The Deutscher Handballbund is the biggest handball federation in the world. German handball clubs have a massive fan base and top matches will pack out even the largest indoor arenas in Germany. The sport's success is largely due to its foothold in many of Germany's smaller towns and cities, such as Grosswallstadt, Gummersbach, Lemgo and Leutershausen, which have each written major chapters in handball history.
The Handball Bundesliga was introduced as the country's top league as early as 1966, although for the first eleven years of its existence it was split into two sections (north and south). From 1977 onwards the league has been operating as a single-section top division and it hasn't looked back since. Eighteen clubs now compete in the league over the course of 34 match days.
The most successful club since the Handball Bundesliga was unified is currently THW Kiel, which won 14 of its 17 championships during this period, the last one in 2012. In second place is TV Grosswallstadt with six titles, closely followed by VfL Gummersbach (whose legendary player Hansi Schmidt is credited with inventing the delayed jump shot), with five of its twelve championship titles won in a single nationwide league. A total of 88 different teams have participated in the Handball Bundesliga, 70 of which have also played during the post-1977 period.
The 20,000-seater Cologne Arena in Cologne is one of the biggest stadiums used for handball. Equally popular are the O2 World in Hamburg, and the SAP Arena in Mannheim, each of which can accommodate approximately 14,000 handball fans – plenty of room for some great matches in a brilliant atmosphere!
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