Change For The Better? Comparing Puma's 19-20 & 20-21 3. Liga Kits
For the previous and the upcoming season, we took a rather extensive look at Germany's one-track 3rd tier only to come across a lot of similar shirt designs, or even identical ones. Nowadays, many clubs rich in tradition fail to uphold their standards of the past and are stuck in lower divisions. Nevertheless, this does not mean that their fan bases vanish and they are still featured on regional TV stations.
Puma's 2019-20 vs 2020-21 3. Liga kits
On a global scale, Puma is obviously not the only culprit for overusing templates, however they are the only 'Big Three' brand responsible for a fair chunk of the 3. Liga's clubs (4/20 - 20% in 20-21) and managed to hand out several teams the exact same template without any customization for their whole kit set in the 2019-20 season (FSV Zwickau & Viktoria Cologne).
On top of that, a certain bookmaker out of this economic sector came to the conclusion they would get the most exposure for a cheap price by getting as many lower-tier clubs under contract as possible. All of this resulted in pretty ridiculous examples. See it for yourself down below.
Puma 19-20 vs 20-21 3. Liga kits
Hallescher FC & FSV Zwickau 19-20 vs 20-21 kits
Puma currently has contracts with Hallescher FC, FC Ingolstadt, Viktoria Köln and FSV Zwickau in Germany's 3rd tier. Out of those four teams, the identical kits became most apparent in the case of Hallescher FC and FSV Zwickau as they did not only share the same base template (Puma Cup Jersey), but also the same main sponsor in Sunmaker.
In the 2019-20 season, Puma simply gave those 2 teams their Cup Jersey teamwear in stock colorways without any customization, with one exception: the Hallescher FC 19-20 home kit. It is based on another stock template.
One 3. Liga team received a special treatment last season after switching from Adidas to Puma: Ingolstadt. Their 19-20 home kit features a 'Schanzer' writing on the lower left hand side, the away comes with a watermark & the third also features a watermark, while relying on two different base templates.
Puma Ingolstadt 2019-20 home, away & third jerseys
For the upcoming season, Puma tried to diversify their teamwear offering for these relatively known teams and gave the choice to add bespoke elements (watermarks / graphic prints) for all teams or even created exclusive looks (e.g. FC Ingolstadt 20-21 home jersey).
Ingolstadt 20-21 home, away & third kits
Interestingly, one team did not get the memo: Viktoria Köln. Their shirts are still 100% based on teamwear in stock colorways without any customization.
Viktoria Köln 19-20 vs 20-21 home, away & third kits
Putting the pieces together, we believe that Puma did indeed listen to their critics and implemented changes in a financially sound context. To what extent the execution of those unique elements has been successful is once again another topic of conversation.
What do you think of Puma's 19-20 vs 20-21 efforts for Germany's 3. Liga? Did the 'Big Cat' change for the better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.