There is a special time of the year each season, often right before the transfer window opens, when clubs across the world engage in expensive, dramatic, and sometimes controversial media campaigns revealing their new kits for the upcoming season. For some fans, they don’t care about the details of the shirt as long as it is the right color; however for others like myself, a team’s shirt offers something much more. Each season, there is a unique opportunity for teams to pay homage to the glories of the past, to connect further with the local heritage, or to go bold and try something new. For those football shirt-enthused fans, it is often the look of the shirt, as well as the performance of the team that they look back on fondly. Although the kit releases have been happening later than usual, the hype around each launch is still the same.
Here is my ranking of the top ten 2020—21 Bundesliga Kits:
10. Bayer Leverkusen Home
Have you ordered your 2020/21 home kit yet? pic.twitter.com/cMVHRQi4r7
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) July 2, 2020
After last season saw Bayer Leverkusen’s home shirt feature all red, Die Werkself will wear a primarily black shirt at home for the upcoming campaign. Featuring a monochromatic badge, and the infamous Jako design on the sleeves, this shirt is classy, albeit a bit boring which is why I have it at the bottom of my list. The red accents on the collar and cuffs, as well as the ever so slight striped pattern on the front and back do give it a bit of texture that is otherwise missing from the shirt. This is one that will surely look better in person than from a photo.
9. Borussia Dortmund Home
⚠️ HIGH VOLTAGE: BU⚡️⚡️ WITH BVB pic.twitter.com/fPZNyoTQvU
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) July 1, 2020
The Borussia Dortmund home jersey has been one of the most polarizing shirts in football since pictures were first leaked. Reactions to the launch have been clear: either you love it or hate it. Debate surrounding this jersey hinges on use of the boxed 1 & 1 sponsor logo in the middle, which for me breaks the flow of the aesthetic. I personally enjoy the use of the lightning-styled design and am glad to see some creativity from Puma after the fairly straight-forward and boring kits from last season. This jersey would be higher on my list if the sponsor was more integrated into the design, but overall a solid design.
8. Borussia Mönchengladbach Home
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) June 29, 2020
Spoiler Alert: this is the first of two kits from Borussia Mönchengladbach in this countdown. In my opinion, Gladbach have the best collection of kits this season, and its not quite close. After last season’s smokey design, Puma have used a more modern diamond design, inspired by a nearby hotel facade. This shirt is simple and elegant, and the new Flatex sponsor looks much cleaner than the Postbank boxed eyesore. Overall, a really nice design which complements the away and third aesthetics incredibly well to create a collection of well thought-out kits.
7. VfB Stuttgart Away
😍 Our news home and away jerseys 😍
— VfB Stuttgart_int (@VfB_int) August 7, 2020
Newly promoted VfB Stuttgart are returning to the Bundesliga with a stunning away shirt, which drew inspiration from the 1997—98 away jersey with the black and red colorway and with a silver monochromatic crest. The details on this shirt are incredible, highlighted by the city map on the front and back with the stadium featured directly beneath the badge. This kit is one of the most thought-out designs, and certainly one of the best from Jako.
6. Eintracht Frankfurt Away
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_us) August 4, 2020
Although the Eintracht Frankfurt away kit is a Nike template design, shared by Atletico Madrid, this kit is higher on my list than expected because of the stunning collar. The combination of white base color, black collar, and red accents on the sides just works really well for me. This may not be a shirt to remember for years to come, but it is clean and elegant and one that will be underrated for most.
5. RB Leipzig Third
We go again 👊
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) September 7, 2020
Following the trend of the other Nike ‘Elite’ teams, RB Leipzig’s third kit is inspired by Nike Air Max 98 designs and is unbelievable. Featuring a primarily ‘midnight navy’ graffiti print pattern with various shades of blue incorporated, this design is certainly bold. This unique pattern, when combined with the orange crest and accents, creates a colorway that is one of my favorites in recent memory. While this is my favorite colorway and pattern of any of the kits on this list, there is a notable lack of any design elements inspired by the club or its culture itself which knocks this shirt down to #5 on my list.
4. Eintracht Frankfurt Home
Inspired by our city and the landmark where we’ve celebrated our greatest moments.✨
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_us) July 22, 2020
Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2020-21 Home design brings back the classic black and red vertical stripes design with some really nice details that set this design apart from years past. The red stripes feature the shaded Römer battlements, and the collar features the club’s initials, SGE. Similar to the away design, the club crest, Nike swoop, and main sponsor logo are all monochromatic, which serves to make them pop off the shirt, especially the Eintracht eagle crest. This design would have been in my top 3 had the design been replicated on the back of the shirt rather than a solid black.
3. Mainz 05 Home
A red & white beauty ❤️
— Mainz 05 English (@Mainz05en) July 31, 2020
2020—21 is the first year of the Kappa era in Mainz and it starts off with a bold design for the home kit. The design immediately directs your eyes to the sleeves which feature a small red and white chevron pattern. This design takes a nice turn away from the traditional Kappa design aesthetic of the infamous Kappa logo running down on the shoulders and sleeves. The front of this design features a larger, more-subtle red chevron pattern which adds a nice touch, and bumps this shirt up higher on my list. While this design borders on being too busy, the simplicity of the colorway allows the various patterns to mesh well to me.
2. Hertha BSC Away
Football is more 🔵⚪
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) July 24, 2020
The Nike Hertha Berlin away jersey is everything a bold away kit should be. It features a blue splash-art pattern which, as the club describes, was “designed to reflect the diversity, openness, and vigour of Berlin.” The lack of a front sponsor really serves to highlight the club’s crest even further, and an addition of a front sponsor would most certainly take away from the design. Despite Nike using templates for most of their designs, this shirt has a bespoke design that separates itself from the rest of the collection quite nicely. Overall, this shirt is amazing and one of my favorites of the year.
1. Borussia Mönchengladbach Third
Unzähmbar. Untameable 🐎💚
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) May 2, 2020
Sitting atop my list is this stunning Borussia Mönchengladbach third kit. Inspired by the region’s heritage in the textile industry, the shirt has a subtle pattern throughout, and the print contains small diamonds. The bright ‘green glimmer’ color is stunning, and highlights the black accents around the collar and cuffs. While the special edition shirt, featuring “Unzähmbar – seit 1900” (Indomitable – since 1900) is no longer available; Mönchengladbach revealed the updated design featuring new sponsor Flatex, which is just as appealing. This shirt has all the elements I appreciate in a football shirt: the design is bold, not just for the sake of being bold, but to highlight something specific and is unique about the region’s culture.