The Bundesliga was voted the ‘Best League in the World’ by british ‘World Soccer’ magazine a few years ago. Average attendance, European Success, Structure, Club Management, Role of the fans, ticket pricing were some of the factors involved.
I am a sports fanatic, not just into soccer / football. I have always followed the Bundesliga and with a dad from Munich, no offense 1860 fans, the choice was obvious.
I have always been puzzled by the way people feel and think about the Premier League. It calls itself the best league in the world and advertises this globally.
The money is certainly there. Within the league, within the clubs and it all comes from TV rights and selling jerseys really.
The Premier League has a huge following in Ireland, many if not most great Irish players have played there or still do. It seems bizarre to me that the Irish support, of all countries, the British League (British, not English as Welsh clubs are tolerated in it). A bit like the Dutch or Austrians suddenly turning into German Bundesliga fans. Not going to happen I guess.
But what are the facts ? The Premier League is ranked 3rd in Europe only, a good bit behind the Bundesliga and then the Spanish league holding the top spot. The Italian League is close behind the Premier League by the way. Funnily people who give the Bundesliga a chance are usually pleasently surprised by its standard, atmosphere and overall quality.
The big and rich Premier League clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea have been failing in the Champions League in recent years, the same goes for Arsenal or Liverpool, Manchester United not even playing in it which shows, just like in Real Madrid’s case for quite a few years that money does not always buy success.
To call the Premier League a very competitive league may be true but there have been just as many different German teams winning the domestic league as there have been English ones in the past 15 years. The Irish league is also quite competitive judging on different teams winning it.
Bundesliga clubs are not owned by oil billionaires from Russia or Sheiks, nor by American Investors. The clubs ensure that the fans have quite a bit of power when it comes to changes, decision affecting the clubs. Ticket prices are a lot cheaper and having the choice of watching Leicester City for GBP 70-80 for an average seat or Bayern Munich from behind the goal for EUR 15 or best ticket in the house for EUR 60 I would probably choose the latter (apart from being a Bayern supporter). The 2 best players in the world (not counting Gareth Bale) play for Spanish Clubs. Buying players from abroad and relying on selling their jersey is a massive problem for the Premier League. Domestic players spend less time on the pitch than their non british team mates and the percentage of home grown players in a Premier League Club is signicantly less than in comparison, a Bundesliga club. Coaching is a different issue. No English Manager has ever lead a Premier League team to a domestic title (nope, Sir Alex is Scottish) and Juergen Klopp’s success is also not a surprise either.
When we look at German’s success Internationally…7 titles (4 WCs, 3 EC,s) and compare it to England, well then it becomes clear where the problem lies.
Youth/Academy work. The Dutch and French have shown the way, Germany have improved massively in this respect and for one of the countries NOT making the semifinals is seen as a big failure, for the other it would be a great success. It is no coincidence that the FA has approached the German FA and both have agreed to work closely together over the next few years for the English FA to achieve, as England manager Southgate stated, ‘some of that German winning drive and success’.
The media in the UK have been quite positive on German football as well as fair as opposed to earlier times whereas I am still surprised about the negative talk the German teams get from some of the Irish pundits on tv. Eircom (or ‘Ei’) customers with BTSports and ESPN can enjoy 3-4 live Bundesliga matches +Cup games, 2. Bundesliga) every weekend by the way and…also Premier League matches as well.
We live in this stereotypes loaded world and unless we look behind the scenes and give something new a chance, we remain stuck in those cliches and believe that the Premier League is…the best in the world.