Bayern Munich are Germany's record champions - but what does it take to win the Bundesliga? - © Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty
Bayern Munich are Germany's record champions - but what does it take to win the Bundesliga? - © Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty

How do you win the Bundesliga title?


How do you win the Bundesliga title? Simple: have the fewest defeats, perform best in the first half of the season, and do not concede goals. That’s what discovered as we broke down the stats behind becoming champions of Germany.

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Most wins or fewest defeats?

It’s close, but throughout Bundesliga history since the league’s inception in 1963, the team that loses the fewest games (52 times, 88 percent) – rather the one that wins the most matches (51 times, 86%) – is most likely to finish the season as champion.

RB Leipzig actually matched Bayern Munich’s league-low four defeats in the 2019/20 season, but the Bavarians won eight more games than Die Roten Bullen, who finished third. It had been even tighter in the previous campaign as Bayern finished just two points clear of Borussia Dortmund. The difference? Both lost four times in the season, but Bayern won a game more.

Watch: Analysing the odds in the 2022/23 Bundesliga title race

Bayern actually hold the record for most wins in a season, triumphing on a massive 29 occasions in both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 campaigns. They lost just once and twice respectively across those seasons, winning the title with no fewer than seven games to go in the latter, also a league record.

In fact, that single loss in their incredible treble-winning 2012/13 season equalled the all-time Bundesliga record, matching the effort of the title-winning Bayern side of 1986/87.

Hinrunde heroics or Rückrunde runs?

Bayern again top the charts regarding the most wins in either half of the Bundesliga season. They registered a peerless 15 victories in 2013/14 and 2015/16 to be seven and eight points clear at the top come Christmas respectively.

In fact, setting the pace before the mid-season break clearly has a significant impact when it comes to going on to win the title: 40 of the 59 champions before the 2022/23 campaign boasted the best first half of the season (68%), claiming the honorific title of 'autumn champions'.

Bayern have won the last 10 Bundesliga titles in a row, starting in 2012/13. - Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

That compares to 32 title-winners who produced a sizzling streak of form in the Rückrunde to claim the Meisterschale. Bayern tallied a massive 16 in the Rückrunde of 2012/13 and 2019/20 to lay the platform for double-digit advantages over the rest of the division come the season’s end.

Most prolific attack or meanest defence?

“Strikers win games, defences win trophies” goes the adage. It seems it’s true. While the team that found the net most has won 31 of the 59 Bundesliga crowns so far, the team with the fewest goals conceded has triumphed on 36 occasions.

That was the case for Dortmund’s first title under Jürgen Klopp in 2010/11. They were outscored by Bayern 81 to 67 across the 34 games, but conceded just 22 goals – Bayern shipped 40 – to finish champions.

Jürgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund were back-to-back Bundesliga champions in 2011 and 2012. - Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bayern did win the title in 1971/72 when they netted a Bundesliga record 101 goals, and also when they conceded a stingy 17 in 2015/16. Werder Bremen’s 1992/93 title was built on an iron-clad backline that conceded a league-low 30 goals, only a Bundesliga record five of which were conceded at home as they pipped Bayern by a point.

Home sweet home or away day delight?

If your team is winning away from home, you have a chance of ending the season being able to celebrate a league championship. All but 20 of the 59 Bundesliga champions so far have been able to boast the best away record in the division over a complete season, whereas the team with the best home stats has won the league on only 32 occasions.

Bayern – yes, them again! – had an amazing 2012/13 campaign on the road. They not only set the record for away wins at 15, but conceded just seven goals on their travels, a Bundesliga all-time low. They also went through that season unbeaten away from home, as they did when the picked up the title in 1986/87.

Watch: The changing face of the 2022/23 title race

You can see the significance of good away form in that those Bayern teams are the only ones ever to achieve that feat whereas no fewer than 18 clubs can boast having had at least one top-flight season without tasting defeat on home soil. And it is far from a guarantee of finishing top of the league. Schalke went unbeaten in Gelsenkirchen in 1970/71, for example, but only finished sixth; Eintracht Braunschweig ended the 1975/76 season only one place better off despite also boasting an unblemished home record.

Eintracht Frankfurt are the most recent team other than Bayern to have gone all 17 home matches unbeaten. The Eagles finished fifth in the 2020/21 campaign having fended off all-comers; Bayern won the title that season also without losing a home game, the 12th time they have done so in the club’s history.

Get up to speed on all past Bundesliga champions!

Schalke recorded a Bundesliga record-setting 16 home wins in 1971/72, but lost the title to Bayern by three points. That tally was then matched by a title-winning Bayern side the following campaign before it took another 35 years for the feat to be emulated: Felix Magath’s Wolfsburg clocked up 16 home victories at the Volkswagen Arena to claim the club’s one and so far only Bundesliga title.