Feature: Germany in discussions about its club football problem

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-07 20:01:27|Editor: liuxin
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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- With only Bayern Munich reaching the knock-out stage of the Champions League, results for German club football couldn't be more sobering.

The country of the 2014 World Champion faces a controversial discussion about the reasons for a disastrous record, and many fear German clubs are losing contact to Europe's leading sides.

While five English, three Spanish and two Italian clubs qualified for the last 16 round in the Champions League glory days seem to be a story of the past for German teams. Borussia Dortmund and newcomer RB Leipzig finished their groups as third and only compete in the Euro League.

While Leipzig achieved 7 points, Dortmund stands for the worst point balance good enough for the Euro League in history with only two points.

When it comes to the Euro League, the balance is as disillusioning. Hertha BSC, TSG Hoffenheim crossed the line as group last after a poor campaign. Only FC Cologne is still joining the race for the next round. In the Bundesliga, Cologne is in danger to be relegated as the tableau's taillight.

In advance of the 2017/2018 competitions, Hoffenheim missed the Champions League losing qualification against FC Liverpool, and SC Freiburg missed the Euro league after clashing with the Slovenian side of Domzale FC.

Has German (club) football shrunk to an illusionary giant?

Former German international Oliver Kahn called the current situation a reason for concern. "England is galaxies away and has made steps to address future needs of modern football. In Germany we are discussing about tradition and the ban for investors to take over clubs," the former Bayern keeper stressed. German clubs are neglecting reality.

Kahn called the English Premier League the world's best league. "They are not only attracting the best players due to a lot of TV money, but they gained know-how on a top level, and recently the world' s best coach as Pep Guardiola took over Manchester City," the 48-year-old commented in German TV.

To only be up to date regarding education modern arena's and naïve enthusiasm was not enough Kahn said.

Germany recently dropped back to the fourth position in the UEFA's ranking behind Spain, England, and Italy France breathing down their necks. The first four can count on four starting places for the Champions League.

Former Bundesliga coach Ewald Lienen told German TV, "We are pulling the wool over the people's eyes when speaking about the value of the Bundesliga. Since years we are losing games against the fourth, fifth or sixth' ranked clubs from Spain or smaller countries."

Pundits say the Bundesliga is whitewashing its quality while competing on international markets predicting to be among the strongest leagues. The fact that the Bundesliga provides tight games as presumable underdogs can beat the top clubs is not a sign of quality but mediocrity.

Bayern defender Mats Hummels said while the German national team stands for World class many clubs don't address quality measures. German national coach Joachim Loew was talking about his concern as looking back over the last decade's German clubs "haven't won many trophies in club football."

Kahn emphasized German clubs and the German association Deutscher Fußball Bund will have to decide about the future and enforce discussion to either open clubs for investors more pay TV income and rising ticket prices. He would not yet speak of an alarming trend, but of a critical situation that in a few years could even affect the national team.

Due to German regulations, investors are not allowed to take over the majority of club shares but only up to 49 percent excluding them from decisions about the clubs general policy.

At least for the moment, the golden years seemed to be over as the football world in 2013 saw a German Champions League final in London when Bayern Munich crossed swords with Borussia Dortmund (2-1).

In 2017 German football fans were discussing about the "black week." End of September the first time after 36 years none of the German clubs managed to win a group game in the Champions League and the Euro League. Disastrous was the most common word in German media that time.

The Nuremberg based football magazine told its readers only one Bayern Munich is not enough to talk of a leading club football nation.