If you were to ask a lot of football followers in this country which league they think is the most exciting, they would probably say the English Premier League. If you were to ask the same people which league had the best players, I think there’s a good chance they would say Spain’s La Liga. If you were to follow these questions with ‘and which league do you believe offers the best value for money?’, I think the answer might be a combination of the two. However, in recent years Germany’s Bundesliga has been turning many heads and on the receiving end of a great deal of acclamation, largely due to the fact that it offers all of the aforementioned attributes.
The football played in Germany’s top division is high in skill, style, speed and technical quality. It is a hugely competitive league (3 different teams have won the title in the last 3 years, 5 teams have won it since the turn of the millennium). Although it doesn’t have as many of the big, established names that draw in audiences to the English, Spanish and Italian leagues, Bundesliga can boast at having some of Europe’s most promising youngsters plying their trade, most of which are home grown nationals. Add to this the hugely impressive stadia available, solid financial foundations and a highly intelligent, forward thinking football association, the future of football in Germany is very bright indeed.
Last season saw Borussia Dortmund crowned champions of Germany. They played a style of football that won many new fans from across Europe. Under their manager, Jurgen Klopp, Dortmund blew away the opposition with a brand of football that left many journalists comparing them to Barcelona and Arsenal, two teams widely considered to be the front runners in stylistic football. Fans in Germany were not only gripped by the title race, but also the fight for champions league spots, as well as a hugely tight relegation battle, that involved the 2009 Bundesliga champions, Wolfsburg.
Recent years have seen a new generation of young talent come to prominence in Germany. Around a decade ago the German FA invested in youth systems across clubs in Germany that would help to spot and nurture promising players. This has well and truly come to fruition, with the likes of Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos, André Schürrle, Marco Reus and Mats Hummels being but a few names to have received plaudits in recent seasons. The risk of this project was that it would have detrimental side effects on performances from German sides in the Champions League. This has in fact been the case, with Bayern being the only German winner in the past 10 years. However, with this new generation of highly promising , enthusiastic players making their mark, the future is looking very rosy for the Bundesliga, and of course, the German national team. The recent success of German clubs has been recognised by UEFA, and in 2012 Bundesliga will have an extra Champions League spot up for grabs, just to add a little more excitement.
For the fan, Bundesliga is as close to the complete package as you can get. As well as the football on offer, ticket prices are cheaper than in Spain, England and Italy’s top leagues. Stadia in the country, many built for the World Cup held in 2006 including the awesome Allianz Arena, are amongst the best found in football, and the atmosphere found at each game is truly memorable. This is largely due to the fact that Bundesliga has the largest average fan attendance in football in Europe (incredibly third in the world of sport. Only the NFL and cricket’s Indian Premier League have more).
The Bundesliga is a league on the rise and is rapidly gaining the attention of many fans across Europe and the rest of the world. With all the qualities it has to offer football fans everywhere, it is only a matter of time until it receives as much reverence as the English Premier League and La Liga, and it will be fully justified.
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