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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Europa League Round of 32 Second Leg Review: Part 8

SS Lazio vs. VfL Borrusia Monchengladbach

SS Lazio vs. VfL Borrusia MonchengladbachBoth teams, having been strong in the first leg and came out even stronger for the second leg. The home side, having already scored 3 away goals in the first half, were mainly looking to keep it that way in front of their opponents, but they weren’t at all playing like underdogs. The visitors, on the other hand, were looking to try and get every away goal back; which ended up being very, very hard. They were, in the end, the underdogs in front of a confident Lazio team, and were outwitted in almost every aspect. Lazio had more attempts and better chances, as well as more success and accuracy in front of goal. For this, they were able to add two more to their tally and progress comfortably into the round of 16. Monchengladbach’s journey in the Europa League had come to an end and the man to blame was Vladimir Petkovic, and his squad, of course!

Only a single yellow card was issued during this game and the away side were the receivers. No players were sent off during this match.

Vladimir Petkovic and Lucien Favre lined up the following squads

Lazio Starting XI:

Marchetti, Lulic, Biava, Radu, Konko, Candreva, Hernanes, Ledesma (c), Cana, Gonzalez, Floccari

Subs: Bizzari, Ciani, Ederson, Lombardi, Onazi, Kozak, and Pereirinha

Monchengladbach Starting XI:

Ter Stegen, Alvaro Dominguez, Wendt, Jantschke, Stranzi (c), Nordtveit, Marx, Hermann, L. de Jond, Cigerci, Arango

Subs: Heimeroth, Daems, Brouwers, Rupp, Hanke, Younes, and Xhaka

Final Score: SS Lazio* 2-0 VfL Borrusia Monchengladbach (Agg: 5-3)

Candreva 10′, Gonzalez 33′

Round of 16:

Having eliminated Monchengladbach, Lazio will face Stuttgart in the round of 16. They will play the first leg of this match away and the second leg at home.

Rubin Kazan vs. Club Atletico de Madrid

Rubin Kazan vs. Club Atletico de MadridRubin Kazan, having set the bar high for the defending champions in the first leg, went into this game looking to finish what they had started. Atletico, seeming as though it hadn’t quite sank in, only went into this game to try catch up and do their best; at least that’s how it seemed to me! They didn’t look too determined to win the first leg at all, and they certainly didn’t play like it. But they looked and played so much better in the second. Knowing Atletico’s threat and realizing this wasn’t the same team they’d played the previous week, Rubin were ready to defend for the whole game and stay out of trouble.

The defending champions had far more attempts than their hosts, and they managed to get back one away goal. Rubin weren’t about to let them level things on aggregate, though, and so they were tight at the back for the last few minutes of the game (because Atletico had scored towards the end). They certainly didn’t want a long night on a chilly pitch! And just like that, the defending champions were eliminated from the competition, seemingly more interested in domestic leagues.

Ovidiu Alin Hategan issued a total of 5 yellow cards and 1 red card between the two teams; this time Rubin being the ones playing with a man down, even though it was only for a few minutes. Cesar Navas was the only player to get sent off during this match. Atletico Madrid made no substitution during this match.

Kurban Berdyev and Diego Simeone lined up the following squads:

Rubin Kazan Starting XI:

Ryzhikov, Kuzmin, Ansaldi, Cesar Navas (c), Marcano, Kislyak, Orbaiz, R. Eremenko, Karadeniz, Natcho, Rondon

Subs: Arlauskis, Kasaev, A. Eremenko, Gokhan Tore, Dyadyun, Ryazantsev, and Kaleshin

Atletico Madrid Starting XI:

Sergio Asenjo, Domingo Cisma, Cata Diaz, Miranda, Javi Manquillo, Mario Suarez, Raul Garcia, Cristian Rodriguez, Saul Niguez, Adrian Lopez, Falcao (c)

Subs: Courtois, Pulido, Gallas, Calero, Galan, Ndoye, and Oueslati

Final Score: Rubin Kazan* 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Agg: 2-1)

Falcao 84′

Round of 16:

Having eliminated the defending champions Atletico Madrid, Rubin Kazan will face Levante in the round of 16. They will play the first leg of this game away and the second leg at home.

Written by Ange Marline

Club Atletico de Madrid vs. Rubin Kazan

Europa League Round of 32 First Leg Review: Part 8

Vfl Borussia Monchengladbach vs. SS Lazio

Vfl Borussia Monchengladbach vs. SS LazioProbably the most exciting match of the night for its many goals! A total of 6 goals (3-a-side) were scored on the night in Monchengladbach. Both teams showed almost the same amount of strength and I think that Lazio were very happy to have scored 3 away goals. Statistic-wise, Lazio had only three attempts more than Monchengladbach (18 against 15), but the home side had better chances. The Bundesliga side hit the woodwork twice and were the first ones to score. Lazio dominated the game from then on, until two late goals from the home side ensured that the advantage for Lazio wasn’t too big. We saw three goals between the two clubs after the 80th minute! Sergei Karasev issued 7 cards between the two teams; 6 yellow and one red. Monchengladbach picked up only one yellow card, while Lazio picked up the rest. Lazio’s Andre Dias was the only player sent off during this match, having picked up 2 yellow cards.

Lucien Favre and Vladimir Petkovoc lined up the following squads:

Monchengladbach Starting XI:

ter Stegen, Brouwers, Alvaro Dominguez, Wendt, Stranzi (c), Arango, Nordtveit, Cigerri, Herrmann, De Jong, Jantschke

Subs: Heimeroth, Daems, Rupp, Younes, Hanke, Xhaka, and Marx

Lazio Starting XI:

Marchetti, Andre Dias, Biava, Radu, Konko, Lulic, Hernanes, Gonzalez, Candreva, Floccari, Kozak

Subs: Bizzari, Pereirinha, Ederson, Rozzi, Cana, Kozak, and Ciani

Final Score: VfL Borussia Monchengladbach 3-3 SS Lazio

Stranzl 17′ (p), Floccari 57′, Kozák 64′, 90+4, Marx 84′ (p), Arango 88

Club Atletico de Madrid vs. Rubin Kazan

Club Atletico de Madrid vs. Rubin KazanIn a dramatic turn of events at the Estadio Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, the defending champions and home side were left in blushes after a bad defeat by their Russian visitors. They had more attempts by far (24 against 6) and certainly more possession  but Rubin Kazan just wouldn’t budge, not even with 10 men! Istvan Vad issued 7 cards on the night between the two teams; 6 yellows and one red. Atletico Madrid picked up only one yellow card, while Rubin Kazan picked up the rest. Rubin captain, Sharonov, was the only player to be sent off during this game.

Diego Simeone and Kurban Berdyev lined up the following squads:

Atletico Starting XI:

Sergio Asenjo, Godin, Juanfran, Tiago (c), Arda Turan, Cristian Rodriguez, Mario Suarez, Cata Diaz, Filipe Luis, Adrian Lopez, Falcao

Subs: Courtois, Miranda, Javi Manquillo, Gabi, Koke, Raul Garcia, and Saul Niguez

Rubin Starting XI:

Ryzhikov, Ansaldi, Cesar Navas, Marcano, Sharonov (c), Gokdeniz, Orbaiz, Kislyak, R. Eremenko, Natcho, Rondon

Subs: Arlauskis, Ryazantsev, Kasaev, Gokhan Tore, Portnyagin, Dyadun, and Kuzmin

Final Score: Club Atletico de Madrid 0-2 Rubin Kazan

Gökdeniz 6′, Orbaiz 90+5

Written by Ange Marline

Radamel Falcao

Europa League Round of 32 Preview: Part 8

VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany) vs. SS Lazio (Italy)

Miroslav KloseTwo-time Europa League winners, Mönchengladbach, go into this competition’s round of 32 thanks to a relatively good performance in the group stages of the competition, having lost only once to Fenerbahce during this season’s campaign. Lucien Favre’s men finished 2nd in Group C with 11 points from 6 games. They scored 11 goals in the group stages, only five less than Dnipro who were the club to score more goals in the Europa League group stages. They sit safe in the German Bundesliga and everybody knows that to survive in the German Bundesliga is an accomplishment!

Lazio, in the same manner, have been a strong team since day one. Losing no single match in their Europa League campaign this season, Vladimir Petkovic’s men finished top of their Group J and remain top contenders for the title in the Italian Serie A. They managed to score 12 goals in the group stages of the Europa League this season; one more than Mönchengladbach and only 4 behind Dnipro. Just as everyone respects the German Bundesliga, everyone loves the class that’s displayed in the Italian Serie A every matchday; at least I know I do!

