It is not just on the pitch that the Bundesliga's top stars light up the lives of millions of people all around the world. Some are involved in a number of wonderfully noble initiatives off it, too. takes a closer look at the charitable pursuits of a selection of players plying their trade in Germany's foremost division...


© Ailine Liefeld

Gonzalo Castro (Borussia Dortmund), Jerome Boateng (FC Bayern München), Änis Ben-Hatira (Hertha Berlin) and Manuel Schmiedebach (Hannover 96) are all proud patrons of the 'MitternachtsSport' integration initiative, which offers young people free weekend football courses with socio-educational provision and an overriding emphasis on respect, tolerance and fair play. 'MitternachtsSports' has centres in Berlin, Hamburg and Wuppertal, and is also supported by the Bundesliga Foundation.

Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation

FC Bayern and Germany No.1 Manuel Neuer set up his eponymous kids foundation with the aim of offering help and support to disadvantaged children and young people, particularly in his home region, the industrial Ruhr district. In 2011, the former FC Schalke 04 custodian famously donated the entirety of his €500,000 booty from the German version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? to the charity.

Neven Subotic Foundation

Dortmund defender Neven Subotic is as hard as nails on the pitch, but he has a big heart off it. The Serbia international, whose self-titled organisation seeks to provide access to clean water to people in Africa's poorest countries, often spends his summer breaks working for the project. Prior to BVB's recent Revierderby win over Schalke, he called on fans to donate what they can to the cause.

German Sports Lottery

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Earlier this year, FC Bayern captain Philipp Lahm signed up to become an ambassador for the German Sports Lottery. "I want to do something useful," Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning skipper said at the time. "Many top athletes out there are struggling to survive. I'm lucky that my sport is very much in focus and that means I'm financially secure." The purpose of the organization is to improve funding and social safeguarding of sports people in Germany, using proceeds from lottery ticket sales.

Young Wings

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In 2012, FC Bayern and Germany forward Thomas Müller became an ambassador for the Young Wings project. The non-profit organisation is targeted particularly at children and young people who have lost a parent or guardian. Those affected can chat with each other online and also have the opportunity to receive support from a mentor. Müller regularly participates in the initiative's Golf Cup benefit tournament, most recently taking to the putting green alongside Bayern teammate Lahm.