The Bundesliga is known the world over for providing the best fan experience football has to offer, with attendances continually on the rise and topping all other European leagues. And yet the record figure was set 50 years ago in a match not involving Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund, but Hertha Berlin and Cologne.
On 26 September 1969, Hertha hosted the Billy Goats at the Olympiastadion in the German capital – the venue that remains their home to this day – where a total of 88,075 fans squeezed through the turnstiles to witness the occasion first hand.
Hertha were eighth in the table at kick-off, level on points with fourth-placed Cologne, but won 1-0 thanks to Wolfgang Gayer 63rd-minute strike. It turned out to be a vital win too, as at the end of the season Hertha finished third – two points better off than Cologne in fourth.
And as a quirk of the fixture list would have it, the two teams face each other again this weekend – albeit in Cologne – rounding off the Matchday 6 action on Sunday.
In modern times, the closest any club comes to that record is at the 81,365-capacity Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. Still, the draw of the league remains as strong today as it was back in 1969 thanks to fan-friendly pricing, top-quality football, global stars showcasing their skills and easy access to the stadiums.
Indeed, attendance figures in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 have long been the best of any football league in the world, with an average of 42,738 supporters at every top-flight game last season, while a total of 18,885,620 fans flocked to matches in Germany's top two divisions in 2018/19.