Key Players

Despite loaning out their top goalscorer in the Europa League this season, (Igor de Camargo to Hoffenheim), Mönchengladbach still remain with a class player in Luuk de Jong. He scored 2 goals in 3 games for Mönchengladbach this season in the Europa League and still impresses domestically. 21-year-old German international, Patrick Hermann could also turn out to be a wonderful weapon to use against the Lazio defense. Peniel Mlapa, although not too quick to add to his goal tally domestically, had also started alright in the Europa League for Mönchengladbach this season.

For Lazio, I think that with the way Klose has performed domestically, he will be closely watched by the Mönchengladbach defense. Hernanes isn’t half bad either; not even close! Libor Kozak had been wonderful for the Italian side as well; having scored 5 goals in 5 appearances for Lazio during their entire Europa League campaign this season. And finally, Floccari’s been a good influence for Lazio this season in all competitions; having scored a total of 8 goals and assisted 4 in 22 appearances in all competitions this season. He scored 3 in 5 appearances during the group stages of this competition. I think that having Radu play could help neutralize the likes of De Jong and prevent his side from conceding. I sincerely hope that injuries won’t come in the way of Stefan Radu for the remainder of this season.


My prediction for the first leg of this game to be played in Mönchengladbach would be a narrow win for Lazio. For the second leg of this game to be played in Rome, my prediction would be a comfortable Mönchengladbach victory.

1st Leg: VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-3 SS Lazio
2nd Leg: SS Lazio 0-3 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach

Club Atletico de Madrid (Spain) vs. Rubin Kazan (Russia)

Radamel FalcaoI had to save the best for last, of course! The defending Champions and the 10th best team in all of Europe (UEFA Ranking) are going to be the club with probably the biggest desire to win the trophy (that they’ve already won twice) once again! They were strongly challenged during the group stages of the competition and only just lost the number one position to Czech side, Plzen, in Group B. They lost twice and won the rest of their group stage matches. Diego Simeone’s men are one of the strongest (if not the strongest) contenders in this season’s competition, and losing to Academica doesn’t make this fact any less valid. Domestically in the Spanish Primera Liga as well, Atletico have also impressed, and are still continuing to do so. If there’s any team everyone should be watching this season, it’s Atletico Madrid!

Kurban Berdyev’s men, in the same manner, have had a wonderful season in the Europa League so far. Having lost none of their group stage games and finishing with an almost perfect score, Rubin Kazan finished top of Group H with 14 points from 6 games. Although not as strong as Atletico in domestic Leagues (they’re fighting for a Europa League spot, whereas Atletico are not too far behind leaders, FC Barcelona), Rubin Kazan have established themselves as one of the Europa League’s “big boys” this season. They’ve won the same number of times as Atletico have and so they won’t be feeling like underdogs; not in any way!

Key Players

Radamel Falcao has had a great season and that’s no secret! Diego Costa is the second Falcao for me! Can’t really ask for more in a collaborative strike-force (where Diego Costa is the provider and Falcao the receiver and implementer)! Together, Falcao and Diego Costa have scored 22 goals in the Primera Liga so far this season (19 belonging to Falcao, by the way; Diego Costa has assisted 9 goals). Diego Costa has also scored twice in five games for his club in the Europa League. So you definitely want to watch out for those two! Raul Garcia and Arda Turan could also be very essential in Atletico’s game. And I can’t go on without mentioning Koke too! Strong squad on Diego Simeone’s side!

For Rubin, I think we all enjoyed watching Venezuelan international, José Rondón, score 4 goals in 6 group stage matches for his side, as well as some class play from Aleksandr Ryazantsev. Bibras Natkho has also impressed in domestic leagues for Berdyev’s men. Vladimir Dyadun also managed to score good goals for his side this season; including one in the Europa League.


My prediction for the first leg of this game to be played in Madrid would be a win for the Russians. For the second leg of this game to be played in Moscow, I predict a big win to Atletico! Decided to go all out on this one!

1st Leg: Club Atletico de Madrid 2-3 Rubin Kazan
2nd Leg: Rubin Kazan 1-4 Atletico de Madrid


It’s going to be a very interesting Round of 32 and anything could happen. Many teams are out to prove to the world that they deserve to be the second Champions of Europe, but there’s only one spot available. Who will win this season’s Europa League? We’ll just have to wait (I know how hard it can get, but there’s no other option) and see!

Written by Ange Marline