As in other countries, many of the top performers here are very prominent public personalities. No doubt, you’re familiar with a few names already – e.g. Formula One champions like Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. The former tennis stars Boris Becker and Steffi Graf also remain popular. They have fans around the world.
Football, too, is a major part of Germany’s sporting identity. The attacking midfielder Mesut Özil, who has Turkish roots, has won the admiration of fans worldwide. That said, he has yet to achieve the fame of Franz Beckenbauer, who lifted the World Cup as captain of the winning German side in 1974. As Team-Chef he led the German Team to win the World cup again in 1990.
Germany’s football association, the Deutsche Fußball-Bund, has more than 6.8 million members, including almost 25,500 clubs and about 165,000 teams. This makes it the world’s largest sporting association.
Yet there is much more to sport in Germany than just football. With a total of 91,000 sports clubs with 28million members, there are opportunities to get involved in a wide range of activities, including American football, basketball, baseball, handball, ice hockey, swimming, athletics, billiards, tae kwon do, kung fu, and even chess.
Cycling is also highly popular in Germany. Despite their ongoing love affair with the automobile, Germans have become passionate cyclists in recent years. For many, a bike is cool lifestyle accessory. At the same time, lots of cities and municipalities now have a large and expanding network of cycle paths. All in all, the combined length of these networks now extends to 75,000 kilometres – more than enough for longer tours and excursions. Known as Fernradwege, these cycle trails are used by an increasing number of people as a great way of enjoying the countryside.
(Text: Make it in Germany)