So we now know that this year's European Cup Final will be played between Inter and Bayern. As always, it will be the biggest club game of the season, but this year it has extra significance.
For the past few seasons the Bundesliga teams have been steadily improving on the European scene, so much so that they now stand above Italy in third place of Uefa's coefficiency rankings, albeit by a mere 0.155 points. With two points allocated to each country for a victory by one of its representative clubs, this means that whoever wins the final will take third place in the rankings for their country. The ripple effect of this is that third place this season means four Champions League spots in the 2011-12 season; fourth place means only three.
The positions in the coefficient standings are configured by adding together the points gained by each country over the past five seasons. Bundesliga teams have outscored Italian teams over the last three years, meaning that even if they're unable to overhaul the Seria A teams this season, it is a distinct possibility in the forthcoming years. This becomes more likely when you consider that next season the points from the 2005-06 season are no longer taken into consideration, a year when the Italians scored a 5 point advantage over Germany.
With their sustainable fan owned clubs, their restrictions on televised matches, their modern stadia equipped with safe standing areas, their cheap, affordable tickets and their many other fan friendly measures, including free transport for supporters within the club's home region on matchdays, it has often been argued that German football and its clubs are well run, but ultimately unsuccessful on the European stage. However, now maybe the tide is starting to turn.
Maybe the philosophy of keeping your club in order, working together with supporters to ensure clubs remain an integral part of the community, and then gradually building and improving is bearing fruit. And maybe, hopefully, this will mean that other clubs and national associations around Europe will follow suit and realise that success and sustainability, together with listening to and acting upon the needs and wants of the supporters, can all go together. Now wouldn't that be a revolutionary idea?
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1 Posted 06/05/2010 at 14:50:53
Lets face it, the German Bundesliga is nowhere near the Premier League.
If you want to dumb down the Premier League and send all the decent talent to Spain, Italy or ironically Germany... then the German model is probably the way to go.
However, in Germany, the usual suspects still usually win the league. And Hoffenheim, who are often held up as the success story of the Bundesliga, spent an absolute fortune on young talent to get there...
Unfortunately, money will always talk in the game.
2 Posted 06/05/2010 at 15:11:03
And there are plenty of friendly measures in the Premier League, so long as you're a fan in Asia.
3 Posted 06/05/2010 at 15:18:00
4 Posted 06/05/2010 at 16:27:36
Sure Bayern Munich continued to be in the CL, but they were hardly the power like they were in the FC Hollywood days (at least not until this year), and Borussia Dortmund fell off the map, as did Bayern Leverkusen. And the Italian teams used to spend like the Spanish teams in the transfer market - back in the day when a player like Christiano Ronaldo was put on the market, you could almost guarantee AC Milan, Juventus, and Inter would be in line, but that's not the case right now; big time transfers are now between Spain and England and how long will that last?
Here's a Soccernet article I found today about Liverpool's situation:
Now I don't know if this is exactly true, but this smells of Leeds United all over again, and you wonder who could be next? It wouldn't surprise if we started to see a scaling back in England with a more conservative approach in transfers, etc.
5 Posted 06/05/2010 at 16:36:04
German clubs are also gaining ground both financially and competitively. 8 of the richest 20 clubs are German (and that's just based on turnover, if it was based on profit the story would be even more profound). In the round, it is inescapable that Germany is on the up. And, personally, because of my admiration for how they do it, I'm delighted.
Each to his own, as in everything. But football in England will, at some point, have to rejoin the real world. The Bundesliga shows just what's possible in the real world with good management at every level.
There are lots of things wrong with the Premier League. It's greedy, myopic, elitist, and utterly shit at managing its bountiful resources. There's very little wrong with the Bundesliga and it adheres to principles that are on a different planet to the greed driven EPL. I fully expect to see the likes of Werder Bremen, Schalke & Leverkusen joining Bayern in the advanced stages of European competition.
