Premier League vs Bundesliga

Premier League vs Bundesliga – What’s The Difference?

Last updated on January 18th, 2022

If you’ve been following the top leagues in European football, you may have noticed that there are a few popular ones, including the Premier League and Bundesliga.

How are these 2 competitions different, and which one is better?

Here’s what you need to know:

The difference between Premier League and Bundesliga

The Premier League involves the top 20 teams in English football, while the Bundesliga includes the top 18 teams in German football. Both of these competitions mainly differ in terms of their squad rules and Europa Conference League qualification.

Here is a further comparison between these 2 leagues:

Number of teams involved

The Bundesliga is the only competition among the top 5 leagues in Europe to have 18 teams. This was due to historical reasons that happened in 1965.

Meanwhile, the Premier League has 20 teams, similar to the other top leagues in Europe, including:

  1. Serie A
  2. La Liga
  3. Ligue 1

Origin of teams

The teams in the Premier League originate from England, while those in the Bundesliga originate from Germany.

Here are some of the top teams from each country that have been playing in these leagues:

Premier LeagueBundesliga
Manchester CityBayern Munich
Manchester UnitedBorussia Dortmund
LiverpoolRB Leipzig
ChelseaVfL Wolfsburg

If you’re wondering what does VfL stand for in Wolfsburg, you can check out my guide here.

Frequency and duration of competitions

Both competitions have a similar schedule, where they will start in August, and then end in May.

This is similar to the other top European leagues as well.

The Bundesliga usually has a 2-week winter break. This normally starts in mid-December, and the competition will resume in the first week of January.

In contrast, the Premier League does not have a fixed winter break, where all teams will be resting at once.

To keep up with the television broadcasting contracts, the Premier League will have a split winter break, where some teams will take a break, while others will continue to play.

Format of competition

Both the Premier League and Bundesliga follow a double round-robin league format. Each team will play against the other clubs in the league.

For Bundesliga, each team will play against 17 other teams, for a total of 34 matches. Meanwhile, for the Premier League, each team plays against 19 other teams, for a total of 38 matches.

Squad size

Each club in the Premier League can only have 25 players. A maximum of 17 players are considered to be ‘non-homegrown’.

You can read more about the ‘homegrown’ rule in the Premier League as well as other competitions in my guide here.

A maximum of 9 substitutes can be included in the match squad for Premier League teams.

For the Bundesliga, it is not clear how the big squad size can be. However, each club must have a minimum of 12 German players under contract.

8 of these players have to be trained locally, while the other 4 can be trained by a club or association in Germany.

The matchday squad of each Bundesliga team must have no more than five non-EU representatives too.

Qualification for competition

To qualify to be in the Premier League, your team will need to be in the top 20 football teams in the English football pyramid. If they are starting at the bottom of the pyramid, they will need to get promoted to the different tiers, and ultimately reach the Premier League.

One of the most gruelling competitions is the EFL Championship, which is the second tier of English football. There are 24 teams that are competing for 3 spots in the Premier League.

The teams that are in 3rd to 6th place will compete in the Championship playoffs. This is one of the most intense competitions, especially since there is a Premier League spot at stake!

Meanwhile, the Bundesliga contains the top 18 teams in German football. Every season, the bottom 2 teams will be relegated, and the top 2 teams from the 2. Bundesliga will be promoted.

The 3rd bottom team (16th placed) in the Bundesliga will compete with the 3rd-placed team in the 2. Bundesliga in a relegation playoff match.

This is a 2-legged match where the first match is played at the home of the Bundesliga side, while the second leg is played at the home of the Bundesliga 2 side.

Here is an example of the playoff between Union Berlin and VfB Stuttgart.

UEFA competitions placing

Your team will be eligible to qualify for UEFA competitions, based on how they perform in the league. The qualification is the same for the top 5 teams in both competitions:

League positionQualification for
UEFA Competition
Top 4 teamsChampions League
group stage
5thEuropa League
group stage

For the qualification to the Europa Conference League, the 6th team in the Bundesliga will qualify for the play-offs.

