What the Premier League Should Learn from the Rise of German Football

Bayern MunichGermany really made their mark on Europe last season, and some football fans have stood up and took notice that the German Bundesliga seems to do things the right way. Germany dominated in the UEFA Champions League last season with their top two clubs gaining access to the final at Wembley at the end of May. Borussia Dortmund are now known for their fast fluid game but a nut that can be cracked, whereas Bayern Munich crippled teams including the mighty FC Barcelona in their UEFA Champions League run.

It appears that the dominance of German football is on its way back into Europe, with German sides having struggled in the past; the last German winners of the Champions League were Bayern Munich, who beat Valencia of Spain on penalties back in 2001. Recently however, Germany has been the main subject of conversation in a number of discussions, and the ultimate conclusion is that they come top in every category.

There has been call for change to the English Premier League for their extravagance and granting players high wages. There has also been discussion of ticket prices, with Arsenal charging their own supporters £94 in a Champions League match against Bayern Munich last season. Football attendances in the Premier League cannot be compared to those of Germany, and above all, Deutschland creates a unique atmosphere that cannot be matched. This account it going to explore those areas in which supporters think are the main ingredients to make their game special, and what changes could be made to improve certain leagues around Europe.

Let’s begin with ticket prices - as this has been a conversation that has never been concluded - which somewhat upset supporters of clubs in the United Kingdom because it appears that the famous English game has lost its identity. A season ticket standing on the famous ‘Yellow Wall’ of Borussia Dortmund costs a supporter around £154 for seventeen league games with an extra £33 on top for three Champions League group games. This is alien to many supporters around Europe, especially in the English Premier League, as the cheapest seat at Old Trafford for one Champions League game costs an adult £40.

When focusing on the league games, it costs an average Mainz 05 supporter €13 to stand to watch their team each game, and this seems relatively cheap. To add insult to injury, when a supporter pays for a ticket for Bundesliga game, they are entitled to free public transport to the stadium within a certain distance, something again that wouldn’t happen in other countries. It will cost a Chelsea supporter £59 for a Premier League game, and this is just simply entry to Stamford Bridge. This is one area that the German Bundesliga cannot be beaten on; they look after their supporters because their supporters are the club.

Borussia DortmundThis flows nicely onto attendances at matches, and the Bundesliga has the highest average attendance, which was just over 45,000 last season, making it the best-attended league in world football. Let alone Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park holding 80,000 supporters and Bayern Munich along with FC Schalke 04 holding 60,000. In the Premier League, the average attendance was just over 34,000 last season, which is quite low when you hear many English football supporters claiming that it is the greatest league in the world. However, it appears that this has become a bit of a myth due to poor home and away attendances by English supporters in many Premier League grounds.

It has often been noticed on many occasions that there seems to be more empty seats than actual away supporters. Borussia Mönchengladbach reportedly took 10,000 supporters to their away leg in Lazio last season, which is astonishing seeing at this was a midweek game. Borussia Dortmund are well known as well for transporting many supporters when they play away, and it again was reported that they brought double their allocation to Madrid for their UEFA Champions League second leg last season. Some German support cannot be rivaled around the world as the noise and positive atmosphere they accumulate is dumbfounding.

As attendances at matches have been discussed, it now only feels right to move onto the stadiums in Germany. Many stadiums in Germany are very impressive, with sites such as the Veltins Arena, Allianz Arena, Signal Iduna Park, and the Commerzbank Arena among those that are worthy of mention. Germany has seen ten new stadiums built since the millennium, all with safe standing areas that mainly create the unique atmosphere many football fans witness. However, it could be argued that this is only because Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, and the majority of supporters would probably be correct. But many stadiums in Germany have also seen renovations, and most famously, SC Freiburg’s ground becoming completely solar-powered.

