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ESPN launches major plans for start of Bundesliga coverage

The debut season of Bundesliga on ESPN+ will kick off Friday, Sept. 18, with coverage of the match between 2019-20 champions FC Bayern München vs. FC Schalke 04, live from the Allianz Arena in Munich at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+, ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The live match will be preceded by ESPN FC Live pregame show at 2 p.m. on ESPN.

ESPN+ will stream more than 300 Bundesliga matches in English and Spanish during the German top-division’s first season as part of a multi-year agreement. The company’s linear television platforms – ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes – will also televise select matches during the season.

The Teams

FC Bayern München enters the season after winning the coveted treble in 2019-20 – the UEFA Champions League, a German record eighth straight Bundesliga crown and the team’s 20th German Cup (DFB-Pokal) title. With stars like Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Canada’s Alphonso Davies, Germany’s Leroy Sané, Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry, Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich and more, Bayern is one of the most recognizable global brands in soccer and leads a league that continues to produce some of the best on-field action anywhere in the sport.

FC Schalke 04 is one of the oldest clubs in Germany – founded in 1904. Popular to American fans, Schalke is managed by David Wagner, a former U.S. Men’s National Team player from 1996-98 who was on Schalke’s UEFA Cup winning side in 1997.

Bundesliga Countdown Live (ESPN App and social channels, Friday at 1:30 p.m.)

Thomas, Burley and Cherundolo will headline a 30-minute preview show on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the ESPN App focusing on the FC Bayern München-FC Schalke 04 season-opener at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. The program will include a match preview, predictions, analysis and more. During the season, ESPN’s Bundesliga Countdown Live will air as digital pregame shows leading into select matches on linear television.

ESPN FC Live (ESPN, Friday at 2 p.m.)

ESPN FC Live with host Kay Murray, analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Archie Rhind-Tutt will kick off ESPN’s live coverage of the Bayern-Schalke opener on Friday at 2 p.m. Additional content includes:

• Immediately following the match, ESPN FC will stream a live post-game special on ESPN+

• Throughout the season, ESPN FC Bundesliga Preview Show will feature interviews with players and managers, reports from team camps, features, and more, beginning today (Wed.) on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. Dan Thomas will host the one-hour program with analysts Craig Burley, Alejandro Moreno, Kasey Keller, Derek Rae and Jan Åge Fjørtoft, and Rhind-Tutt reporting from Germany.

READ MORE: Schedule of Bundesliga games on US TV and streaming

New Bundesliga on ESPN commentators

• Derek Rae returns for a recurring role as the lead play-by-play voice for Bundesliga on ESPN linear television networks. One of the most recognized voices in football commentary and a fluent German speaker, Rae will continue in his role as one of the main voices on Bundesliga world feed telecasts, calling matches from stadiums in Germany that will stream on ESPN+.

• Jan Åge Fjørtoft, the former Norway National Team and Eintracht Frankfurt forward who also played in the English Premier League for Middlesbrough, joins ESPN as a Bundesliga studio analyst for ESPN FC and other shows

• Kay Murray, a renowned global soccer studio personality, will host the ESPN FC Live pregame show and the Bayern-Schalke halftime segments. A two-time co-host of FIFA Ballon d’Or (2011 and 2012), football’s most prestigious awards ceremony, Murray joined ESPN International in February as a presenter for English-language editions of SportsCenter after seven years as studio host at beIN SPORTS USA

• Archie Rhind-Tutt, a prominent German football writer, will contribute as a television reporter covering Bundesliga matches from site, primarily for ESPN FC. Rhind-Tutt is familiar to U.S. Bundesliga fans from his work as a reporter with FOX Sports.

In addition to the new voices, many of ESPN’s recognized soccer analysts and ESPN FC host Dan Thomas will contribute to coverage of the Bundesliga opening match on ESPN+ and ESPN. Other voices will include: lead soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, who began his professional career in 2000 with 1860 Munich; Kasey Keller, a former U.S. National Team and Borussia Möechengladbach goalkeeper; Craig Burley, former Scottish National Team and Chelsea FC midfielder; and former Venezuelan National Team forward Alejandro Moreno. Play-by-play commentator and studio host Fernando Palomo, and Mario Kempes, 1978 FIFA World Cup champion and Golden Boot winner, will headline Bundesliga coverage on ESPN Deportes.

SportsCenter

SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news program, will showcase Bundesliga highlights and analysis of key matches, features on American stars in the league, interviews, and more throughout the season.

