German Country Report
With the 2018 season fast approaching, we’re continuing to take a look at each of the countries in our AFL Europe community to get a snapshot of how Aussie Rules kicked off in their nation, some of their highlights, and some of their goals for 2018. Next up are Germany, who have a rich history in footy and are looking to build on their already strong competition in 2018. We got the inside word from AFL Germany President Fabian Cordts.
Give us a quick snapshot of AFL in Germany.
AFL in Germany is largely organised around one league of seven teams. The game format is 9 aside during the regular season and followed by a 16 a side finals series. Notably, apart from the very young clubs every club managed to take the flag once in club history. Since 2013 there have been four different premiers. So, it’s fair to say that we have a competitive, and interesting competition going on. The number of players varies from season to season, but we have a consistent base of roughly 250 active players. Apart from the club competition, the German Eagles are representing Germany at the international level. With a solid pool of around 45 players we have been able to steadily improve performance in international competitions over the last couple of years. Apart from the premiership there have been regional leagues popping up in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg. These smaller AFLX type of leagues are a great way to get new players introduced to the game and provide players with an extra bit of game time.
History of AFL in Germany.
The first competition took place in 1999 with two clubs from Frankfurt and Munich competing. The first league structure was introduced in 2003. Over the years a league of eight teams build up located in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart and Freiberg. Freiberg and Stuttgart joint this season to participate in the competition as the Württemberg Giants.
What were some of the highlights of AFL in Germany in 2017?
No doubt participating in the International Cup in 2017 was a big achievement for the AFLG if not for Germany as a country. It was the first time we managed to send a team down to Melbourne and took the second place in the second division. On the club level Berlin managed to win the premiership for the first time in AFLG history last year and we are confidently looking forward towards the Champions League in Amsterdam where they will hopefully be able to build on the very good previous results of German teams from Cologne, Hamburg and Munich.
What are your top three goals for 2018?
This year the AFLG underwent some changes in terms of organization. Work was shared more evenly across more shoulders and by that we hope to move forward and develop on various levels. First, and probably long overdue we are trying to establish a women’s competition. As put brilliantly in a meeting last year: Bring in the girls and the boys will follow. Second, we are trying to establish a connection between the clubs and local universities. Stuttgart and Cologne have already done so and are therefore appearing in the official sports program of the universities of Stuttgart and Cologne, respectively. Third, we would like to take the momentum from last year’s International Cup into the next season and keep growing the national team- both for men and women.
A player to watch in 2018?
After spending a year in Melbourne, we are happy to welcome back Philipp Evermann in the comp. He proved to be one of the leading players in the International Cup and is also spearheading a lot of initiatives to grow his local club in Cologne (Rheinland Lions). Players like Phil, who give 100% on and off the field keep the sport alive in small leagues like ours.