Bundesliga attendances up by eight percent
BERLIN, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Bundesliga attendances, already the highest in Europe, were up by eight percent in the first half of this season compared with the same period one year ago, the German league said on Tuesday.
The 153 matches played in the first 17 matchdays pulled in an average of 43,429 fans, the second-highest average ever, compared to 40,271 last season, the Bundesliga said.
The record is 44,345 in 2011-12.
"The improvement is due in part to the change in the composition of the Bundesliga following the return of VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 to the top flight and the resulting increase in stadium capacity," said the league.
The pair replaced relegated Ingolstadt and Darmstadt.
The increase is despite complaints from many sides that the Bundesliga has become repetitive due to the dominance of Bayern Munich.
The Bavarian side have won the last five titles and are already 18 points clear of the field this term. They have also signed Leon Goretzka, one of the league's top players from rivals Schalke 04, for next season. (Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern; Editing by Toby Davis)