Many English clubs have been knocked back when trying to get stadium approval or not able to get the appropriate funding to support them. Everton have been knocked back twice when trying to build a new stadium, once for their design at the site at Kings Dock and also their attempts in Kirkby. Liverpool have also not succeeded when trying to get a new stadium, and it seem that they have accepted defeat, claiming they will try and renovate Anfield. Chelsea is another club that is struggling to get land to build their new stadium, as they were recently rejected for site in London.

Bayern MunichWhen looking to finances, many clubs around the world such as those in the English Premier League have gone into administration due to the overspending on certain players and their wages. Portsmouth is the club that is always on the end of fans lips when overspending is mentioned, and there have been very few success stories when a ‘consortium’ has taken over a football club.

Blackburn Rovers, who were relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago, have now nearly been relegated again from the Championship, with poor organisation and spending extravagantly costing them dearly. Liverpool is a famous club worldwide but nearly fell into the black hole of administration a few years ago due to their attraction of trying to get to the next level and compete with the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City. QPR could be the next club that could turn out like Portsmouth, with the majority of their average players being on high wages.

When moving the attention slightly and focusing on Germany, there are certain rules and regulations that football clubs in the Bundesliga need to follow. In Germany, the ’50+1′ rule means that its members must own a minimum of fifty-one per cent of a German football club, meaning their own supporters own the club. This means that followers associations have a straight say in the organisation of their club, while private business are still able to invest.

When the German Bundesliga became a league in 1963, they put in place a ‘licensing system’ that was intended to remain clubs financially solvent. The German Football League look at every Bundesliga club’s finances before each league season, and failure to ‘stay fit’ could result in the club not having their license renewed and potential relegation. A recent Bundesliga report released earlier this year demonstrated that fourteen out of the eighteen Bundesliga teams reported profits. The league reported a turnover of €26 billion for the first time in its fifty-year history. Factors such as these that make the Bundesliga thrive leave the Premier League something to learn from German football.

Written by James Williams

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Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich: Champions League Final Preview

Champions League Final: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern MunichBorussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich, the first ever all-German Champions League final, will take place at Wembley on May 25th. Both teams have thoroughly deserved their place there and have been strong and consistent all tournament. In this year’s final, both clubs are rich in history, rivalry, and both have the chance to make history.

For Bayern, it is a case of righting the wrongs of previous finals and tournaments where they came so close, yet so far. In fact, the last 2 finals they have been in, they finished as runners’ up. In 2010, they were defeated by 2 Diego Milito goals as Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan completed the treble at the Bernabeu. In 2012, they lost on penalties to Chelsea in their own stadium.

This is something which will be in their minds and no doubt they’ll use it as a spring-board to ensure they are fully focused for the game. Bastian Schweinsteiger will no doubt remember last year at the Allianz, as it was his penalty which Petr Cech saved to give Didier Drogba the opportunity the win the Champions League for Chelsea.

These memories will be fresh in the minds of fans and players alike, and they will no doubt want to put it right. If they did lose to Dortmund in the final, they would have come runners’ up in the tournament more than any other team. No doubt, an unwanted title.

Bayern head into the game at Wembley as Bundesliga Champion, and have fought off Barcelona in the semi-finals with ultimate ease, after the 7-0 aggregate win over the Catalan Giants. It was 2 nights to remember for all. The players really turned on the style, and in all fairness, shocked a lot of football fans in doing so.

Bayern 4-0 BarcelonaAll players are in top form going into the game, and hopeful, they can continue their great form for a final game, and sign off in style. If Bayern do win the final, they will complete a tremendous treble, in what has been a glorious season for Jupp Heynckes’ men.

Dortmund haven’t won the Champions league since 1997 after a 3-1 victory over Italian Giants Juventus at the Olympiastadion in Munich, a match which included current Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert. It will surely be their greatest moment to date, but this match will be a brilliant opportunity for this young team to make a real statement in European football.

