LIVE BRIGHTON vs TOTTENHAM

Now they’ll look to show that the team has plenty in the tank for a long run in the European places, currently three points behind Spurs with a match-in-hand on the North Londoners.

Tottenham has looked solid but also knows it has to show the 10-man North London derby loss was a fluke.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Brighton vs Tottenham.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Brighton vs Tottenham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, Friday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Brighton’s been getting so much of its offense from Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard, the latter coming off a hat trick and in the upper end of the Premier League leaders in both goals and assists. Alexis Mac Allister has been solid in the midfield and at the penalty spot.

Spurs continue to use Harry Kane in the Starting XI time and time again, and the English center forward hasn’t worn down yet. A midweek scoreless draw in Germany against Eintracht Frankfurt will see Spurs show up to the party with more miles on their legs than the home team.


Brighton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Jakub Moder (knee), Enock Mwepu (illness)

Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Emerson (suspension), Dejan Kulusevski (thigh), Japhet Tanganga (knock), Lucas Moura (calf)

UEFA Europa League, Europa Conference League live! How to watch, updates, schedule

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The UEFA Europa League and Europa Conference League group stages are in full flow as Arsenal, Manchester United, and West Ham are all in action.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

In the Europa League group stage Arsenal have a lovely set of European cities to visit with PSV, Bodo/Glimt and FC Zurich their opponents, and are clear favorites to advance. United are also favored but have some long distances to travel as they play Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol from Transnistria and Cypriot side Omonia.

In the Conference League the Hammers have Anderlecht, FCSB (formerly known as Steaua Bucharest) and Silkeborg, as David Moyes’ side will be very happy with that draw.

[ LIVE: Conference League scores ]

The final of the Europa League will be played in Budapest, while the Conference League final will be in Prague.

Below are details on the Europa League and Conference League, including how to watch info, the group stage draw, dates and schedule.


UEFA Europa League, Conference League, schedule, dates, how to watch

Dates: Group stage to be played September to November
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+


Europa League group stage fixtures & results (all kick off times ET)

Matchday 3 – Thursday 6 October

Group A: Zurich vs PSV Eindhoven (12:45), Arsenal vs Bodo/Glimt (3:00)
Group B: Rennes vs Dynamo Kyiv, Fenerbahce vs AEK Larnaca (3:00)
Group C: HJK Helsinki vs Ludogorets (12:45), Roma vs Real Betis (3:00)
Group D: Malmo vs Union Berlin (12:45), Braga vs St Gilloise (3:00)
Group E: Sheriff vs Real Sociedad, Omonia vs Man United (12:45)
Group F: Sturm Graz vs Lazio (12:45), Midtjylland vs Feyenoord (3:00)
Group G: Freiburg vs Nantes, Olympiacos vs Qarabag (3:00)
Group H: Red Star Belgrade vs Ferencvaros, Monaco vs Trabzonspor (12:45)


Matchday 1 – Thursday 8 September

Group A: Zurich 1-2 Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven 1-1 Bodo/Glimt
Group B: AEK Larnaca 1-2 Rennes, Fenerbahce 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv
Group C: Ludogorets 2-1 Roma, HJK Helsinki 0-2 Real Betis
Group D: Malmo 2-0 Braga, Union Berlin 0-1 St Gilloise
Group E: Man United 0-1 Real Sociedad, Omonia 0-3 Sheriff
Group F: Lazio 4-2 Feyenoord, Sturm Graz 1-0 Midtjylland
Group G: Freiburg 2-1 Qarabag, Nantes 2-1 Olympiacos
Group H: Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Monaco, Ferencvaros 3-2 Trabzonspor

