German Bundesliga, Leagues, Story

The Olympiastadion was not full when Hertha Berlin visited Bayern Munich earlier this season.

The Bundesliga had the second-highest attendance in its history throughout the first half of the season as more than 6.6 million fans passed through the gates of the league’s 18 stadiums.

According to numbers released by the German Football League (DFL) on Tuesday, a total of 6,664,612 supporters attended the 153 matches during the first half of the Bundesliga season — a rise from 6,161,399 the previous year.

The average attendance of 43,429 per game is the second highest in the league’s history after 44,345 passed through the turnstiles in 2011-12.

With Hannover and Stuttgart returning to the top flight after one season in 2. Bundesliga, the overall capacity increased and led to an eight percent rise in attendance.

Yet even though more than 90 percent of tickets were sold, clubs found it increasingly difficult to reach full capacity.

Earlier this season, Bayern Munich’s sellout streak ended after more than 11 years, as only 71,212 of 74,475 tickets were sold for their away match at Hertha Berlin on Oct. 1.

Hertha is one of the most prominent examples of the league’s struggles. They have yet to play in front of a capacity crowd this season despite already hosting Bayern and Borussia Dortmund — two games that usually sell out within a matter of hours or days.

Clubs like Hamburg have also suffered from a decline in attendance figures, and even at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion, only six of the 11 league matches played so far have been sold out.

Last season, Dortmund played to a capacity crowd in 14 of their 17 home league games.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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