Germany′s Soccer Reputation Scarred | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.03.2004
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Germany's Soccer Reputation Scarred

Germany's first-division soccer clubs have suffered a serious blow to their image after failing to make an impact in the UEFA Cup and the Champions League this season. For the second year running Germany will not have a team in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The country's only hopes for a trophy slipped away after Bayern Munich lost 0:1 to Real Madrid and Stuttgart struck out against Chelsea. For the UEFA Cup, the Germans faired even worse, with five clubs limping out before the third round. "Germany is now just a spectator," the mass-circulation daily Bild scoffed. "Goodbye Europe. We are now just second rate." Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer, whose team delivered the big disappointment Wednesday night in Madrid, said action must be taken to avoid further humiliation in European competition. "The situation is embarrassing enough," Germany's soccer king confessed. "We have to start looking at the way German club soccer is going." His colleague from Bayer Leverkusen, Reiner Calmund, cited the financial disparity between the Bundesliga and top European leagues as the chief problem. It's no coincidence that Bayern Munich and Stuttgart were knocked out by two of the most lucrative teams in world soccer, he said.

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