eng ita rou

facebook-hoover twitter-hoover behanse-hoover culture-pub-hoover
Print

Bundesliga trio set a high bar

marco-reus-borussiaAfter all three German sides won their UEFA Champions League groups, Steffen Potter asks exactly what the Bundesliga has done right to ensure such unprecedented success.

For many years, FC Bayern München have been the Bundesliga's one reliable presence in the UEFA Champions League. Other teams have come and gone, with progress to the knockout stages viewed as a bonus. This season, however, FC Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern all qualified for the last 16 with a game to spare and eventually finished top of their respective groups.

All four German participants in the UEFA Europa League – Hannover 96, VfB Stuttgart, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach – also progressed from their groups, prompting Bild to claim that "the Bundesliga makes Europe rock".

What is the Bundesliga doing right? As with the national side, most of the recent success can be linked back to the focus placed on producing home-grown talent in the aftermath of disappointing displays in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The result is the emergence of players like Mario Götze, Marcel Schmelzer, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus at Dortmund, Lewis Holtby and Julian Draxler at Schalke, and David Alaba, Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber at Bayern. As many of the world's household names still prefer the allure of the Spanish Liga or English Premier League, it makes perfect sense for a country of more than 80 million to develop their own talent.

All of Germany's 2012/13 UEFA Champions League participants have also been very realistic in their fiscal approaches. Whether this results from being burned in the past, or is simply part of a long-standing philosophy, it has guaranteed the retention of these teams' star players. "Fortunately, the days when German clubs were quick to sell their top players when someone from England came in are over – that certainly applies to this club," said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp.

Mario Gomez, out through injury for the majority of Bayern's campaign so far, is effusive about the prospects of the Bundesliga's trio of contestants. "They all deserved to win their groups," said the Germany striker. "It's nice to see the Bundesliga is alive and catching up with the very best leagues. In terms of strength across the board, I'd even say it's the best at the moment. The top teams are all performing strongly in Europe."

Though I agree with the gist of Gomez's statement, it seems too early to be proclaiming the Bundesliga as the best on the continent. "I am a bit surprised to see us celebrating like we have already won a title like we did in the past," said Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer. "Our demand in Germany has to be for this to be the norm. The competition only really starts now."

In the end, lifting trophies is what counts. It has been over a decade since Bayern last ensured the Bundesliga sat at the head of the table, but this season both they and Dortmund look like credible contenders. Do you think either can pull it off?

News UEFA Champions League

UEFA President celebrates Croatian cente...
UEFA President celebrates Croatian centenary

UEFA President Michel Platini was a guest of honour along with other footballing dignitaries at fest [ ... ]

CFR's Old Trafford celebrations fall fla...
CFR's Old Trafford celebrations fall flat

Manchester United FC 0-1 CFR 1907 Cluj
Luís Alberto struck a fine goal as CFR became the first Roman [ ... ]

Porto persevere to down dogged Dynamo
Porto persevere to down dogged Dynamo

Porto persevere to down dogged Dynamo FC Porto 3-2 FC Dynamo Kyiv The resilient visitors twice cam [ ... ]

Superb Schalke end Arsenal home run
Superb Schalke end Arsenal home run

Superb Schalke end Arsenal home run
Arsenal FC 0-2 FC Schalke 04
Late goals by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and [ ... ]

Terry set to face in-form Shakhtar
Terry set to face in-form Shakhtar

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed that John Terry will return to his starting line-up for [ ... ]

Silva could feature in Amsterdam
Silva could feature in Amsterdam

David Silva could make a shock return for Manchester City's Champions League make-or-break clash at  [ ... ]

Champions League Facts - Matchday 2
Champions League Facts - Matchday 2

Juventus v Shakhtar o Juventus haven't met Shakhtar in Europe since the 1976-77 UEFA Cup when the [ ... ]

Late goals leave Hart distraught
Late goals leave Hart distraught

Joe Hart said the Manchester City players should take the blame for their defensive inadequacies in  [ ... ]

Joyous LOSC lay down new roots
Joyous LOSC lay down new roots

"We've made ourselves at home," declared Dimitri Payet after LOSC Lille christened their new stadium [ ... ]

Thigh strain rules Robinho out of Milan'...
Thigh strain rules Robinho out of Milan's opener

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri will be without forward Robinho for his side's UEFA Champions Le [ ... ]

BETTING NEWS & TIPS

Smalling wants United steel
Smalling wants United steel

Chris Smalling has told Manchester United to stop handing out early Christmas presents to their opponents. The Reds defender has spoken of the frustration insi [ ... ]

Garcia plots title charge
Garcia plots title charge

Manchester City's Javi Garcia has warned title rivals Manchester United they will be hunted down for the rest of the season. Garcia, who joined the club from B [ ... ]

Clarke plays down losing run
Clarke plays down losing run

Steve Clarke insists he is not too concerned by West Brom’s losing run ahead of Sunday’s clash with West Ham at the Hawthorns. The Baggies have lost their  [ ... ]

Diouf extends Leeds stay
Diouf extends Leeds stay

Leeds United have rewarded El-Hadji Diouf for his performances this season with a new 18-month deal. The Senegalese striker joined the club on non-contract ter [ ... ]

Parker close to return to action
Parker close to return to action

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has received some good news before the game against Swansea City after learning that both Gareth Bale and Scott Parker could be fit [ ... ]

Story so far: FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Story so far: FC Shakhtar Donetsk

Through to the knockout stage for a second time, the manner of FC Shakhtar Donetsk's early Group E successes had pundits singling them out as potential UEFA Cha [ ... ]