The Sporting Blog - Sports Interviews, Trivia, Stories, Reviews, Fitness & Training. Evergreen sports content, covering all sports.  The best non-news sports website in the world. The best sports blog on the internet The 8 Most Popular Sports in Germany — The Sporting Blog
The 8 Most Popular Sports in Germany

The 8 Most Popular Sports in Germany

The 8 Most Popular Sports in Germany

We all know Germans love football - but what are the other most popular sports in Germany?

The Sporting Blog tells all - read on for the latest facts and figures about Germany’s most popular sports!

F1 racer Michael Schumacher

Great German athlete Michael Schumacher

Germany has a strong sporting culture rooted in the 19th-century gymnastics movement. This legacy lives on today, with many Germans playing recreational sports and supporting professional teams.

Football is the most popular spectator sport, with the Bundesliga boasting high attendance figures and fan enthusiasm.

However, Germany also excels at many Olympic events like athletics, swimming and team handball.

The country takes great pride in hosting major sporting events and developing world-class facilities.

Training centres nurture promising young German athletes, and a passion for sports permeates daily life, with many Germans staying active through cycling, hiking, skiing and more.

We know that sports are integral to the country - but what are the most popular sports in Germany? Read on to find out!

1. Football / Soccer

  • Approximately 8% of the population plays football

  • Germany has won four FIFA World Cup titles

  • The women’s national side has won two World Cups (2003 and 2007)

Football is Germany's most beloved sport, capturing the passion of players and spectators alike.

Governed by the German Football Association (DFB), football boasts 6.6 million members, approximately 8% of the population, and these members play for over 31,000 clubs.

Devotion to football permeates all levels, from local youth leagues to the prestigious Bundesliga.

The illustrious history of German football has cemented its status as a national obsession. Bayern Munich stands atop the Bundesliga as the most popular club, attracting 22.8% of football fans.

On the international stage, the German men's national team shines as one of the world's preeminent teams - and there are many young German stars rising to prominence.

With four FIFA World Cup titles (1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014) and three UEFA European Championships (1972, 1980 and 1996), Germany trails only Brazil in World Cup wins.

The women's national side echoes this success, winning two World Cups (2003 and 2007) and a record eight European titles, although they fell short at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Beyond its on-field accomplishments, Germany has hosted several major tournaments, including two World Cups (1974, 2006) and a European Championship (1988).

According to UEFA, Germany will host the 2024 UEFA European Championship.

football pitch with the words "The Football Blog" and The Sporting Blog logo

Read more on our football blog

2. Golf

  • There are over 700 golf clubs in Germany

  • 57% of golfers are male, 35% are female and 8% are juniors

  • Germany’s golf infrastructure ranks second in Europe

Germany has developed a strong golfing culture and community with over 700 golf clubs and more than 600,000 active golfers.

Golf's popularity in Germany continues to rise, although slowly, as the traditional club membership model struggles to attract new players.

Despite this, golf remains an active pastime across Germany. Approximately 57% of golfers are male, 35% are female and 8% are juniors. This highlights golf's appeal across genders and age groups.

Germany's golf infrastructure ranks second in Europe, with 730 official golf courses, trailing England's 1,888 courses. This extensive network of golf facilities enables the sport's growth and accessibility.

Beyond the numbers, golf in Germany is defined by its welcoming spirit. Golfers enjoy a friendly atmosphere at German clubs with decent food and well-maintained courses.

These high-quality playing conditions make golf an attractive activity.

With a strong foundation already in place, golf in Germany appears poised for further expansion as more people discover the joys of the sport.

3. Ice Hockey

  • There are around 80,000 active players in Germany

  • The Deutsche Eishockey Liga is a top-tier hockey league

  • In the 2021/22 season, there were over 21,000 registered players

Ice hockey enjoys a passionate following in Germany, though it lacks the mainstream popularity of football.

With around 80,000 active players across 400 clubs, Germany's hockey participation pales in comparison to its 6.6 million footballers.

However, the country consistently ranks among the world's top hockey nations.

The 2021/22 season saw over 21,000 registered ice hockey players in Germany, showing enthusiasm for the sport.

Germany's top-tier hockey league, the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, draws huge crowds at every match.

The future looks bright for German ice hockey, and it could even emerge from football's shadow with continued investment in youth programmes and facilities.

As hockey's exhilarating speed and physicality attracts more players and spectators, its prominence in Germany's sporting landscape continues to rise.

4. Basketball

  • There are over three million basketball fans in Germany

  • Germany’s professional basketball league is called the BBL

  • Basketball first came to Germany in the late 19th century

With over three million dedicated fans, basketball enjoys widespread popularity across Germany. Its popularity has steadily grown since the sport first arrived in Germany in the late 19th century.