Whilst they may not be the most prolific team in the tournament, having only scored 23 to Bayern’s 29, they can boast the second most prolific goal scorer in Robert Lewandowski, who has netted 2 less than Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

This will be Dortmund’s second ever European final, and they will relish the chance to rewrite the history books. A real blow for them will be not having Mario Götze available through a knee injury sustained in the second leg of Dortmund’s semi-final clash with Real Madrid.

The young German has had a massive part to play in Dortmund’s European adventure this season and has been a key figure in attack for them. He quite possibly could have been somewhat a controversial figure in the final following the confirmation of his summer move to Bayern from Dortmund. If Götze was fit to play, this would have been his last ever game in a Dortmund shirt.

So, how will this game be won and lost?

Effectiveness of Dortmund’s Counterattack

Robert Lewandowski and Mario GotzeDortmund are a team that have quite often defended deeply, so they can try to hit team on the counterattack. Not many teams in Europe are better in this transition than Jurgen Klopp’s side. This tactic depends on the effectiveness of their holding midfielders, Sven Bender and İlkay Gündoğan.

As Dortmund concede space, it leaves them with a fair bit of work to do and some ground to cover. They need to ensure they’re preventing the likes of Thomas Müller from getting into space and finding an opening for a chance, otherwise Dortmund’s back 4 can be exposed and put under a lot of pressure.

Arjen Robben’s Attacking Flair

The Dutchman showed a completely different side to his game in the semi-finals against Barcelona. Not one for being much of a team player or tracking back, this is something which he willingly did throughout both legs whenever Barcelona attacked.

But, it is in the attacking third where Robben can be most crucial. He is able to drive at Marcell Schmelzer, who sometimes dives into challenges a bit too eagerly when facing his attacker. This may be where the majority of Bayern’s chances come from.

Marco Reus vs Bastian Schweinsteiger & Javi Martínez

Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Real MadridWith Mario Götze injured, the onus is now on Marco Reus to support Robert Lewandowski with his intelligence and touch. In any other game, this wouldn’t be seen as a big problem for the 23-year-old, but he now faces the task of beating Schweinsteiger and Martinez as they look to combat the midfield and be midfield generals.

The duo showed how impressive they are when working together ion the middle of the park when they stopped Xavi and Andres Iniesta from being their influential selves. Reus will no doubt have to be on top of his game to defeat these two.

Dortmund’s Right Flank

The Dortmund right flank is traditionally a strong one, with Polish internationals Lucasz Piszczek and Jakub Blaszczykowski combining smoothly and providing chances for Lewandowski & co. Piszczek’s overlapping has featured rather heavily for Dortmund in the last couple of years. This will be an interesting match up, going up against Franck Ribéry and David Alaba.

Bayern’s Game Changers

If Dortmund’s starting eleven starts strongly, then they will be very tough to beat. But as the game wears on, problems may occur with the players getting tired and fatigue kicking in. If this was to happen, Jupp Heynckes will see this as an advantage to his team, and when you look at his bench, and it has the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Luis Gustavo, and Mario Gomez, players who are proven to be capable of influencing a game. Klopp on the other hand, cannot call on such calibre, so the last 20 minutes may be tough for his side.

Last 3 meetings:

  • Dortmund 1-1 Bayern (Bundesliga)
  • Bayern 1-0 Dortmund (German Cup)
  • Bayern 1-1 Dortmund (Bundesliga)

When looking at these last 3 results, it looks as if there is nothing to choose between the two sides, and the game looks like it could be fairly open with the team’s styles of play. It will be a brilliant final for everyone, and the side who wins will undoubtedly deserve the title “Champions of Europe.”

Written by OneFutbol

Borussia Dortmund Superstar Mario Götze Signs for Bayern Munich in €37m Deal

Mario Gotze“Everyone knows how comfortable I feel in Dortmund. The club is far from finished with their recent resurgence. And I want to be part of this development.” -Mario Götze | 27 March, 2012

This quote was said by Mario Götze himself, answering questions in an interview after signing his contract extension with Borussia Dortmund that would keep him at the club until 2016. However, there was always one area of his contract that stood out that kept major clubs around Europe and Germany keeping a close eye on this talented players progress.

