Like a cool drink of water in the desert, the Bundesliga’s return over the weekend provided fans of “The Beautiful Game” with our first taste of goals, assists, and controversy, and, yes, even VAR was perhaps a sight for sore eyes.
Sure, the Revierderby doesn’t quite pack the same punch without the Yellow Wall in Dortmund, but sitting down with a coffee in the United States and South America or a cold one in Europe and watching soccer was an experience we all appreciated just a little bit more this weekend.
Let’s take a look at five big takeaways from the return of soccer in Germany.
Bundesliga Laces up the Cleats
During the COVID-19 shutdown from March 12 – May 15, the Bundesliga sat at 12th most engaging league in the world based on social media interactions (league, teams, and players). But with the return of play over the weekend, the Bundesliga catapulted to the 4th-most engaging sports league across the globe with more than 15.8 million interactions. Only the English Premier League, La Liga, and NBA had more combined engagements.
Dortmund Puts on a Show
The Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund (BVB) and Schalke 04 goes back to 1925 — with over 150 meetings between the two Ruhr-region teams, but there’s never been one like this. The marquee matchup saw Dortmund score a 4-0 win, their biggest in the derby since 1966.
The success extended far beyond the pitch. Between Saturday and Sunday, Dortmund amassed more than 3.9 million engagements across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, their highest two-day total since defeating PSG in the Champions League in mid-February. Saturday was BVB’s biggest day ever on Twitter with more than 900,000 engagements. Beating your biggest rival 4-0 helps, but the Dortmund digital team also came to the party prepared with amazing graphics like this homage to the Bat-Signal — the team’s third-most engaging tweet in history.
Of course, the talk of the German soccer town was Braut Erling Haaland. He shined on Saturday’s biggest stage scoring BVB’s first goal (and the first goal of soccer’s new coronavirus era), growing his social media followers by over 50,000, and even earning a shoutout from club cult hero Paco Alcacer.
Big Boys Top the List
It was a weekend for the big boys, as BVB pulled within a point of the top spot in the league before Bayern restored their 4-point advantage with a win at Union Berlin.
The Bundesliga is not the only place Bayern and Dortmund are at the top though. Between May 16 and 17, the two clubs ranked #3 and #4 respectively amongst world soccer clubs based on social media engagements, with powerhouses FC Barcelona and Liverpool taking the #1 and #2 spots. Bayern’s 2.6 million interactions on Instagram over the weekend was the team’s second-best match day engagement on the photo-sharing network for 2020, behind only their Champions League win against Chelsea. The Black and Yellow’s 900,000 Twitter engagements was more than double any other soccer team (including Premier League, Serie A, LaLiga, and MLS).
Not Just the First Division!
Fußball is a religion across Germany, and it’s not just limited to the Bundesliga teams. Saturday saw the return of the German second division, 2. Bundesliga as well! Hamburg SV & FC St. Pauli were the top teams in 2. Bundesliga engagement rankings, as they combined for 34% of the 18 teams’ total engagements over the weekend (each 2. Bundesliga’s team’s engagements included the team and its players).
Bundesliga clubs, in both the first and second divisions, brought the perfect combination of wit and passion to the social media table. Here are a few of our favorite posts from the weekend!
Fußball is for everyone – St. Pauli
Sometimes it’s best to just let it out – VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg made the game-winning goal during the 90th minute of play, and this was the team’s reaction on Twitter.
Social distancing remains key – Borussia Dortmund
The new celebration guidelines, meant Dortmund players celebrated goals a bit differently — six feet apart.
He’s baaaaack – FC Bayern
With FC Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski goal against Union Berlin, he became only the third player to score 40 goals in five consecutive seasons. The other two? Messi and Ronaldo — not bad company.
Social media managers support from afar – RB Leipzig
Just because the social media team can’t be at Red Bull Arena, doesn’t mean they can’t show support.