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Bayern München: The Bavarians have been the true under-performers of Europe. They came in third in the Bundesliga and lost to Inter Milan (again) in the Champions League. Bayern is playing very inconsistent. Despite this, they show great promise moving forward. If they can retain Arjen Robben and acquire Manuel Neuer from Schalke, Bayern could have a great 2011-12 season.
Schalke: Schalke performed very average in the Bundesliga but made a steller run in the Champions League. With stellar performances from Manuel Neuer, Raul and Edu, they were able to move past Valencia and Inter Milan and make it to the Champions League semifinal. However, with Neuer leaving the club in the summer, this may be as high as Schalke will climb in this list.
Bayer Leverkusen: Bayer Leverkusen are a very solid team, and they rightfully took a Champions League qualification for next year and finished second in the Bundesliga. Even without Michael Ballack on the field, Leverkusen have consistently won games in the Bundesliga, and it will be interesting to see them in Europe next year.
Tottenham: Tottenham finished fifth in the Premier League (no small feat) and made the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The truth is this team lacks in quality. Harry Redknapp makes the most of what he has got, but it is not enough to be a top 10 team quite yet.
Inter Milan: Inter Milan has seen a rapid fall from grace. The Champions of the 2009-2010 Champions League are now only an honorable mention. They were humbled in Serie A and lost to Schalke in the Champions League. The squad is aging rapidly and cornerstones of the team like Javier Zanetti, Maicon and Lucio and Samuel Eto'o are old and slow. And the thought of Wesley Sneijder leaving the club is not reassuring. Next season will be tough for Inter.
Liverpool: Liverpool is a new team. Fernando Torres is gone, Steven Gerrard is on his way out. The new strikers, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll gave new life to Liverpool F.C. After a terrible first half of the season, Liverpool made a drastic comeback and took sixth in the Premier League. Next season I think Liverpool will make it back into the top four.