Complimenting Bayern Munich's exciting European adventure last season and Germany's youthful talent in the World Cup, the German Bundesliga has been receiving some admiring glances from its European neighbours. How does it compare to the English Premier League at the end of the day?
The English League is renowned for fast paced football. Aggressive and strong, it is enjoyed around the world for its robustness and the appreciation of physical prowess on par with appreciation of technical prowess.
The sheer volume of exciting foreign players ensures that the most dull match on paper can still be thrilling, though of course there are awfully dull matches in the EPL as in any other league.
The title is realistically fought out between Manchester United and Chelsea with Arsenal plugging away but ultimately not quite making it.
The Bundesliga is a mix of the physical and the more technical European style. Teams like Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich are built for all out attack, while others favour a very methodical approach. Teams like Mainz have the ability to surprise bigger teams and sides like Dortmund, Hamburg, Schalke and Bremen are capable of winning the league.
Crowds and Tickets
Crowds in England are of a high standard, especially compared to other leagues like the Italian league. The Bundesliga, however, boasts the highest average gate figures in Europe.
Dortmund bring in around seventy thousand regularly, while teams like Werder, Schalke and Bayern also bring in massive amounts of fans. Another point to remember is that most German grounds still have standing sections, which allows for more enhanced atmosphere behind the goals.
In England, matches are often between a hefty twenty-five and forty pounds. In Germany, tickets rarely go over 14 euros. There was even a boycott when tickets for Schalke vs Dortmund (an important derby match) went over twenty euros.
The Bundesliga has some household names, largely from the Germany squad. Players like Michael Ballack, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phillip Lahm are internationally recognised.
The Premier League is undoubtedly the home of many of footballs stars. Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard are just a few of the famous names that attract incredible wage packages.
The Bundesliga is, however, slowly beginning to catch up with big names of the Premier League with the likes of Ruud van Nistleroy and Raul heading to Germany for a last adventure. Add to this list Robben, Ribery and Huntelaar and it becomes apparent that the German League is beginning to hold some attraction for top talent.
Here the Bundesliga certainly has an advantage. With strict financial control, clubs cannot spend massively beyond their means on wages and transfers. The celebrated 50+1 rule also means that no one person can control more than 49% of a club, allowing for optimal fan involvement.
In England, there is no such rule set. Problems have risen recently for Manchester United and Liverpool that demonstrate why this may be a bigger issue than expected.
On the other hand, the EPL bring in incredible amounts of funding from television rights, something the Bundesliga does not manage. The German league can be rather exciting and may well increase their television revenue soon enough, but at the moment it is a long way behind the English figures.
Much has been made of the German youth set-up, with their youth teams holding all of the age tier championship in Europe at once last year. This system's success has been verified by a brilliant World Cup from several young players like Ozil and Mueller. The Bundesliga has a wonderful crop of young twenty year olds, many of them playing for their teams regularly: Mueller, Oezil Khedira, Reus, Holtby, Goetze and Hummels are on their way to becoming households name before long.
England have only begun the long process of embedding more home grown, youth talent into their national squad. How many of these players now see first team football is a worry, but the likes of Josh Mceachran certainly give England fans some hope.
On a footballing front, it is a subjective question of whether one prefers the English playing style over the German approach to the game. However, the fan ownership in Germany means a tremendous lack of debts at the clubs — one difference that sets it apart from England.
The EPL is still ahead in revenue from TV and in star pulling power, but as more and more clubs suffer from crippling debts, a more sensible and sustainable method simply must be introduced.