The land-locked Luxembourg in Western Europe may be small in size but offers a wide range of sports and such activities. Be it individual or team sports, the locals like to participate actively and enjoy many activities as spectators.
Many outsiders may not be aware of this, but sports are an important part of the Luxembourg culture and are enjoyed personally and professionally. This article highlights some of the most popular sports in Luxembourg.
Football In Luxembourg
Football is the most popular sport in Luxembourg. It was one of the first countries where football was introduced. The national football team played its first match in 1911, while the National Division was formed in 1913.
The most famous league in the country is its premier soccer league, the Luxembourg National Division, previously called the BGL Ligue. The league comprises twenty teams, with the F91 Dudelange as the most successful team since 2000. Before 2000, the league was dominated by Jeunesse Esch, having won the division 28 times. A total of 104 competitions had been held in the earlier period, but no other team was able to display a consistent performance.
The present winner F91 Dudelange, has displayed impressive performance and won the Luxembourg cup eight times. It is also the first club that reached the group stage of a European tournament in 2018-19
The national football team of Luxembourg is nicknamed the Red Lions and is controlled by the Luxembourg Football Federation. As of 2021, it is placed at 93 in the FIFA ranking. Since the 1934 World Cup, the team has participated in every FIFA qualifier and the UEFA European Championship qualifiers since 1964.
Basketball In Luxembourg
Another sport that garners a lot of attention in Luxembourg is basketball. Although it is not played at an extensive level in the country, the locals are quite fond of watching basketball matches. The country has its semi-professional league, the Luxembourg Basketball League, which is governed by the Federation Luxembourgeoise de Basketball.
The league presently comprises ten teams and follows a relegations system. Four lowest teams at the end of the regular season play against the best teams from the Nationale 2, the second-tier league in the country. The two worst-ranked teams from the top league are then relegated to the Nationale 2.
The teams in the league are allowed to have two American players on their roster, and unlike local players, the foreign players are paid as well.
Cycling and Mountain Biking In Luxembourg
Mountain biking is a popular sport activity among the locals, mostly in the Ardennes, where the terrain is suitable for the activity. Depending on the experience level, seasoned cyclists or novices can take up a terrain according to the adequate difficulty level.
Regular cycling is also quite popular in Luxembourg, and the local population is very fond of the activity. The country also hosts a cross-country cycling race yearly called the Tour de Luxembourg, which is also a prelude to the Tour de France. Luxembourg has also achieved success at the professional level in cycling. The country’s cyclists have won the Tour de France five times.
Tennis In Luxembourg
The next sport on our list is tennis. Like other countries in Western Europe, the sport is also quite popular in Luxembourg. The country has around 53 tennis clubs, the oldest of which, the TC Diekirch, was established in 1902.
The main administrative body for tennis is the Luxembourg Tennis Federation, which organises the Fortis Championship Luxembourg every year, a WTA tier-II event.
Besides Gilles Muller, who reached the quarter-final of the US Open in 2008 and the Wimbledon Championship in 2017, Luxembourg has not experienced much success in international tennis. The tennis player’s career-best ranking was 21. Female tennis players from the country who reached the top 50 rankings include Claudia Schaul and Anne Kremer.
Rugby Union In Luxembourg
The last sport on our list is Rugby Union. Currently, the sport’s popularity may be less than others, but it is growing rapidly. The participation count has increased drastically during the past few years.
Rugby’s senior men’s national team is one of the best sports teams in the country and is ranked 64th in the world, making it one of Luxembourg’s most successful teams internationally. The sport is very successful in club format at junior and senior levels both. The first 15 from the Rugby Club play in Bundesliga 1, while Walferdange Rugby and RCL II play in the lower-tier German leagues. Other clubs include Rugby Club Terre Rouge and CSCE, which have only youth-level teams competing in France and Belgium. There is also a fifth club, the Rugby Eagles, Luxembourg, which was founded in 2019 and focuses on rugby for children.