Premier League comparison: Watford (1999/00)

After achieving back-to-back promotions to reach the Bundesliga last season, bottom-of-the-league Paderborn’s stay in the top flight looks likely to be a short one.

Much like Graham Taylor’s Watford in 1999/00, who finished bottom of the Premier League immediately after consecutive promotions, their success has come faster than they have been able to develop.



Premier League comparison: Newcastle (2008/09)

Too big to go down? I don’t think so.

Werder Bremen won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2004 and made it to the UEFA Cup final in 2009 with a team that included Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Claudio Pizarro.

But nowadays, they are in big trouble. While Newcastle never hit the same heights, they still serve as a reminder as to what can happen if a club fails to adequately replace a group of world-class players.


Premier League comparison: Brighton (2018/19)

Dusseldorf finished 10th in the Bundesliga last term and enjoyed a season of consolidation following their promotion from the second tier, in much the same way Brighton did when they finished 15th in 2017/18.

This is a more difficult second season, just as the Seagulls experienced the following year when they finished 17th and two points above the relegation zone.

With respective average attendances of over 40,000 and 30,000, both Dusseldorf and Brighton also attract big crowds relative to their league position.



Premier League comparison: Southampton (Present day)

Two clubs that have flirted with Europe in recent years after the departure of a manager who has since gone on to establish themselves as one of the best in the world. This one writes itself.

Like Mainz, Southampton spent most of the decade lodged in mid-table. Those foundations of that stability were at least partially laid while Mauricio Pochettino was in charge during 2013/14.

Mainz, meanwhile, enjoyed seven years under Jurgen Klopp between 2001 and 2008.

On the occasions when both sides have qualified for the Europa League, they have never progressed beyond group stage.

More recently, they have both fallen on harder times after deviating from their recruitment policy of bringing through players cheaply to sell on for big profits.


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Premier League comparison: Stoke (2013 - 2017)

Augsburg are the least fashionable team currently in the Bundesliga and have a reputation for playing football that isn’t easy on the eye.

Since winning promotion to the Bundesliga in 2010, they have finished above eighth only once and never below 15th. Like Stoke, they even had a season in the Europa League in 2015/16.

If you enjoyed monotony of the Potters’ annual ninth-placed finish under Mark Hughes, you’ll love these lads.


Premier League comparison: West Ham (present day)

Hertha are a team based in the capital and play in a converted athletics stadium that still has its running track.

They have the infrastructure to be one of the biggest clubs in the Bundesliga and it is hoped that recent eye-catching signings will help them bridge the gap to the league’s elite clubs.

Sound familiar, Hammers fans?


Premier League comparison: Bolton (2003/04)

Just as fans of all clubs took great pleasure in watching Jay Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff strut their stuff for Bolton, Frankfurt’s sense of fun has given them similar popularity.

The creative freedom they play with makes them a joy to watch although, unlike Bolton, the spine of their team is not an ageing one.

Twenty-seven-year-old winger Filip Kostic has impressively filled a gap left by fan favourite Ante Rebic, while plenty will recognise 24-year-old Portuguese striker Andre Silva.

While Frankfurt lack the pragmatism to consistently challenge for the bigger prizes, they do enjoy the occasional moment in the sun – they won the DFB-Pokal in 2018 and reached the Europa League semi-final last season.

But with or without silverware, their fans are bound to have a good time.


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Premier League comparison: Everton (2004/05)

With Union Berlin sitting above their city rivals for the first time in a generation, there is an obvious comparison between them and the Everton side that earned a top-four spot in 2005.

That was the first time in 18 years that the Toffees finished above Liverpool.

Union are also one of the most democratic clubs in the league and are heavily led by input from their fans, so a comparison with The People’s Club seems apt.


Premier League comparison: Aston Villa (Present day)

Cologne used to be a big fish, winning the Bundesliga twice and DFB-Pokal five times between 1963 and 1983. They were also UEFA Cup runners-up in 1986.

Similarly, Aston Villa have a rich history that is easily forgotten with seven league titles, seven FA Cups and a European Cup among their honours list.

But unfortunately for both, their glory days are long gone. Much of Cologne’s time nowadays is spent bouncing between the Bundesliga and the second tier – they have swapped divisions 11 times since 2000.

