Bundesliga stadiums are increasingly providing a 12th man for their teams, with an enhanced sense of home advantage. - © © imago
Bundesliga stadiums are increasingly providing a 12th man for their teams, with an enhanced sense of home advantage. - © © imago

Home is where the points are in the Bundesliga

They say that your home stadium can be your team's 12th man, and a look at the final standings of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season certainly appears to confirm that was the case last term.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim – three teams who qualified for the UEFA Champions League – were all unbeaten on their own patch. RB Leipzig, who finished second, lost only three times at the Red Bull Arena and there is a clear correlation between the sides who celebrated success and their strength at home.

Watch: Check out the atmosphere in Dortmund's inimitable SIGNAL IDUNA PARK:

Indeed, all the teams who qualified for Europe also finished in the top seven in terms of the number of points picked up at home, confirming how the foundations for their continental tilts were built on good, solid home territory.

Hertha Berlin, for example, picked up 37 points at their Olympiastadion compared to just 12 on their travels. With a Bundesliga-wide 49.3 per cent of home games won – the highest proportion since 2003 – it was no surprise when, heading into the final weekend of the season, Hertha's Sebastian Langkamp said he was "delighted to have a home game next week."

In the Bundesliga, where the fans are king, that is hardly surprising. Where atmospheres, organised Tifos and overall attendance figures put all of Europe's other leagues to shame, it cannot be denied that those who go to the stadium each week are doing more than just watching their heroes in action. They are actively participating by spurring them on to victory.

Watch: A spectacular fan choreo, Schalke-style

Dortmund, with their Gelbe Wand (Yellow Wall) – Europe's largest single stand – gathered 43 points at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, as many as Bayern accumulated at the Allianz Arena. Cologne, whose RheinEnergieSTADION also has a reputation of intimidating visiting teams while boosting the Billy Goats, lost only twice in the Carnival city.

A look at the bottom of the table, meanwhile, shows that the bottom three teams – Wolfsburg, Ingolstadt and Darmstadt – were those who performed worst in front of their own fans. Having said that, Darmstadt picked up 21 of their 24 points at the Böllenfalltor, without which their relegation would have been sealed far earlier than it was.

In 2015/16, both Darmstadt and Augsburg built their survival mainly on their away form rather than how they performed in front of their own fans – something Stuttgart also did in the preceding season. It appears things may therefore be changing, with the fans gaining even more power to help rather than hinder their heroes.

Despite the facts, though, it can still work both ways.

"If out of 55,000 fans, 50,000 despise me and would rather see me fall flat on my back, and they shower me with insults, then I just feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger against the rest of the world," said former Bayern and Germany midfielder Mario Basler.

With that in mind, the millions of fans who streamed through the turnstiles in 2016/17 say 'I'll be back' to post new crowd records next season, and ensure the 12th man continues to reign in Bundesliga stadiums.

Click here for the latest Bundesliga news