The German Bundesliga has always been a strong league. However, in recent years, it hasn’t been able to compete with the big spenders in the English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
Despite this, over the summer, German clubs have attracted some of Europe’s big names, and many young talented prospects play in Germany. However, Germany’s biggest talent, Mesut Ozil left Werder Bremen to join Real Madrid for £11.5million.
There is not as much money in the Bundesliga as their European rivals. But, the structure of the league makes it very attractive place to play football. Brazilian starlet Diego played his best football for Werder Bremen before making the big move to Juventus last season. However, after a dismal season in Italy, Diego has returned to Germany, this time playing for Wolfsburg.
Raul turned down an alleged move to Tottenham, and is now playing for Schalke, who also splashed out for Christoph Metzelder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. So what is it, that makes these top class players and the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy want to play in Germany?
Style and quality
An obvious reason for wanting to play football in Germany is the style and quality of football on offer. Bayern Munich impressed everyone in last season’s Champions League. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are top class players, but the whole Bayern team were brilliant as they pushed aside Manchester United.
However, Bayern are not alone. Werder Bremen, despite losing Ozil to Real Madrid, play some very attractive football. Marko Marin has stepped into Ozil’s boots, and looks like a very confident and able player. Bayer Leverkusen should have won last year’s Bundesliga, and Bayern pipped them to the title after a late surge.
But it is not just the top teams that play good football in Germany. Teams like Hoffenheim, FC Mainz (who currently top the Bundesliga table) and Dortmund play the type of football you would expect at Ajax or Arsenal.
Okay, so the Bundesliga doesn’t have as many international stars as other European leagues. However, the grassroot development of football is very similar to the Netherlands, meaning young Germans are brought up to play this attractive passing football.
Money is clearly a barrier to a lot of German teams signing big names. However, there isn’t really a need to spend big in the Bundesliga. Due to every club having a solid youth system and so many young promising players already playing in Germany, clubs do not need to import so many players from abroad.
Every group of supporters believe they are the most passionate and vocal. However, the Bundesliga is certainly one of the front runners. Tickets are extremely cheap, even for the top games. In fact, German fans simply refuse to pay a lot of money to watch football. Last week, 1,500 Dortmund fans boycotted an away game at Schalke in protest at having to pay £19 for a ticket.
Prices have been increasing, but German fans see past the money that seems to control football in many European leagues. However, this idealism puts the biggest restriction on German football, preventing it from competing with the rest of Europe.
The Bundesliga seems to get more competitive every year. This season, 8 or 9 teams will believe they are in with a chance of winning the title. However, differences in budgets means to some extent, the Bundesliga continues to be a feeder division to the rest of Europe.