This was, of course, his buy out clause, which was €37 million, and on the 23 April 2013, Bayern Munich paid the fee for his services, making him the most expensive German player ever. It has been reported that Mario Götze will officially move to Bayern Munich at the end of this German Bundesliga season that would end an emotional spell at Dortmund, which started when he was just eight years of age.

This account is going to focus on what Mario Götze has done in his short career so far, and whether this will be the right move for him in terms of progressing his career and molding him into the perfect player. This article will also concentrate on how Borussia Dortmund will recover from this loss and whether BVB can still challenge Bayern Munich at the top to continue the rivalry football fans love to observe.

There is no doubt about it, Mario Götze is a credit to Borussia Dortmund’s youth academy, as he is a distinctive player coming through the ranks with a crop of talented football players. The current Dortmund number 10 made his first appearance in the Bundesliga in November 2009 against Mainz 05, after being put on in place of Jakub Błaszczykowski.

Mario GotzeJürgen Klopp was aware of Götze’s talent and upgraded him to the Borussia Dortmund first team, which has proved to be a wise decision. That year, Dortmund won the German Bundesliga, and Mario Götze played his part in making this happen.

There was a slight delay on Mario Götze’s progression however, due to him having problems with his hip; he was out of action for a while before returning to action against Borussia Mönchengladbach in April 2012. The return was perfect timing for Borussia Dortmund and Mario Götze, as there were huge games coming up.

That season Götze was part of a Borussia Dortmund team that broke the German Bundesliga record for acquiring the highest points tally in one season. To further this great season for Borussia Dortmund, they went on to beat Bayern Munich in the final of the DFB Pokal with the score of 5-2, however Mario Götze only made the substitutes.

This season has proved to Mario Götze’s most influential, however as he has played a huge part in Borussia Dortmund’s season, even though they have not been able to keep up with the force that is Bayern Munich. Götze has played 2028 minutes in the Bundesliga this season, scoring 10 goals in the league and gaining 8 assists. He has also created 138 chances for his Dortmund teammates and had 56 attempts on goal.

Götze has appeared in 28 games this Bundesliga campaign with 23 being in the starting line up. It just shows how influential Mario Götze is, with him touching the ball 1487 times and him being fouled 63 is miraculous. His pass succession rate is also 85.8%, which proves his style of play of being a short sharp passer of the ball.

Mario Gotze‘Götzinho’ has not only made a huge impact domestically, but also on the European stage too. Borussia Dortmund have advanced into the UEFA Champions League semi-final and will play Real Madrid for a trip to Wembley in May. He has been influential in wins against Shakhtar Donetsk, Real Madrid, and Malaga in this Champions League campaign. He has scored 2 goals in the UEFA Champions League this season and gained 4 assists, proving Dortmund’s dominance in Europe.

With Mario Götze moving to Bayern Munich however, you have to focus the attention on Borussia Dortmund and how they will recover from this huge loss. Jürgen Klopp has been seen taking the Götze loss in good vein with his recent press conference (see video below), but did mention he was annoyed at the timing of the transfer as he feels it may disrupt the team’s preparation against Real Madrid:

“It could have been worse; it could have happened a couple of hours before the game. But on a scale of one to 10, this is a nine. We all know why it has come out now. We don’t know why the people who have leaked this have done so at such a delicate time. We can only speculate but we are all making the same suppositions.”

He also made it aware that the BVB fans should not single out Mario Götze and that the atmosphere at the ‘Signal Iduna Park’ should be special as always. ‘Kloppo’ also stated that he could not stand in Mario Götze’s way, because he described Pep Guardiola as being a ‘special coach’ and that Götze was the main player he wanted at Bayern Munich.