The seeds of German basketball were first planted in 1896 when physical education pioneer August Hermann introduced the fledgling sport after encountering it in the United States.

Basketball quickly took root in the 1930s, and by 1935, it became an organised sport.

153 basketball teams were established in Germany within just two years. Germany also organised its first national championship in 1939.

Today, the professional basketball league in Germany, known as the BBL, is acclaimed as one of the top in Europe, showcasing an exciting brand of athleticism and teamwork.

The BBL has 18 teams with millions of fans worldwide. Many German players have gone on to play for the NBA, including Dirk Nowitzki.

Youth participation in basketball has also exploded in recent decades. Easy to pick up and play, this sport’s fast pace appeals to urban and rural communities across the country.

basketball player with the words "NBA Blog" and The Sporting Blog logo

5. Formula 1

  • There are 54 total F1 drivers in Germany

  • Over 2.54 million German viewers tune in per race

  • Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are German F1 heroes

Formula 1 is famous across Germany, fueled by high-octane action and star German drivers.

With over 2.54 million German viewers tuning in per race, Formula 1 has a whopping viewership, making it one of the most popular sports in Germany.

Germany shares a special bond with Formula 1. Legends like Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg have cemented Germany's status as a dominant force in the sport.

Schumacher encouraged German devotion through his record seven world titles and 91 race wins. Vettel and Rosberg continued this momentum, inspiring new generations of German fans.

The numbers speak for themselves, as Germany boasts 54 total Formula 1 drivers.

As more young German racers like Mick Schumacher enter the fray, the path for continued German success seems assured.

6. Handball

  • 33% of Germans named handball as their favourite sport besides football

  • The German national handball team has won three IHF World Championship titles

  • The German Handball Association (DHB) organises this sport

33% of Germans named handball as their favourite sport besides football.

This passion for handball is deeply rooted in German culture and history, as Germany is the birthplace of modern handball, a sport which emerged in the late 19th century.

Over the decades, the sport evolved and grew in popularity across the country.

This eventually led to the establishment of the German Handball Association (DHB) in 1950. The DHB organises national competitions and represents German handball on the international stage.

The German national handball team has achieved tremendous success over the years. Their list of accolades includes three IHF World Championship titles and two EHF European Championship wins.

With a squad featuring some of the best handball players in the world, the German team consistently ranks among the top contenders at major tournaments.

Their winning tradition, skilful play and teamwork make them a source of national pride.

Thousands of Germans play on club teams, at school and in recreational leagues across the country. For many Germans, throwing around a handball provides a fun social activity and a good workout.

7. Tennis

  • There are over five million active tennis players in Germany

  • The German Tennis Federation has 1.4 million members

  • Steffi Graf, Angelique Kerber and Boris Becker are prominent German tennis players

Tennis is one of Germany's most popular participatory sports, with over five million active players.

The passion for tennis runs deep, as evidenced by the German Tennis Federation boasting a staggering 1.4 million members. This makes it the most prominent national tennis federation worldwide. 

From grassroots community clubs to elite Grand Slam champions, tennis enthusiasm is spread across the country.

Germany has produced some of the biggest tennis stars in history. Elite players like Steffi Graf, Boris Becker and Angelique Kerber honed their world-class skills in Germany before becoming professional tennis stars.

Around 1.52 million Germans over 14 years old play tennis as a recreational activity at least several times per month.

Municipal courts, private clubs and schools overflow with casual players looking to stay active and socialise through their shared passion for tennis - and friends use the sport as a way to spend quality time together.

tennis ball with the words "Tennis Blog" and The Sporting Blog logo

Head to our tennis blog for more

8. Skiing

  • There are 14.6 million active participants in Germany

  • The Bavarian Alps are a popular choice for fans of the sport

  • Germany boasts 498 ski areas, the most of any European nation

Skiing is one of Germany's most popular winter sports, with nearly 14.6 million active participants.

Germany is home to the magnificent Bavarian Alps, which offer picture-perfect scenes of snow-capped peaks and quaint villages. This mountainous terrain provides the ideal landscape for ski resorts.

Germany boasts 498 ski areas, the most of any European nation. Skiers can choose from a mix of luxury destination resorts and small community hills.

The variety and accessibility of ski areas allow Germans to regularly enjoy their favourite snow sport.

Many ski resorts also provide additional winter activities like toboggan runs, ice skating rinks and curling sheets. There are also lively apres-ski bars and restaurants to relax after a long day in the mountains!

The Most Popular Sports in Germany: A Summary

Sports play a central role in German society and culture. Although football is the most popular sport, many others boast a devoted following.

From golf's rising participation to handball's competitive legacy, Germans practice a variety of sports to stay active.

Do you play any of these sports? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

The 10 Tallest Football Players of All-Time

The 10 Tallest Football Players of All-Time

How to get your kids in to Cricket

How to get your kids in to Cricket