In the event that 6th place wins the DFB-Pokal in Germany, they will qualify for the Europa League and not the Europa Conference League.

Meanwhile, the winners of the EFL Cup in England will qualify for the Europa Conference League play-offs, instead of the 6th-placed team.

Rewards for winning competition

Here are the rewards your team will receive when they win either competition:

Premier LeagueBundesliga
Prize MoneyBased on performanceDistribution model
Qualification for next
season’s Champions League
YesYes
Qualification
for Super Cup
FA Community ShieldDFL-Supercup

Interestingly, the Bundesliga has a unique way of distributing the prize money. It follows this model of:

  • 65% of the yearly pool divided equally
  • Other 35% is divided according to league positions in the last 5 years

Meanwhile, the prize money for the Premier League is more straightforward, where it is based on the position of the team. In the 2020/21 season, the winner received £153.9 million.

The winners of both leagues will qualify for the Champions League group stages. Moreover, they will play in the English and German versions of the Super Cup.

The super cup is usually the curtain raiser of the football season. This is played between the winners of the league and the cup of that particular country.

You can find out more about how a Super Cup works by reading my Guides on the FA Community Shield and the UEFA Super Cup.

Dominance of teams

In this section, we will be looking at the past winners of these 2 leagues since the 2011/12 season:

Premier LeagueBundesliga
Manchester City (5)Bayern Munich (9)
Chelsea (2)Borussia Dortmund (1)
Liverpool (1)
Leicester City (1)
Manchester United (1)

Bayern Munich has been very dominant in the Bundesliga, where they have won 9 out of the last 10 titles!

Meanwhile, the Premier League has been ‘slightly’ more competitive, as there have been 5 different winners for the past 10 years.

However, it is still pretty dominant as Manchester City has won 5 out of the last 10 titles.

As such, the Premier League may be slightly more exciting to watch compared to the Bundesliga.

Champions League performances

In this section, we will see how the clubs from these leagues have performed in the Champions League. This is the best indicator of how well the league is as a whole, since the Champions League is a competition between the top European clubs.

To make a fairer comparison, I will be looking at the semi-finalists for the past 5 years that come from either league:

SeasonPremier LeagueBundesliga
2020/212 (Manchester City
and Chelsea)
0
2019/2002 (Bayern
and Leipzig)
2018/192 (Tottenham
and Liverpool)
0
2017/181 (Liverpool)1 (Bayern)
2016/1700

The Premier League has provided more semi-finalists (5) compared to the Bundesliga (3).

Verdict

Here is a summary of the comparison between these 2 leagues:

Premier LeagueBundesliga
Number
of teams
2018
Origin
of teams
EnglandGermany
FrequencyAnnuallyAnnually
Duration10 months10 months
FormatDouble round-robinDouble round-robin
Number
of matches
3834
Squad size25 (17 homegrown)Minimum 12 German
players under contract
QualificationTop 2 from EFL
Championship

3rd – 6th will
play in playoffs
Top 2 from 2. Bundesliga 

3rd in 2. Bundesliga has playoff
with 16th in Bundesliga
Prize MoneyBased on positionDistribution model
Qualification for
next season’s
Champions League
YesYes
Qualification
for Super Cup
FA Community ShieldDFL-Supercup
Dominance
of teams
Mainly Manchester CityMainly Bayern
Champions League
performances
(semi-finals)
5 semi-finalists
in past 5 years
3 semi-finalists
in past 5 years

Is the Premier League better than the Bundesliga?

The Premier League may be considered to better than the Bundesliga in terms of Champions League performances, where there are 5 semi-finalists in the past 5 years compared to the Bundesliga (3 semi-finalists).

It is quite hard to compare one league to another, and I feel that the best way to do so would be by the Champions League performances!

Conclusion

The Premier League and Bundesliga are 2 of the top footballing competitions in the European football season.

Based solely on the Champions League performances, the Premier League takes the slight edge!

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