ESPN Deportes

In addition to live telecasts of select matches, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language sports network will provide news and information coverage of Bundesliga’s 58th season across SportsCenter, Jorge Ramos y Su Banda and Ahora o Nunca. The network’s European soccer show Fuera de Juego will preview the 2020-2021 season live on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN+, with hosts Palomo, Andrés Agulla, Barack Fever, Ricardo Ortiz, Alexis Martín Tamayo (Mister Chip) and Ricardo Puig.

Soccer Made in Germany Library on ESPN+

Beyond the matches, ESPN+ will be home to Soccer Made in Germany, the Emmy-nominated show produced by Transtel (predecessor of Deutsche-Welle) featuring a highlight-edited version of one Bundesliga match per hour-long episode. The show, which will offer a sense of nostalgia for longtime soccer fans in America, previously aired in the U.S. on most of the 256 PBS member stations from 1976-1988. The series offered highlights from specific West German Football Association (preceded the re-unification of Germany in 1990) matches.

SEE MORE: Listen to our exclusive interview with Toby Charles from Soccer Made In Germany

Archive of classic Bundesliga matches on ESPN+

Throughout the season, ESPN+ will be the digital home of up to 50 classic Bundesliga matches available for on-demand streaming. The classic matches include FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, and other top clubs – all high-scoring contests.

Marketing of Bundesliga

To kick off the league’s debut season across ESPN platforms, ESPN+ released a new Bundesliga creative campaign. The spot emphasizes the fact that every single Bundesliga match will be available on ESPN+ this season and captures the excitement of the league.

 

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Chris

    September 17, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    I am so stocked that every match will be upon ESPN+ What a steal of a deal. No caveats of only airing matches not on regular cable as if + is just an overflow channel. Honestly, one of the best deals out there for footy currently. ESPN certainly has me as a subscriber for the season. Just wish we could see that amazing crowd atmosphere we all miss.

  2. Stephen

    September 17, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I’m excited about watching BVB and the rest of the Bundesliga on ESPN! I opened a subscription to ESPN+ for this reason alone. I just hope the English-speakign analysts will have the same knowledge and enthusiasm for the Bundesliga as Derek Rae does.

    • Rover

      September 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      Derek Rae’s precision pronunciations may be more exciting than the games themselves, as it’s pretty obvious after one match where the title is headed

  3. Edward

    September 17, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Does Derek Rae usually call Bundesliga match remotely for their international feeds (pre-Covid)?

    • Christopher Harris

      September 17, 2020 at 10:33 am

      Pre-COVID, he announced many of the games from studios in Cologne for the world feed.

  4. Rod Severin

    September 17, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Excellent! Thanks for the info. I’m looking forward to taking the deep dive into the Bundesliga this season. Sort of reminds me of when I did the same with the Premiere League back in 2014.

  5. jstrummer

    September 16, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    They may have Bundesliga 2 but it seems as if there’s no matches scheduled in the first two weeks and it wasn’t of any press release I saw, therefore I would say chances of them airing seem remote at this time.

  6. michael babb

    September 16, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Yes, espn+ has bundesliga 2

  7. William

    September 16, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    While I find the ”Soccer Made in America” catalogue interesting I’ll certainly check it out, However I do get the sense that those in charge of the failed pushes to make the Bundesliga popular among the current generations of American fans are going about it the wrong way. Every older guy will try to sell you on the Bundesliga through there long ago experience of watching ”Soccer in America” Its sort of tone death to this day in age of what is trending, its a nice touch but only increased viewership will make Bundesliga more popular not nostalgia of 40+ yrs ago.

    • Scott

      September 16, 2020 at 9:03 pm

      The league is not competitive, no one wants to watch a Munich coronation every year.

      • Will S.

        September 17, 2020 at 11:58 am

        Yawn.

        A critique that can be made of most European leagues. I enjoy Bundesliga way more than I’ll ever enjoy the (mostly) stylistically boring Premier League.

      • TheOriginalTom

        September 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm

        I really like the Bundasliga, and the crowd atmosphere is a lot better than England’s. But I agree, the reality that Bayern Munich buys the best players off all the other clubs is a real problem. I wish it were less predictable. The drama is for the champs leagues spots.

      • Eric T

        September 17, 2020 at 4:33 pm

        Bayern may be a machine right now, but the top 10-12 teams in the Bundesliga all play entertaining football and anything can happen on any given Saturday.

  8. Nando

    September 16, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Any updates for the Bundesliga 2 TV/Stream rights? Are there going to be broadcast also on ESPN + as well ??

    • Christopher Harris

      September 16, 2020 at 8:41 pm

      Hope to have some more details on Thursday.

      • Christopher Harris

        September 17, 2020 at 10:46 am

        Here’s the latest on the 2.Bundesliga:

        2.Bundesliga matches are coming in the future to ESPN+, just not this weekend.

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