Premier League money may help rather than hinder Bundesliga | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.10.2015
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Premier League money may help rather than hinder Bundesliga

Kevin de Bruyne and Bastian Schweinsteiger have left for the Premier League, but the Bundesliga may have gained something far more valuable from the English top division and its huge TV deal.

Kevin de Bruyne made a brief return to Germany in a successful Champions League clash in midweek, as his new club, Manchester City, beat struggling Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1.

The Belgian international's Champions League appearance at Borussia-Park came just a few short weeks after he had parted company with VFL Wolfsburg - and the Bundesliga - on the final day of the transfer window for £50.8 million (68.8 million euros, $76.9 million).

This wasn't the first time that the EPL has plundered its German counterpart, stealing off with a major talent.

However, while many German fans may curse the billions spent by English clubs this year, Bundesliga sides are learning to welcome this with open arms. For even though such talented players move to England, the billions from the Premier League's latest television deal seems increasingly to be ending up in German bank accounts.

The English top division spent no less than £160 million buying players from Germany this summer as household names such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Roberto Firmino and Son Heung-min all made the short trip over the English channel. But that doesn't mean Bundesliga clubs are getting the raw end of the deal.

"The super rich from the Premier League are pumping money into the Bundesliga cycle," declared an editorial in Kicker magazine over the summer. "This need not be a disadvantage for the Bundesliga. Clever scouting, solid education, a high level of competition, profitable sales - all this pays off, quite literally."

And Kicker is not alone in this assessment. Nick Harris, editor of Sporting intelligence, a website that specializes in the business and finance of English football, believes it's not as simple as one division raiding another of its best assets. The Premier League may hold all the power, but that doesn't mean the English clubs are using it wisely.

"Certainly a lot of money is flowing out of the Premier League into the bank accounts of clubs in Germany, Spain etc," Harris told DW.

"If the clubs there invest it well, either in new players or producing players, then there is a case that those clubs benefit from the EPL TV deals," he said.

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Finished product versus youth development

While English sides tend to rely on buying the finished product, their German equivalents still rely on the tried and trusted method of developing their own players and looking to their youth teams for alternatives to departed first-team regulars. And all this is being paid for by the English TV deal.

In fact, not only is English football funding the development of the German stars of tomorrow, but it is also distracting Premier League clubs from developing their own players.

When asked if English clubs were overlooking long-term issues such as youth development and investment in infrastructure, Harris responded: "In a word, yes!"

"Some clubs spend a lot on youth production and investment in facilities for youth players. But most clubs will spend single-digit millions specifically on young players being reared, £2 - 6m a year, typically," he said.

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And it's no secret. Ahead of his team's clash with Scotland earlier in the month Germany coach Joachim Low broke it down very simply for the British press.

"The English will have to face up to the fact that their young players don't get the minutes (of playing time) for their clubs," said the World Cup title holder.

"Premier League clubs are now paying three times what they used to. The good thing is that money is now being ploughed back into the Bundesliga," he said. "That helps make the German national team stronger because in the last few years £100 million has been put back into youth development."

While football fans may always live in the here and now - the last result, the next game, the current league position - a wider view of the current climate would suggest that German football is indeed benefitting from the English game's popularity all around the world.

The sight of De Bruyne, Schweinsteiger and even Son competing in England may put a lump in the throats of most Bundesliga fans, but some solace can certainly be found in what the league has received in return.

The Premier League may be hoarding the lion's share of the talent in European football right now, but there is every reason that the long-term future of German football should be growing brighter by the day.

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