The impact of Bundesliga clubs in the Champions League this season shows just how far the league has come over the last few years.
With Borussia Dortmund already securing qualification for the quarter-finals of the competition, Bayern Munich and Schalke currently sit in the driving seat of their ties to be played next week.
Bayern are already 3-1 up before hosting Arsenal, while the Dortmund play Galatasaray having scored a precious away goal in a 1-1 draw in Turkey.
As things stand, there’s a realistic possibility that Real Madrid may be the only club left from both La Liga and the Premier League, while the Bundesliga could have three. To add further insult, all three teams topped their groups, with Dortmund finishing top ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City, while Schalke beat Arsenal in the process. It’s worth noting that Bayern are the only German club to lose a game in the competition this season.
Interestingly, Schalke are struggling in the league and currently sit in sixth place, showing how tough the league is starting to become. Hamburg, with players like Rafael Van der Vaart and Son Heung-Min - the latter a talented young player courted by a host of top European clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea, are also struggling domestically.
Credit can be due to a host of exciting young German talent that have snubbed moves abroad in order to aid development, with their clubs reaping the benefits. It’s no surprise that the German national side are currently on a 26 match unbeaten streak in both European Championship and World Cup qualifying stages. With the likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Manuel Neuer and Andre Schurrle topping a list of hot young protégés, along with the likes of Philip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez, it has made for a more competitive league.
The appointment of Guardiola to Bayern Munich is also seen as a massive coup for the league and could prove instrumental in it’s progress. Already a massive club, the lure of one of the best managers in the world could attract players who would previously have opted to play in a “better” league. It will be interesting to see if the Barcelona contingent of David Villa, Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Tello or Thiago Alacantra could follow suit if promised first team football.
Already hosting top foreign players in the league including Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and Klaus Jan Huntelaar, the introduction of Guardiola could see a rise in foreigners wanting to play under him.
With the cheapest ticket prices between the top nations in Europe, the efficiency of the league makes sell out matches a regular occurrence.
If German teams can continue to thrive in Europe, especially with the type of football played by clubs like Dortmund this season, then it can only lead to attracting more interest internationally for the league – even resulting in lucrative television revenues similar to the Premier League. The recent German Cup match between Bayern and Dortmund on a Wednesday night led to massive interest online proving that there is growing interest in the league.
This season has seen the Bundesliga take the fourth qualification spot for the Champions League away from Serie A for the first time, again showing progress and if it can continue to rapidly improve then it could eventually compete with the other two superpowers.
In 1992, when the Premier League started, the leagues in Italy and France were considered superior but look how far it has come in just over 20 years due to many influences including financial advantages from television revenue. So if the Bundesliga can continue to improve at this pace, then who’s to say it can’t give the other two a run for it’s money.
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