Despite this, both teams remain among the best supported in their respective divisions.


Premier League comparison: Wigan (2005 – 2013)

Hoffenheim is a village with a population of just 3,272, making it the smallest place to represent a Bundesliga side by some distance.

With the backing of wealthy owner Dietmar Hopp, they worked their way from the fourth tier to the Bundesliga in eight seasons between 2000 and 2008, before qualifying for the Champions League after another eight years.

While Wigan never reached the top four during their spell in the big time, a club their size had no business reaching two major cup finals – the latter culminating in a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup in 2013.

The Latics’ journey to the Premier League also started when Dave Whelan bought the club in 1995 while they were in Division Three – 10 years before they made it to the top flight.

The town of Wigan, meanwhile, has a population of 81,000, making it the third-smallest in Premier League history.


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Premier League comparison: Middlesbrough (2004 - 2006)

Freiburg are a club whose ambitions rarely stretch beyond a mid-table finish in the Bundesliga, with staying in the division deemed a positive.

Like the Middlesbrough side of the mid-noughties, which finished between seventh and 14th for 10 straight seasons, they rarely end up in trouble.

Again like Boro, they have even had the chance to experience European football, having qualified for the Europa League in two of the last six seasons.


Premier League comparison: Blackburn (2000 – 2011)

Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga in 2009, finishing above Bayern Munich by two points. But instead of building on that success, it now feels like a lifetime ago.

They have only once finished in the top four since lifting the trophy and are now routine mid-table dwellers.

Similarly, Blackburn failed to establish themselves among the elite after winning the Premier League in 1995.

By the turn of the millennium, they had faded into obscurity.


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Premier League comparison: Leeds (2002/03)

Schalke used to be regulars in the top six of the Bundesliga at the start of the decade, but money trouble has made it hard for them to compete.

Despite finishing in the bottom half in two of the last three seasons, David Wagner’s side still pull in an average attendance of over 60,000, making them the third-best supported club in Germany.

Much like Leeds United, they remain a huge club despite off-the-field issues harming their performance on it.


Premier League comparison: Arsenal (2006 – Present day)

Champions League finalists in 2002, it feels like a long time since Leverkusen were relevant at Europe’s top table.

Despite never winning the Bundesliga, they have finished second on five occasions but haven’t come close in the last 10 years.

Instead, Leverkusen regularly battle it out for the final spot in the top four. They play attacking football but are let down by a weak defence.


Premier League comparison: Wolves (Present day)

Borussia Monchengladbach were the dominant force of German football in the 1970s, winning five league titles between 1970 and 1977.

They are now re-emerging under exciting coach Marco Rose, who was recruited after impressing with RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Wolves, meanwhile, won the First Division three times between 1953 and 1959.

After a prolonged spell in the wilderness, the English side are challenging at the top again under Nuno Espirito Santo, who was appointed from Porto in 2016.



Premier League comparison: Manchester City (2010/11)

Bankrolled by Red Bull, there is a universal dislike for RB Leipzig in Germany.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side are seen by many as having bought their way to the top with their wealth unfairly distorting the league.

But like Manchester City at the start of the decade, Leipzig don’t yet have the silverware to match their big spending and lofty ambitions.

With a squad as talented as theirs though, it is only a matter of time before the trophies start rolling in.


Premier League comparison: Liverpool (2017/18)

Visiting Signal Iduna Park on a matchday is a must for all football tourists, in much the same way as Anfield is.

The noise, ceremony and entertaining football make it an experience unlike many others in the world.

Currently keeping the goals flowing for Dortmund are the scarily good duo of Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland – the latter has netted 12 in 11 matches.

But Lucien Favre’s side do have defensive frailties, having conceded more goals than any side in the top five.

The same criticism could be levelled at Liverpool in 2017/18.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were stacked with Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane going forward but, before the arrivals of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, were light at the back.



Premier League comparison: Manchester United (1992 – 2003)

Who else?

There are few teams in living memory that have had such a sustained period of dominance as Bayern Munich and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Class-of-’92-led Manchester United side.

Bayern are currently closing in on their seventh straight Bundesliga title, which would be their 30th in total.

United, meanwhile, won the Premier League eight times across the 11 seasons between 1992 and 2003.

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