Matchday 2 – Thursday 15 September

Group A: Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven (postponed), Bodo/Glimt vs Zurich
Group B: Dynamo Kyiv 0-1 AEK Larnaca, Rennes 2-2 Fenerbahce
Group C: Real Betis 3-2 Ludogorets, Roma 3-0 HJK Helsinki
Group D: St Gilloise 3-2 Malmo, Braga 1-0 Union Berlin
Group E: Real Sociedad 2-1 Omonia, Sheriff 0-2 Man United
Group F: Midtjylland 5-1 Lazio, Feyenoord 6-0 Sturm Graz
Group G: Olympiacos 0-3 Freiburg, Qarabag 3-0 Nantes
Group H: Trabzonspor 2-1 Red Star Belgrade, Monaco 0-1 Ferencvaros

Matchday 3 – Thursday 6 October

Group A: Zurich vs PSV Eindhoven (12:45), Arsenal vs Bodo/Glimt (3:00)
Group B: Rennes vs Dynamo Kyiv, Fenerbahce vs AEK Larnaca (3:00)
Group C: HJK Helsinki vs Ludogorets (12:45), Roma vs Real Betis (3:00)
Group D: Malmo vs Union Berlin (12:45), Braga vs St Gilloise (3:00)
Group E: Sheriff vs Real Sociedad, Omonia vs Man United (12:45)
Group F: Sturm Graz vs Lazio (12:45), Midtjylland vs Feyenoord (3:00)
Group G: Freiburg vs Nantes, Olympiacos vs Qarabag (3:00)
Group H: Red Star Belgrade vs Ferencvaros, Monaco vs Trabzonspor (12:45)

Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 October

Group A: Bodo/Glimt vs Arsenal (12:45), PSV Eindhoven vs Zurich (3:00)
Group B: AEK Larnaca vs Fenerbahce, Dynamo Kyiv vs Rennes (12:45)
Group C: Real Betis vs Roma (12:45), Ludogorets vs HJK Helsinki (3:00)
Group D: St Gilloise vs Braga (12:45), Union Berlin vs Malmo (3:00)
Group E: Man United vs Omonia, Real Sociedad vs Sheriff (3:00)
Group F: Feyenoord vs Midtjylland (12:45), Lazio vs Sturm Graz (3:00)
Group G: Nantes vs Freiburg, Qarabag vs Olympiacos (12:45)
Group H: Trabzonspor vs Monaco, Ferencvaros vs Red Star Belgrade (3:00)

Matchday 5 – Thursday 27 October

Group A: Zurich vs Bodo/Glimt, PSV Eindhoven vs Arsenal (12:45)
Group B: AEK Larnaca vs Dynamo Kyiv, Fenerbahce vs Rennes (12:45)
Group C: Ludogorets vs Real Betis (12:45), HJK Helsinki vs Roma (3:00)
Group D: Malmo vs St Gilloise, Union Berlin vs Braga (12:45)
Group E: Man United vs Sheriff, Omonia vs Real Sociedad (3:00)
Group F: Lazio vs Midtjylland (12:45), Sturm Graz vs Feyenoord (3:00)
Group G: Freiburg vs Olympiacos, Nantes vs Qarabag (3:00)
Group H: Red Star Belgrade vs Trabzonspor, Ferencvaros vs Monaco (3:00)

Matchday 6 – Thursday 3 November

Group A: Arsenal vs Zurich, Bodo/Glimt vs PSV Eindhoven (3:00)
Group B: Dynamo Kyiv vs Fenerbahce, Rennes vs AEK Larnaca (3:00)
Group C: Real Betis vs HJK Helsinki, Roma vs Ludogorets (3:00)
Group D: St Gilloise vs Union Berlin, Braga vs Malmo (3:00)
Group E: Real Sociedad vs Man United, Sheriff vs Omonia (12:45)
Group F: Midtjylland vs Sturm Graz, Feyenoord vs Lazio (12:45)
Group G: Olympiacos vs Nantes, Qarabag vs Freiburg (12:45)
Group H: Trabzonspor vs Ferencvaros, Monaco vs Red Star Belgrade (12:45)

