“German efficiency” – a term not thrown around lightly these days. It manifests itself in all facets of life in Germany, most notably sausage, cars, and football. Home to one of the most profitable and well-attended leagues in the world, not to mention a recently earned extra Champions League spot and an assembly line of young talent emerging through the ranks, German football continues to improve upon itself and does not seem to be slowing down.
The question is, does all this success attach itself to shirt designs? While it’s impossible to rate a German automobile as sub-standard, can the same be said for the new kits on display this fall?
Let’s find out…
Newly promoted Augsburg wallowed in the 4th division only a few years ago. But rather than storm the first division with an overly flashy kit, they’ve opted for a subtle (a common theme going forward) design featuring a wave-like swoosh across the top. Nothing overly fancy but still a bit plain. 6/10
A typical Adidas shirt for Germany’s runner-up last season. The size of the sponsor is a tad bit obnoxious , but it is offset (barely) by Bayer’s imposing patch. Does anyone else think Bayer Aspirin is the perfect sponsor for this club? 6/10
BORING. Even though the addition of gold to the home red kit adds a great deal of class, it reeks of entitlement (ahem, Real Madrid’s new home kit) for a club trying to regain its footing domestically. 5/10
Saved by the patch! Without it, and some German ingenuity, this would rank as one of the ugliest kits in Europe. Reebok’s tetris theme has already cursed Bolton’s chances of aesthetic hegemony this coming season, but the German club has averted disaster by leaving the kit all white. Throw in the graphic patch of a billy goat named Hennes mounting the crest and you’ve got horny ugly rather than heinous. 4/10
The Bundesliga champs are clearly making up for the flashy creativity they are losing on the field through transfers with their new kits for the 2011/12 season. For home matches, they’ve added a matrix-like design to their usual yellow kits with a black trim on the sleeves and v-neck. If you stare at it long enough, a hidden picture emerges. The away kit lost some of its all-black menacing appeal by adding a pee stain to the bottom half. Last but certainly not least, an incredibly classy and subtle white shirt. A bonus for all three is the Kappa logo on the shoulder.
Away: 6/10 (does this mean I condone pee stains?)
Eerily similar to the Real Madrid away kit from last season depicting a light force radiating from the team patch. The only difference is that Frankfurt seems to be the epicenter of a giant earthquake. Glass half full – opponents may become dizzy staring down oncoming Frankfurt players providing an advantage. Glass half empty – this is ugly.
Home and away – 4/10
Simple and far from difficult on the eye. The artistic ‘A’ adds a pleasant appeal for the club’s sponsor which is at the forefront of global renewable energy. A crisp white collar works nicely with the bold burgundy shirt that features alternating horizontal strips. Very nice indeed. 7/10
Hamburg, the only club in Germany not to be relegated from the 1st division in its history, has created a shirt worthy of its historical past. It has the look of a throw-back shirt from the 60’s, with the red, white, and blue trim on the sleeves and v-neck collar. The vintage design works nicely with the white base and always attractive Fly Emirates logo. Since nothing is perfect, the only noticeable flaw is that Adidas should have reintroduced the old logo to this shirt. 9/10
Hertha returns to the Bundesliga after a year’s absence much to the delight of fans in the capital. Their home shirt has a great combination of dark blue and a teal-trimmed white strip across the top – good enough to divert some of the attention away from the ghastly sponsor. 7/10
For what it’s worth, no other club in the Bundesliga has a more German sounding name. As for the home kit, it’s a bit too busy. The polo shirt is a great look, but why add that vertical streak? Subtlety is the name of the game, and they simply tried too hard to impress. 5/10
Very Arsenal-esque in its design. However, it looks like the players are wearing a longer red short-sleeved shirt underneath the regular jersey itself. No good. 5/10
Why is the patch so damn small?! I never understand why clubs don’t emphasize their coat of arms in a more emphatic manner. Combined with the sponsor, Ehrmann, which looks like a cheap hot dog brand, Freiburg’s shirts fail to impress on any level. At least the color schemes are decent.
FC Schalke 04
A nice touch on the away shirt with the thin blue vertical pinstripes, although the matching shorts are hard to differentiate. Why not just go with a onesie? Meanwhile, the alternate kits in this case are alternate for a reason. The combination of a maroon top with navy blue shorts must be the work of a colorblind employee at Adidas.
Once again, subtle and classy. The horizontal red strip across the front is just the right thickness so as not to overwhelm. Extra kudos for the team patch and its medieval choice of font. 6/10
Looks like a home Wolfsburg match will resemble eleven VW Beatles motoring across the pitch with a ball at their feet. What an incredible choice of green!! The front of the shirt looks like the front bumper of a car. Throw in a couple of white stripes and do we have magic? I’m a bit at odds with the color choice…although it will surely liven up a cold wintry evening in January. 6/10