The EPL is eating its own arse. Nothing lasts forever.
6 Posted 06/05/2010 at 17:00:36
Yes, we do attract players from all over the world but I still say the game was just as exciting before. The down side for me is English teams with little or no English players in it.
Frankly, I think we've all been conned (did New Labour have anything to do with the Premier League). You can bet your life it won't last though, the cracks are starting to appear for all to see.
7 Posted 06/05/2010 at 19:45:01
8 Posted 06/05/2010 at 19:57:39
Oh and at the risk of another squabble Ciarán, surely entertainment is different to quality. We saw a 6-6 in the SPL last night, yet I remember when the Italian footy was shown on CH4 in the 90s and it sent me to sleep more often than the F1!
9 Posted 06/05/2010 at 19:56:33
However, his snipe at new labour was without merit and I sincerely hope we DO NOT go back to Thatcherite government which devastated the Northeast, Northwest and North Wales with unemployment, negative equity and poll tax!!
If he remembers the old First Division, he must remember the Thatcher reign!!
10 Posted 06/05/2010 at 20:12:30
11 Posted 06/05/2010 at 21:17:57
12 Posted 06/05/2010 at 21:43:25
Ciaran, Bayern may be the big team in Germany but in all countries the big times have always remained the same. However in Germany, smaller clubs find it easier to rise and challenge, such as Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim. The latter team may have spent a lot but they are still considered a small club, similar to Fulham rising through the leagues. These success stories are more common in German football.
13 Posted 06/05/2010 at 22:00:24
I watch it regularly on ESPN and I like it. Anybody who went to Nuremburg will remember a great atmosphere, civilised fans, efficient transport, clever policing and a thoroughly good time all round.
Whilst German clubs have not won much in Europe recently their National team has always been there or thereabouts indicating the old German virtues of planning and preparation are still strong. Compare that to the money driven antics in England. Would the Germans be waiting until after the season had begun to bring in new players as Everton have done in the last 2 summers leading to poor starts? Of course not. Nobody would plan that, but Everton are beholden to the all powerful force of money and having to wait for the Sky money every August before getting players in.
I hope Platini gets his way, Abramovich does one, those Manc Arabs get bored, that Liverpool go into administration and that Manure have to re-form as Newton Heath and play in Norwich City colours. Money is making the game rotten to the core.
14 Posted 06/05/2010 at 23:58:55
15 Posted 07/05/2010 at 01:29:17
I really do like the way they go about their football and the way the league is run. I also believe a lot of the clubs buy from the lower leagues and try to do their business as quickly as possible.
Already Schalke have purchased 3 players as they were challenging for this year's title. They got Metzelder from Real Madrid for free and got Tim Hoogland from Mainz for free and a youngster from Kaiserlautern in the Bundesliga 2.
Stuttgart in the past have also bought from the lower leagues with the likes of Christian Trasch and Timo Gebhardt with Trasch being named in the provisional Germany World Cup squad and Gebardt being tipped to be there in a few years. Only Bayern Munich still buy big when they require like the Sky 4 in England which has not always worked for them as this is the first year they have won the league for a few years and it was not the big money buys that got them there this year.
The good thing at the moment about watching the German league is that it is not just Bayern can win the league although they have a lot in the past but teams like Wolfsburg and Schalke have a chance as well as Bremen, Dortmund, Leverkusen and maybe Hamburg.
16 Posted 07/05/2010 at 02:53:24
"I shouldn't be so lazy and look it up, but didn't the Bundesliga and the Serie A go through massive financial problems which forced them to scale back? As we well know, if you don't have the money, you're not getting the crème de le crème of footie talent and there is a parallel between the financial health of a domestic league and how prominent that league's big clubs are in the transfer market"
And isn't the EPL going through massive financial problems too?
17 Posted 07/05/2010 at 10:21:47
They are not the same thing... but they are not necessarily mutually exclusive either.
