60 years of Bundesliga

Animals in the Bundesliga's first 60 years


Elephants, lions, eagles, dogs, ducks, pigeons and a famous billy goat - animals have lightened the mood in the Bundesliga numerous times in its 60 years.

Goals galore, tricks aplenty and some of the finest players on the planet is all well and good - but there have been times during the Bundesliga's first 60 years when cute creatures have simply stolen the show.

Bringing zoo animals like elephants or lions onto the pitch (not during play!) was a treat several clubs organised to please their younger fans during the Bundesliga's earlier decades.

A lion awaits the teams as Schalke hosted Dortmund in January 1970 - imago images/Horstmüller

It's fair to say that the animals invited by clubs to matches these days are safer and more carefully integrated. Eintracht Frankfurt have long been known as The Eagles, so adopting Attila the Eagle as a live mascot to fly around the stadium at every home match since 2006 was a natural step. Cologne have followed a similar tradition since 1950, with a billy goat called Hennes attending all their home matches. 

Football and nature are two very unpredictable things - and that has led to some hilarious encounters over the years as animals turn up uninvited for Bundesliga encounters. Whether that is ducks on the pitch at Bayern Munich, pigeons or a swarm of bees at Borussia Dortmund. The times they have diverted attention from play has proved to be unforgettable. After all, football is incredible, but animals are adorable!

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