Bundesliga football has a brand-new star that is certain to be involved in all goal-scoring action during the new season 2018-19. The latest addition to the world of professional sports is a beautifully shaped ball with trademark dimpled skin enabling the football to have better aerodynamics. For the next four seasons, DERBYSTAR is back on the German football stage with the BUNDESLIGA BRILLANT APS, the official match ball for Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 until the 2021-22 season.
Just weeks after being introduced to the 36 clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 during training, the new ball is already widely popular with the players, and goalkeeping coaches across both leagues have been especially delighted with the new ball’s features and reliable performance. “It’s a really honest ball; it doesn’t deceive or flutter,” says Zsolt Petry, goalkeeping coach at Hertha BSC Berlin. SV Werder Bremen’s goalkeeping coach, Christian Vander, shares Petry’s positive assessment of the BUNDESLIGA BRILLANT APS: “The goalkeepers are very satisfied so far. The ball is easier to catch, because its flight path is easier to calculate.” The positive reviews are no coincidence. Manufacturer DERBYSTAR from Goch/Germany, a well recognized company in the development and production of footballs ever since its founding 50 years ago, had set out to achieve just that; to design and construct a ball that has perfect aerodynamic characteristics and consequently a faster and more predictable flight path while having a controlled and lively bounce.
To achieve these ambitious goals, DERBYSTAR focuses on excellent quality and handcraft along with intelligent product design. Each BUNDESLIGA BRILLANT APS is hand sewn from 32 panels – 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons per ball form the perfect “molecular” structure, connected with 18 metres of string by 630 precise double stitches and 60 corner stitches per ball. Each ball is 68.5 to 69.5 centimetres in circumference and weighs 420 to 445 grams. The so-called zero-wing bladder, made from natural latex, provides the foundation for the optimal round form and the lively bounce, and additional foam lining between bladder and the panelled surface lead to a softer touch of the ball.
However, it’s the revolutionary surface structure – that takes inspiration from the sport of golf – that has created some well-deserved buzz: Just like a golf ball, the ultra-modern DERBYSTAR sphere is covered with small dimples: It’s this literally quite impressive new trademark feature combined with the 32-panel construction that creates the ball’s unparalleled flight stability and speed, as shown during extensive wind channel testing at the University of Tsukubo in Japan and confirmed by “flutter tests” during team trainings. The surface structure also provides improved grip. Additional testing to “FIFA Quality Pro” standards also showed superior characteristics in the areas of roundness, pressure loss, bounce, shape retention, and water absorption.
The result of DERBYSTAR’s product development efforts is an innovative state-of-the-art piece of equipment, and the black-and-white design with red accents beautifully reflects the ball’s modern features. “The classic DERBYSTAR lettering in conjunction with Bundesliga’s distinctive red field and the clear ‘Bundesliga’ lettering offer the high recognition value of both brands and at the same time symbolize the intensity with which we and the DFL jointly interpret our four-year cooperation,” says Andreas Filipovic, the management member responsible for sponsoring & sales at DERBYSTAR.
The new ball also convinces regarding important social and economic aspects. As part of the global “Fairtrade” initiative, DERBYSTAR supports regulated labour conditions along with bans on both child labour and discriminatory practices in the country of manufacture, Pakistan, while paying Fairtrade minimum wages and Fairtrade bonuses, requiring and providing proof of flow of goods and finances, adhering to all regulations required to use the Fairtrade signet, being transparent about its trade relations, and providing advance financing.
In addition to adhering to Fairtrade standards, DERBYSTAR and its mother company, the Danish SELECT Group, have started the SAHEP program for workers in their Pakistani manufacturing facilities and their families. The focal issues of the SAHEP program include comprehensive free medical care for workers and their family members – such as a mobile healthcare centre; medical on-site medical treatment; health check-ups, examinations, and vaccinations; providing information about family planning and hygiene; supplying free medications – along with varied educational efforts for the workers’ children to emphasise DERBYSTAR’s stance against child labour.