But assessing whether Borussia Dortmund can recover from this is crazy due to their talent at the club. Marco Reus is another player of fantastic ability, and one you could argue that he has had an even better season than Mario Götze. Rumors have also been flying around that Robert Lewandowski is leaving, but he may stay to see his contract out as he only has one year left on his current deal.

Mario GotzeBut you have to gaze at what these players Jürgen Klopp has brought to the club and what they are worth now compared to when they entered the club. ‘Kloppo’ has brought the likes of Lewandowski for €4.5 million, Hummels and Gündogan both for €4 million, Blaszczykowski for €3 million, Piszczek for free, and other players coming through the clubs fantastic youth system. It needs to be remembered that the club nearly went into bankruptcy in 2005, and that times are far better than what they were.

Jürgen Klopp can again achieve this and he probably has a few irons in the fire on who to bring in next season as he has the task of replacing Mario Götze. Super Mario will still give his all for the rest of his Dortmund career and will always have them in a special place in his heart.

Written by James Williams

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: Comfortable Win Sees Dortmund Advance

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Shakhtar DonetskAfter a tight draw in the first leg, Shakhtar set out to Germany to try and get back the away goals they had conceded and turn things around. Unfortunately for them, however, the BvB Stadion Dortmund is one of the hardest places in Europe to play at when you’re trying to get things back!

The German hosts went into this game on the back of a comfortable win against Hannover in the German Bundesliga the previous weekend, and although Hannover weren’t as tough as Shakhtar were expected to be, the win was a very encouraging one. Shakhtar, in the same manner, had earned a great victory over Volyn Lutsk in the Ukrainian Premier Liga the previous weekend, and so they were also in high hopes for their trip to Germany.

The hosts had, no doubt, the upper hand going into this game because of the 2 away goals they had managed to score in the first leg of this match, meaning that even if they would set out to defend, they had themselves a spot. Jurgen Klopp, however, is not one to opt to play the underdog in any game. In this situation, he didn’t even plan a defensive game.  Mircea Lucescu, in the same manner, planned to give double of what he had given in the first leg, knowing that this would be the decider for his side.

For the first half of this game, the hosts were more in control as they tried to get an early lead over their opponents. In as early as the 12th minute, they had their first good chance from a Lewandowski effort, but Pyatov was there to save the day to Shakhtar’s delight.

13 minutes later, however, Pyatov was defeated when Felipe Santana delivered the hosts’ first one of the night with a fine header from a Mario Gotze corner; this was his fourth assist for his side in their European campaign this season.

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Shakhtar DonetskBut they were still not satisfied just yet! Just 4 minutes later, Gotze was almost part of another assist, but it didn’t work like they wanted.

On the 37th minute, however, Mario Gotze got a chance to score one himself and took it well! 2-0 for Dortmund, and even before halftime, it seemed to be all over for Shakhtar, who had their heads down at this point. The man of the half for Dortmund was certainly Mario Gotze. On the Shakhtar side, it had to be Kucher, because of his evident hard work.

Mircea Lucescu now had to score three goals in just 45 minutes to get his side through on away goals, but Dortmund weren’t about to let him even try! He took off Taison, who’d been above average for his side, for Douglas Costa at the half to see what he would contribute to his side, and almost immediate impact was seen as he had an attempt just two minutes later.

The whole Shakhtar team was buzzing to score and try to get something back, playing faster in the second half, but Dortmund were still very strong. 59 minutes in, Pyatov had a bit of trouble keeping the ball, and the hosts had their third of the night, courtesy of Błaszczykowski! 30 minutes to now score 4 goals was simply not enough!

Douglas Costa kept shining while trying to look for some sort of consolation for his side, but it was all in vain. Dortmund goal-keeper and captain, Roman Weidenfeller, was as determined to keep a clean sheet as his side was to get a win. The last 20 minutes of the game saw the visitors trying to get something, but before long, Damir Skomina blew the final whistle and Dortmund were comfortably through to the Champions League Quarter Finals and deservedly so!