The point I was trying to make, is that it would be wrong to assume that the lower teams in the prem are devoid of quality — it would also be wrong to say that they do not provide entertainment too.
18 Posted 07/05/2010 at 16:45:00
19 Posted 07/05/2010 at 16:45:14
The Bundesliga is a fair league where clubs are unable to just buy the title. The reason why the German philosophy has never been implemented in Britain is to keep the same teams in the top 4 and prevent teams from growing. Last season Wolfsburg won the league for the first time in their history, the equilvalent of Sunderland winning the league.
The German league has the highest amount of supporters that wacth the games live from the stadium in the world so therefore it must be pretty interesting. They haven't sold their soul to Sky TV and they care about their supporters so it would seem that German supporters get a better deal than us.
20 Posted 07/05/2010 at 17:36:54
Between our two sides, we have won more titles than any other English city and that was when United had Charlton, Best and Law and City had Summerby, Bell and Lee. London clubs got very short shrift on Merseyside and United were only challengers.
MONEY has caused the present situation and I do not think that the present day top two managers are as good as the previous managers who created great sides without bringing in foreign ready made stars. The English league title is now devalued and our present setup is a lot like the Scottish league with only two clubs who have realistic chances of winning the title.
MONEY is the only way Manchester City can gatecrash the top two. Arsenal is the only top side who have not spent anything like as much to get where they are and Wenger is to be admired for bringing in fine young players at fairly low cost.
I do enjoy watching Premier League football, but the fun at being able to have a punt on EFC winning the title has gone.... I have had some good wins (and losses) in the past. I won a lot when we won the title and Leeds were runners up and also on the 1966 cup final. But, I got caned when we lost to WBA. We actually beat WBA 6-2 and 4-0 in the league matches that season....!!!
21 Posted 07/05/2010 at 21:16:44
The German Bundesliga is the best supported League in Football in terms of average attendances. The pricing policy puts the Premier League Clubs to shame. Yes, Bayern are their equivalent of Man United/Chelsea but there is still greater competition e.g. Wolfsburg winning the title last year.
And when you consider that Borussia Dortmund have an average attendance greater then Man United, but they have had nowhere near the same success, it suggests that the Germans must be doing something right — probably giving a greater priority to treating the fans with respect.
22 Posted 07/05/2010 at 23:37:13
23 Posted 08/05/2010 at 12:17:15
In fact, I'd go further to say that Scudamore and Co aren't really any better than the rightly vilified bankers and brokers — scheming, short-term, opportunists who are only interested in making themselves richer and fuck everyone else who loses out along the way.
Yes, we now have some of the world's best players in our top flight now and we've had a few good years in Europe, but that's only because we've spent ludicrous amounts of cash to get them there. Fundamentally it's not much different to Italy in the 80s or even the USA's attempts to kick off soccer in the 70s. If it's only about the cash then what's to stop the Chinese or Arabs kicking off their own league in Hong Kong/Dubai and shipping players in on ludicrous tax-free salaries?
In actual fact, the only thing that is stopping that (and which ultimately saw footie fail in the US) is the lack of respect and history to rival British football, a lack of passionate support that cares about the game and a lack of deep grass roots.
If you think about the bigger picture, the real strength of English football isn't the overpaid mercenaries at the top who can't get out of bed for less than £50k + image rights, it's the guys that turn out at Grimsby on a wet Wednesday and the massive pyramid of semi-professional and amateur leagues below that. It's the strength of the foundations, not the penthouse that really matters, because when you start to chip away at the foundations, that penthouse has a problem. Sadly at the moment the pricks in the penthouse show no respect or care for the layers below them and are only focused on making their nest bigger, heavier and more opulent, hoovering up the resources (bricks if you like to continue the metaphor) from the foundations to do so.
If the Premier League ultimately topples tomorrow or the Sky 4 piss off to set up the much threatened European super league somewhere else then it really wouldn't be the end of English football anymore than a clutch of bankers scuttling off under their rocks in Switzerland.