Europa League groups

Group A: Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Bodo/Glimt, FC Zurich
Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Rennes, Fenerbahce, AEK Larnaca
Group C: Roma, Ludogorets, Real Betis, HJK Helsinki
Group D: Braga, Malmo, Union Berlin, Union Saint-Gilloise
Group E: Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol, Omonia
Group F: Lazio, Feyenoord, Midtjylland, Sturm Graz
Group G: Olympiacos, Qarabag, SC Freiburg, Nantes
Group H: Red Star Belgrade, Monaco, Ferencvaros, Trabzonspor


Europa Conference League group stage fixtures (all kick off times ET)

Matchday 3 – Thursday 6 October

Group A: Hearts vs Fiorentina, RFS vs Istanbul Basaksehir (3:00)
Group B: Anderlecht vs West Ham, Silkeborg vs FCSB (12:45)
Group C: Lech vs H. Beer-Sheva (12:45), Villarreal vs Austria Wien (3:00)
Group D: Slovacko vs Nice (12:45), Cologne vs Partizan (3:00)
Group E: Dnipro-1 vs Vaduz (12:45), AZ Alkmaar vs Apollon Limassol (3:00)
Group F: Molde vs Shamrock Rovers (12:45), Gent vs Djurgarden (3:00)
Group G: Sivasspor vs Ballkani (12:45), Slavia Prague vs CFR Cluj (3:00)
Group H: Pyunik vs Zalgiris (12:45), Basel vs Slovan Bratislava (3:00)


Matchday 1 – Thursday 8 September

Group A: Hearts vs Istanbul Basaksehir, Fiorentina vs RFS (18:45)
Group B: Anderlecht vs Silkeborg (12:45), West Ham vs FCSB (21:00)
Group C: Villarreal vs Lech, Austria Wien vs H. Beer-Sheva (18:45)
Group D: Slovacko vs Partizan, Nice vs Cologne (18:45)
Group E: Vaduz vs Apollon Limassol, Dnipro-1 vs AZ Alkmaar (3:00)
Group F: Molde vs Gent, Shamrock Rovers vs Djurgarden (3:00)
Group G: Ballkani vs CFR Cluj (12:45), Sivasspor vs Slavia Prague (3:00)
Group H: Basel vs Pyunik, Slovan Bratislava vs Zalgiris (3:00)

Matchday 2 – Thursday 15 September

Group A: RFS vs Hearts, Istanbul Basaksehir vs Fiorentina (3:00)
Group B: FCSB vs Anderlecht, Silkeborg vs West Ham (3:00)
Group C: Lech vs Austria Wien, H. Beer-Sheva vs Villarreal (3:00)
Group D: Partizan vs Nice, Cologne vs Slovacko (3:00)
Group E: Apollon Limassol vs Dnipro-1, AZ Alkmaar vs Vaduz (12:45)
Group F: Djurgarden vs Molde, Gent vs Shamrock Rovers (12:45)
Group G: Slavia Prague vs Ballkani, CFR Cluj vs Sivasspor (12:45)
Group H: Zalgiris vs Basel, Pyunik vs Slovan Bratislava (12:45)

Matchday 3 – Thursday 6 October

Group A: Hearts vs Fiorentina, RFS vs Istanbul Basaksehir (3:00)
Group B: Anderlecht vs West Ham, Silkeborg vs FCSB (12:45)
Group C: Lech vs H. Beer-Sheva (12:45), Villarreal vs Austria Wien (3:00)
Group D: Slovacko vs Nice (12:45), Cologne vs Partizan (3:00)
Group E: Dnipro-1 vs Vaduz (12:45), AZ Alkmaar vs Apollon Limassol (3:00)
Group F: Molde vs Shamrock Rovers (12:45), Gent vs Djurgarden (3:00)
Group G: Sivasspor vs Ballkani (12:45), Slavia Prague vs CFR Cluj (3:00)
Group H: Pyunik vs Zalgiris (12:45), Basel vs Slovan Bratislava (3:00)

Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 October

Group A: Istanbul Basaksehir vs RFS, Fiorentina vs Hearts (12:45)
Group B: FCSB vs Silkeborg, West Ham vs Anderlecht (3:00)
Group C: Austria Wien vs Villarreal (12:45), H. Beer-Sheva vs Lech (3:00)
Group D: Partizan vs Cologne (12:45), Nice vs Slovacko (3:00)
Group E: Apollon Limassol vs AZ Alkmaar (12:45), Vaduz vs Dnipro-1 (3:00)
Group F: Djurgarden vs Gent (12:45), Shamrock Rovers vs Molde (3:00)
Group G: CFR Cluj vs Slavia Prague (12:45), Ballkani vs Sivasspor (3:00)
Group H: Slovan Bratislava vs Basel (12:45), Zalgiris vs Pyunik (3:00)

Matchday 5 – Thursday 27 October

Group A: Fiorentina vs Istanbul Basaksehir (12:45), Hearts vs RFS (3:00)
Group B: Anderlecht vs FCSB (12:45), West Ham vs Silkeborg (3:00)
Group C: Villarreal vs H. Beer-Sheva, Austria Wien vs Lech (12:45)
Group D: Slovacko vs Cologne, Nice vs Partizan (12:45)
Group E: Vaduz vs AZ Alkmaar (12:45), Dnipro-1 vs Apollon Limassol (3:00)
Group F: Molde vs Djurgarden, Shamrock Rovers vs Gent (3:00)
Group G: Ballkani vs Slavia Prague, Sivasspor vs CFR Cluj (3:00)
Group H: Basel vs Zalgiris, Slovan Bratislava vs Pyunik (3:00)

Matchday 6 – Thursday 3 November

Group A: RFS vs Fiorentina, Istanbul Basaksehir vs Hearts (11:30)
Group B: FCSB vs West Ham, Silkeborg vs Anderlecht (3:00)
Group C: Lech vs Villarreal, H. Beer-Sheva vs Austria Wien (3:00)
Group D: Partizan vs Slovacko, Cologne vs Nice (3:00)
Group E: Apollon Limassol vs Vaduz, AZ Alkmaar vs Dnipro-1 (12:45)
Group F: Djurgarden vs Shamrock Rovers, Gent vs Molde (12:45)
Group G: Slavia Prague vs Sivasspor, CFR Cluj vs Ballkani (12:45)
Group H: Zalgiris vs Slovan Bratislava, Pyunik vs Basel (12:45)

Europa Conference League groups

Group A: Istanbul Basaksehir, Fiorentina, Hearts, RFS
Group B: West Ham, FCSB, Anderlecht, Silkeborg
Group C: Villarreal, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Austria Wien, Lech Poznan
Group D: Partizan Belgrade, FC Cologne, Nice, Slovacko
Group E: AZ Alkmaar, Apollon Nicosia, Vaduz, Dnipro-1
Group F: Gent, Molde, Shamrock Rovers, Djurgarden
Group G: Slavia Prague, CFR Cluj, Sivasspor, Ballkani
Group H: Basel, Slovan Bratislava, Zalgiris, Pyunik


Ever Wonder why there is an actual cottage at Craven Cottage?

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Our ‘Ever Wonder’ series will run throughout the 2022-23 Premier League season and focuses on key stories behind the history, tradition and culture of all 20 Premier League clubs.

[ MORE: Check out our ‘Ever Wonder’ series in full ]

Have you ever sat there and wondered why certain chants became iconic at a club? Why a team has a certain nickname? Why they play in those colors? How they were founded? Yep, us too.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

This season we will be digging deep to tell the stories of the rich history, tradition and culture from around the Premier League and give you the answers to things you want to know more about.


Ever Wonder why there is a cottage at Craven Cottage?

Fulham’s Craven Cottage is loved the world over. Their home by the banks of the River Thames is one of the most historic, and beautiful, stadiums in the game.

