Where a club is a Club: The German Way
With all German clubs from both the Champions League and Europa League advancing to the knockout stages - often in thrilling fashion, much attention is now being giving to what English and Spanish fans happily call “not the best league in the world”. Germany may have replaced Italy as the next best league when it comes to performing in Europe and people are now beginning to notice not only their on-field work, but also how the teams are functioning behind the scenes. The Bundesliga is flourishing and teams are actually turning a profit, which is surprisingly uncommon amongst top European clubs. Because of this, German clubs are less likely and less willing to sell their top talent away to other leagues.
In the Europa League, both Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart have done well to advance, while in the Champions League Schalke look a decent side and Bayern Munich are perennial favourites. The giants from Bavaria are contenders once again to take Europe’s top club prize again after narrowly losing to Chelsea in the final last year on penalties, a game which they never should have lost.
However, it is Borussia Dortmund, winners of the past two Bundesliga titles, who are captivating fans and neutrals alike with their strong attacking play and a youth system that is creating stars like Mario Götze. This season in Germany, Bayern Munich appear to have such a lead in the table that they may be unreachable, but it is the Champions League where Borussia Dortmund’s focus appears to be after last year’s group stage exit. Thrown into the group of death with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax, Dortmund were up against it but managed to come out on top of the group and can now consider themselves one of the bookie favourites to go deep into the tournament.