Yes, there'll be some short-term pain but, once the dust settled, quite frankly it could be the best thing to happen because it would get people back caring about the fundamentals and remembering what footie was all about in the first place, going along to the local clubs on a Saturday, caring passionately about the FA Cup or the local derby above finishing top 4/7 in the league, and it would inevitably also end the fucking ridiculous escalation of player wages.
And it could actually happen sooner than we think. Premier League-led football, like the housing market and the rest of the UK economy, is a game that's eating itself. We often hear that football is a business nowadays, but if that's the case it's a fucking terrible business. When clubs are getting guaranteed revenues of £30 million from TV, plus the same again and more in match day and commercial incomes and they're still losing money then there's a pretty obvious problem there.
Obviously the argument goes, all this cash is spent in the name of competition and at the end of the day like it or not, 'that's the going rate for xyz player'. But surely that's madness — when the only way any club can compete in a league is to mortgage the club's heritage into massive debt (either to the banks or some billionaire owner), then surely we need to say the Premier League is broken and needs to be changed.
For my money the two main issues that need addressing immediately as I see it are:
i) player wages
ii) agents and consultants
The former have got to a ludicrous level that is not only out of touch with the rest of society and moral values (when even the bankers use footballers to try and defined their exorbitant salaries you know there's a problem), it's also completely out of sync with the benefit they are actually involved in generating — i.e. if the clubs aren't making any profits how can the workers demand a payrise?
The latter are hideous parasites that have simultaneously exacerbated the player wage issue and taken undeserved millions out of the clubs themselves.
The good thing is that the way forward is incredibly simple:
i) We fix a limit on player wages a club can pay out, either a percentage of their income or an agreed amount across the league (NFL style) — this doesn't mean entering into any complex individual pay limiting antics and the inevitable European regulations we'd contravene, it just means that clubs will need to make smarter decisions and overall the salaries would have to be set lower.
ii) In the event that we can't actually just shoot all the bastards, we ensure that ALL agents are paid from player income/salaries only and NEVER from the clubs — they are after all working on behalf of the players so why the fuck are the clubs paying their wages? It would be like the home buyer having to pay an estate agent (see agents = cunts) after they'd already argued the price up against them, madness!
So, err, that was a bit of a longer rant than I'd hoped, but ultimately my point is yes, Derek, it's a very good point and the German model may well be the way ahead. [And relax...]
24 Posted 08/05/2010 at 14:42:46
The agents are parasites but no different to unions in industry. They have got just regards for their clients who used to be oppressed (20 pounds per week, anybody). They are legal and whilst some control may be necessary they must stay.
I also believe that nothing will change and perhaps it shouldn't apart from making Clubs run themselves as any other business. For me, the market should always determine what happens to Limited Companies. EPL is unsustainable and is now undergoing a long overdue correction.
Will Everton have a lot of money to buy players this summer? Not a chance because they can't buck reality regardless of the unrealistic expectations of some fans and the millstone of its club motto.
25 Posted 08/05/2010 at 15:02:41
26 Posted 08/05/2010 at 18:40:41
"The EPL is eating its own arse. Nothing lasts forever"
Spot fucking on!
The EPL is the most near-sighted, putrid, avaricious organization on the planet.
For them, as long as things are fine THIS second, the future will be fine.... probably... possibly.
Incredibly stupid and staggeringly greedy and like all organisations with ONLY these 'attributes', they WILL end up eating their own arses.
I hope their guts are off when they do!
27 Posted 09/05/2010 at 08:34:08
Apart from the price of the tickets, what is most noticable is the closeness of the supporters to the club. They open the doors to the supporters to watch training on Fridays, the players are more accessible to the fans, and everybody seems to be part of one of the hundreds of small fan clubs who seem to have greater involvement with and influence on the club than we have over here.
28 Posted 10/05/2010 at 11:48:30
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