”Their City, Their Stadium, Our Trophy” as the Chelsea fans would point out with a banner at Stamford Bridge. But as the ball ruffled the net in the Allianz Arena, and the euphoria of the night drew on travelling Chelsea fans, it seemed like it wasn’t just Bayern Munich who lost, probably the biggest loser that day was Germany’s top footballing tier.
German football has been on the rise again in the past decade, enthralling the neutrals with their all-out attacking game on the International stage. Players like Schweinsteiger, Ballack, Klose, Podolski, get their names printed on the back of millions of jerseys worldwide. But it’s baffling how easily people seem to forget or ignore the roots of these footballers.
All of them started their careers in probably the most overlooked league.
While the La Liga, Premier League or even the Serie A continue to hog the limelight, the Bundesliga, quietly, always takes the backseat.
One of the reasons for Bundesliga not being as popular as the others is probably that it wasn’t broadcast throughout the globe until the late 2000’s, and when it did arrive, the English game had already captured peoples’ attention. Another reason being, although it can be said that this point is a bit unfair to players in Germany, is that, it doesn’t have many “Superstars”, i.e, players with a large fan-following . Yes, there aren’t many players who’ll sell millions of jerseys worldwide, but there are players with fantastic talent, superb technique, a brilliant footballing brain. Mainz’s Szalai, Monchengladbach’s Patrick Hermann, Leverkusen’s Daniel Carvajal, Frankfurt’s Takashi Inui are certainly not talked about outside of Germany, but watch them once and they will leave an impression.
Fans of the Premier League will argue that the English game is much more competitive than the two-horse race of La Liga, but Germany’s top tier arguably serves up more enthralling games and more surprises than any other league. Eintracht Frankfurt, a team which got promoted this year, is sitting pretty in a Champions League place.
In tactical terms as well, Bundesliga is right at the top. Jurgen Klopp, one of the best young managers out there, has made Dortmund a real force domestically, as well as in Europe, as Manchester City duly found out. Dortmund’s play typifies everything beautiful about the German game; the crisp, attacking, end-to-end style makes you fall in love with the game all over again.
Munich too, in all fairness, have been a formidable team under Heynckes this season, and with the appointment of Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena for the next season, it will really make for an interesting fight for the title. At Bayer Leverkusen too, you see a unique Sami Hyypia-Sascha Lewandowski pair managing the team to a second place, above Dortmund in third. Armin Veh, another manager, has been doing wonders at Eintracht Frankfurt; after getting them promoted, his team occupy the fourth Champions league spot, so there’s that too.
Not to mention the almost-insane-like support; record attendances, stadiums packed with the supporters chanting and screaming, waving flags and banners; just look at Dortmund’s ‘Yellow Wall’ and you’ll get the gist. Tactical, Attacking, Exciting, Passionate, so is it the best league in the world?..arguably yes!
Italian football enjoyed its time in the spotlight when Milan were formidable in Europe back in the early 2000’s and now perhaps its the La Liga with the Messis and the Ronaldos and the Falcaos, English football has always been ‘up-there’ because of its popularity and a large following throughout the world, so it is only right that the German league be given the recognition. A German team as a European champion? it just seems fair.
Had Drogba missed, had Bayern been champions…the Bundesliga might just have been the biggest winner.