But have you ever wondered why there is an actual cottage in the corner of Craven Cottage?

And have you ever wondered what came first: the cottage or the stadium? Yep. Us too.


Fancy cottage and clientele

There has been a cottage on this site since 1780 when William Craven, who was the Sixth Baron Craven, built a cottage in a wooded area which is now on the site of Craven Cottage stadium.

It is also believed the site was previously used as Anne Boleyn’s hunting ground in the 1500s when she was the Queen of England. Fancy cottage indeed.

Legend has it that several famous writers also stayed at the original cottage for inspiration, and how could you not be inspired by this setting!?


Rebuild and Fulham’s arrival

A fire destroyed the original buildings in 1888 and the ground was left derelict until 1894 when Fulham (London’s oldest professional club as they being founded in 1879 at St Andrew’s Church in West Kensington) bought the land to build Craven Cottage stadium.

The stadium was updated extensively in 1905 by renowned football stadium architect Archibald Leitch.

If this doesn’t scream football history, I don’t know what does…


Why is there a cottage?

After Fulham’s first match in their gleaming new home there was one small problem to solve which explains why the cottage is there: there were no locker rooms built for players to use.

‘Not a problem, we will build a fancy cottage for that’ said Archibald Leitch, probably… And he did.

Today, the Cottage is still used for players to get changed in and directors of the club and players’ families sit in it to watch games from the balcony.

So, there you have it.


Incredible history remains

Craven Cottage the stadium was there before the actual cottage at Craven Cottage. But there has been a cottage on the site since 1780, and Anne Boleyn’s hunting grounds before that. That scent around Craven Cottage is history, folks.

Beautiful, magical, magnificent history.

Remember: when you next watch a game at Craven Cottage and see Antonee Robinson running down the wing, Anne Boleyn probably rode on a horse near that spot in the 1500s. Wild.

Lionel Messi: 2022 World Cup will be my last as a player

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Lionel Messi says this year’s World Cup will be his last as a player, the 35-year-old bowing out of international football before the 2026 tournament in North America.

“This will be my last World Cup, for sure,” Messi told a reporter in Argentina, via Fabrizio Romano. “The decision has been made.”

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 schedule ]

Messi will turn 39 during the 2026 World Cup, so this isn’t a terrible surprise, but he’s still not far from the top of his powers regardless of what the Ballon d’Or voters take before coming up with the shortlist (The reigning and record Ballon d’Or winner is not on the shortlist for this year’s award).

Argentina’s in Group C with Mexico, Poland, and Saudi Arabia. It’s wild to consider that Argentina’s last game could be the last time we see the world’s greatest player on a World Cup pitch.

For more on Lionel Messi’s World Cup history, read on…

Lionel Messi’s World Cup history

Messi’s World Cup debut came in 2006, and it was an announcement to the world of international football.

It was eight days before his 19th birthday. Messi came into Argentina’s second group-stage game and recorded a goal and an assist in 16 minutes versus Serbia-Montenegro. He’d make two more appearances but did not play in a quarterfinal loss to Germany.

Argentina’s 2010 World Cup also ended in the quarterfinals against Germany, as Messi went 90 minutes in all five games. He only managed an assist against Mexico in the Round of 16, as Argentina beat Nigeria, South Korea, Greece, and Mexico.

2014 saw Messi in magnificent form, scoring in every group game — wins over Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, and Nigeria — and then assisting the extra time winner against Switzerland in the Round of 16. Argentina then beat Belgium and the Netherlands before losing 1-0 in extra time to Germany in his lone World Cup Final to date.

The most recent World Cup nearly saw Argentina bounced in the group stage, but Messi scored in a 2-1 win over Nigeria to set up a Round of 16 match with France. Messi posted two assists in a 4-3 loss to the eventual champs. Current teammate Kylian Mbappe had two goals and drew a penalty to send Argentina home.