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Shakhtar DonetskStatistic-wise, the hosts had 3 more chances over their visitors and had more possession overall. Both teams had very good chances, but Dortmund took theirs better and were undoubtedly the better side. Shakhtar Donetsk were the squad to pick up the only yellow card issued during this game. No players were sent off during this match.

Jurgen Klopp and Mircea Lucescu lined up the following squads:

Borussia Dortmund Starting XI:

Weidenfeller (c), Subotic, Piszczek, Felipe Santana, Schmelzer, Gotze, Reus, Bender, Gundogan, Błaszczykowski, Lewandowski

Subs: Langerak, Letiner, Bittencourt, Schieber, Grosskreutz, Nuri Sahin, and Kehl

Shakhtar Donetsk Starting XI:

Pyatov, Kucher, Rat, Rakitskiy, Fernandinho, Teixeira, Srna (c), Hubschman, Taison, Luis Adriano, Mkhitaryan

Subs: Kanibolotskiy, Kryvstov, Kobin, Gai, Eduardo, Douglas Costa, and Stepanenko

Final Score: Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (Agg: 5-2)

Felipe Santana 31′, Gotze 37′, Błaszczykowski 59′

Quarter Finals

Having eliminated Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Dortmund are through to the Quarter Finals. Their opponents will be announced at the draw on March 15th in Nyon.

Written by Ange Marline

Bayern Munich 1-0 Borussia Dortmund: Munich Advance to DFB Pokal Semi Finals

Bayern Munich vs Borussia DortmundBayern Munich are undoubtedly the best team in Germany, but even though they have the Bundesliga title in their pocket, they still had one thing left to do domestically: topple Borussia Dortmund. BvB weren’t just the two-time defending Bundesliga champions, they were Bayern slayers, edging the Bavarians each time out.

On Wednesday, Bayern finally got back at Dortmund. In a complete, dominating performance that the scoreline didn’t reflect, Bayern destroyed Dortmund in a 1-0 DFB Pokal quarterfinal win, dispatching BvB and putting themselves in position to make a run at the treble.

Bayern were the better team from the very start, playing much of the first half in the Dortmund end and nearly scoring on several occasions. Toni Kroos should have put them in front early on, but he was off-balance when a rebound bounced to him right in front of goal and couldn’t direct his shot on target. Arjen Robben had a chance of his own, too, but predictably missed once the ball got on his right foot. Javi Martinez had Bayern’s best chance and he took it well, sweetly shooting to the bottom corner on his first touch from eight yards, but Roman Weidenfeller robbed him with a tremendous save.

For all their dominance, it looked like Bayern would go into the break scoreless, but just before the halftime whistle Robben came to the rescue. Dortmund gave the ball away in their own box and it bounced to Robben at 20 yards. The Dutchman, who had a couple yards of room, quickly settled and shot, perfectly curling the ball into the upper corner. Allianz Arena ignited and Jurgen Klopp could only grin and nod his head at the wonderful goal that put Bayern 1-0 up.

Bayern Munich vs Borussia DortmundDortmund did show some life in the second half. They actually called Manuel Neuer into action a couple times, but Robert Lewandowski was still short on service as Bayern kept the upper hand.

Martinez tested Weidenfeller again in the second half with a rocket from 30 yards, but the goalkeeper was up to the task and pushed it over the bar. Daniel van Buyten got a chance of his own, coming free on a corner kick, but his header missed the target as well.

In the end, Bayern’s several missed chances didn’t matter. They were completely dominant, keeping possession and creating openings going forward, while winning the ball back as soon as an overmatched Dortmund won it.

Bayern did the job, and impressively too. They beat their rivals and continued their run in the DFB Pokal. Next up, the semifinals, the Champions League and maybe the treble.

Along with Bayern Munich, SC Freiburg, VfL Wolfsburg, and VfB Stuttgart have all qualified for the DFB Pokal Semi Finals, which will be contested on April 16 and 17.

Written by Pierre Sanz