Football – At the end, the Germans always win

by Charlie_East_West on April 24, 2013

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“Football is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” – Gary Lineker

23rd April 2013
UEFA Champions League Semi Final (first leg)
Bayern Munich 4
Barcelona 0

Last night, Bayern Munich thumped the golden boys of European football – Barcelona, in the semi final (1st leg) of the Champions League. Bayern Munich did their homework on Barcelona, and ruthlessly exploited the fault lines in Barcelona’s fragile defence. Bayern produced some of the finest counter attacking football ever seen.

Today, we have European media outlets once again describing German football as “ruthlessly efficient.”

This may seem like a shock result, considering that Barcelona have dominated European club football for the past 8 years, but to the seasoned football follower, it was not a surprise. Spanish Tiki-Taka is slowly becoming passé. The future is ruthless German efficiency. Less of a defeat for Barcelona, and more of a coronation for Bayern Munich, and indeed, German football.

It now feels as if the Spanish golden era of international and club football is at its fag end stage. Last night’s result was the final confirmation of what was becoming obvious of late. The shift of footballing tectonics has moved back towards German football.

So, what are the reasons for the re-emergence of German football as the dominant force in European football?

We have to look at the historical context to understand the German successes of today. German football is now finally reaping the benefits of a new top to bottom structure put into place after the national team failed to win a single game at Euro 2000.

In 2000/2001, The German Football Federation (DFB) conduced a root and branch overhaul of football at all levels. All Bundesliga clubs established youth academies with professional coaches. It also set up national leagues for youth teams. The academies and youth leagues also provided employment opportunities for young coaches with new ideas.

The German Football League, which runs the Bundesliga, created a reviewing system that makes sure that all clubs adhere to sound financial policies. Income is distributed across the game, and there is no foreign ownership. No single club owner is allowed to hold more than 49 percent of a stake in a club, with the rest in the hands of club members (supporters).

The league has just secured an increase in income of more than 50 percent for television rights in a four-season deal starting next season. The deal brings in around 628 million Euros per year on average, compared with 412 million Euros per year at the moment.

Infrastructure has also improved. As a result of the building programme for their hosting of the 2006 World Cup, Germany now boasts some of the finest arenas in world football, and attracts huge average attendances (2011-2012 Bundesliga season average of 45,000) because of the high quality football, high quality stadiums, and vastly reduced ticketing prices of around 10-15 Euros for standing areas – yes, the Germans even have terraces.

The price of public transport is included in the reduced ticketing price. The clubs also place a limit on the number of season tickets distributed so that other fans can also attend some of the matches.

All of which has made the German football supporter feel franchised with their team. The club is run for the fan – in terms of pricing, ownership, facilities, and also local players playing for the local club.

They are now reaping the rewards. The German Bundesliga is now a model that the busted flush, sugar-daddy ownership model of the English Premier League could learn a thing or two from – high attendances, low ticket prices, free travel on match days, supporter ownership of clubs, and a sustainable youth policy structure at all of the top clubs. Christ, in Germany, you can even stand and have a pint in the stands. But, best of all, unlike our own domestic game, the clubs are all showing huge profits and European success.

The German club sides have been steadily improving in European competition over the past few seasons. Bayern Munich were within a missed penalty kick of winning the Champions League in 2012, and this season, Bayern and Borussia Dortmund are in the semi finals of the Champions League.

The Germans deserve their footballing success. The Germans apply common sense rules, and then apply massive amounts of hard work. This is the German way, not just with football, but with life itself.

“Rücksichtslose leistungsfähigkeit” – as they say in Germany.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East April 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

And under Pep Guardiola. You have to admire his ability to coach teams at the very highest level of widely divergent styles.

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Charlie_East_West April 24, 2013 at 10:16 am

Jupp Heynckes is still in charge at Bayern. Guardiola joins next season.

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George_East April 24, 2013 at 10:49 am

Ah yes – very good point. Engage brain, before commenting. Still can’t see him making them play like Barcelona though.

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Charlie_East_West April 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm

He doesn’t need to. Bayern have worked Barcelona out. Close the midfield and hit them on the counter attack

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George_East April 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Agreed – my point was more that Pep is Barcelona through and through. Learnt his craft at the feet of Cruyuff. The question has to be (which I had prematurely answered like a fool) is whether Pep is able to work with a different system, not whther the team can.

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Charlie_East_West April 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm

George – I agree. He is inheriting a great team, but this could be a poisoned chalice.

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Tez Kemp April 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Ruthless efficiency, it’s how the Germans approach everything.

Nice to see a changing of the guard, I hope the Spineless Lions don’t meet the Germans in the QF in Brazil, Russia and Qatar…..

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Charlie_East_West April 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Tez – good to see you on ATL.
I expect a period of German domination at club and international level.

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Eddie Kaye April 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Possibly Charlie, but we Sassenachs will still bore the tits of anyone who will listen about 1966!

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Charlie_East_West April 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Eddie – that is true. But imagine the haverings from Scotland, if Scotland won the World Cup?
England would quite happily saw through Hadrian’s Wall to get some peace and quiet!

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Charlie_East_West April 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm

It looks as if the German renaissance is complete.
Dortmund 4
Real Madrid 1

After 60 mins…

Eddie Land April 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Bayern were fantastic last night although 4-0 flattered them. The Germans attention to detail can’t be faulted right down to soaking the park before kick-off, something that proved problematic to Barca’s passing game. The question is; how does Guardiola improve this Bayern team.

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Charlie_East_West April 26, 2013 at 11:24 am

It’s four-sprung durch technik.

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