Triple Champions League exit for Bundesliga clubs is no reason to panic | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 14.03.2019
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Triple Champions League exit for Bundesliga clubs is no reason to panic

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke were all humbled by Premier League opposition in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. For the English sides, it's their time. For the Bundesliga, there's no need to panic.

As Britain's politicians struggle to make up their minds over the question of Europe, England's top football clubs have delivered a crystal clear verdict in the last-16 of the Champions League: Remain.

When the quarterfinal draw is made in Nyon on Friday, half of the balls in the glass bowl will contain slips of paper bearing the names of Premier League clubs. But, for the first time since 2006, there will be no Bundesliga representative.

Bayern Munich's 3-1 defeat at home to Liverpool on Wednesday night made it three out of three for English sides in their knockout ties with German opposition this season, after Tottenham Hotspur made light work of Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City humiliated Schalke.

The total aggregate score of the three ties was 17-3 in favor of the Premier League sides, and those three goals consisted of two penalties and an own goal.

Brexit might be up in the air politically but, nine months after the German national team were unceremoniously dumped out of the World Cup they were aiming to defend, Germany's footballing "Dexit" is complete.

Watch video 01:51

Can German soccer clubs remain competitive?

The German inquisition

The inquest will begin immediately, the triple setback — quadruple if you include Hoffenheim's two defeats to Manchester City in the group stage — calling into question the fundamental principals of German football.

Those foundations seemed set in stone when Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund met at Wembley in 2013. A new generation of Bundesliga coaches drove German domestic football to new heights with a new, exciting brand of football — quicker, stronger, faster and more aggressive.

Internationally, the nationwide revamp of the country's academies finally began to bear fruit, producing a generation of technically gifted German players who scaled the summit of the game in Rio de Janeiro in 2014.

And all the while, the majority of Germany's clubs remained in the hands of their fans and members, the 50+1 rule preventing outside investors from acquiring majority stakes.

The end is nigh!

But money talks. And five years on, Premier League money has opened its ugly mouth wider than ever, hoovering up Germany's top talents, three of whom played a direct role in dumping their compatriots out of the Champions League over the last month.

In Munich on Wednesday night, Jürgen Klopp and his players showed they have matured from the all-out-attacking side which blasted their way to last season's final into a team which won a tactical battle with Bayern over 180 minutes.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Ilkay Gündogan and Leroy Sane put a hapless Schalke to the sword, directed by a coach who left Bayern Munich in search of a bigger challenge.

"Das Ende ist nah!" the German tabloids will scream — the end is nigh! Has German football really reached rock bottom? It's never as straightforward as that.

Bundesliga rebuild

Bayern Munich are very much in transition, with an older generation finally making way for younger talents. Franck Ribery had a disappointing night on what may well have been his final Champions League game for Bayern Munich. Manuel Neuer was at fault for Liverpool's opener and Robert Lewandowski has now failed to score in his last seven European knockout ties.

But a new side built around Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka has started to gel as Bayern have ominously clawed their way back into the Bundesliga title race.

After tumultuous years involving the dismantling of a title-winning squad, an aborted rebuild and a psychologically damaging bomb attack on their team, Borussia Dortmund are not even one season into their latest rebuild.

Neither the Bundesliga title nor progression in the Champions League were primary aims for the Black and Yellows this season but it speaks volumes about the immediate impact of Lucien Favre and the signings made by a cleverly restructured club hierarchy that both suddenly appeared possible.

What's more, in Jadon Sancho, they possess an English talent of their own whose decision to leave Manchester City for regular football shows that the Bundesliga still offers opportunities for young players to develop that the Premier League perhaps does not.

German football has endured a chastening month but, if there was ever to be a year in which no Bundesliga team qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League, then this was quite logically going to be it. The effects of this "Dexit" won't be as permanent.

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic