Bundesliga: Europe's strongest league?
German football is on the rise again, but how does it compare to both English and Spanish football?
For many years the Bundesliga has been in the shadow of the battle between La Liga and the Premier League, but lately, the signs have been there for all to see.
Bayern Munich have made the Champions League final three times in the last four seasons. Although they haven’t won any of the finals, they are definitely one of the best teams in world football.
The German national team has always been a threat on the world stage, and they are always one of the favourites to win any major competition. They are famously known for their efficiency and capability to win on the big stage. An endless breed of hard workers and gifted footballers.
Many know that the Spanish league contains the richest and most talented footballers, for example, the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo blossom in this league. Spanish football is often branded the most technically gifted league of them all.
The English Premier League is often labelled the most competitive, with the battle for a top four place becoming ever more challenging. The race for the title is never easy to predict at the start of the season, with teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and maybe even Tottenham Hotspur in the fore.
Many people may say that the German league is very predictable and almost boring at times, with the games outside of the top four having no real excitement to it. But the battle for the title has been very exciting and almost impossible to predict in recent seasons.
For example; from the 06/07 season, four different teams have won the Bundesliga. Stuttgart (06/07), Wolfsburg (08/09), Borussia Dortmund (10/11 and 11/12) and of course, this seasons champion, Bayern Munich (07/08, 09/10 and the current season 12/13).
English Premier League
In the last two decades, the introduction of foreign players to English football is possibly what has made it the competition it is today. Today, the percentage of foreign footballers in the Premier League has reached around 65%, with an average of 16 foreign players per club.
Spanish football has grown immensely throughout the last 10 years. The use of home grown players in the big matches is mostly impressive. The technical ability shown from the Spanish is the last few years has been different class. Their style of play has particularly caught the eye of pundits in the game.
This new style has meant that the Spanish national team has dominated in the last five years, winning both the 2008 and the 2012 European cup, as well as the 2010 World Cup. Barcelona have also been dominating in the club game, winning three Champions League titles since 2006. The percentage of foreign players in the Spanish league is a mere 37%, meaning there is an average of 9 foreign players per club.
German football, like Spain, use a lot of their home grown players. Although German football hasn’t picked up any silverware on the European stage yet, there younger players seem to have finally developed and may be near to their peak, which means the German national team may be the one to watch in the summer of 2014.
The blossoming of German football has also brought us an all-German Champions League final this year. The percentage of foreign footballers in the Bundesliga is an astonishing 22%, meaning the average foreign player per club is just 6.
Comparing the leaders of each league is sure to give us an indication of which league is more competitive than the other. Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Barcelona are all the leaders of the leagues they are in.
Manchester United have failed to score in three of their 36 games so far this season, comparing that to Barcelona and Bayern Munich, who have scored in every game they have played. Although both Barcelona and Munich have played less games, with Barcelona having played 34 games and Munich playing 32.
Another related stat would be that Bayern Munich have managed to keep 20 clean sheets in their 32 league games, conceding just 15 goals. Compare that to Manchester United, who have conceded 37 goals and kept just 12 clean sheets. Barcelona have a similar record, conceding 37 goals, with just nine clean sheets. These stats show that Bayern Munich have had the least competition this season, proving that they have dominated the Bundesliga.
The fans are the most important in Germany. The Bundesliga has the lowest ticket prices and the highest average attendance of Europe's five major leagues. At Borussia Dortmund their giant stand holds 26,000 and costs little more than £10 for admission.
Comparing that to ticket prices in England, or Arsenal, for example, the cheapest an adult member can gain admission is £25.50. A story written by Brian McNally, from The Mirror stated: “Bayern fans can buy a season ticket to stand for just over £104.48 with the most expensive season ticket seat priced at £561.
“By contrast, Gooners fans must fork out between £985 and £1,955 to guarantee their place at the Emirates for a season, but that price includes seven cup or European games.”
German football is clearly on this rise. Whether the Bundesliga can be as big as, or maybe even bigger than either the English Premier League or the Spanish La Liga, remains to be seen. But what is certain is the fact that German football has always been the dark horse, despite the fact that we are seeing an all-German Champions League final this year.
The Bundesliga may not be as competitive as the Premier League just yet, but if they keep producing players like Ozil, Gotze and Schweinsteiger through their academies, then there is no doubt that this debate will stay with us for the years ahead.
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