Bundesliga's weaknesses exposed in Europe: Low

BELFAST • Joachim Low has described German clubs' performances in Europe this season as "alarming" and a wake-up call for those who claim the Bundesliga produces the world's best talent.

All six German teams in Champions League and Europa League action last week were beaten, with German champions Bayern Munich's 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain costing Carlo Ancelotti his job.

Mats Hummels, who was on the bench for Bayern in Paris, admitted the results were "very embarrassing indeed".

His club's 3-0 win over Anderlecht in the first round of Champions League matches represents Germany's only victory in 12 European fixtures this term. There have been nine defeats in total.

Low, in Belfast for this morning's (Singapore time) World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland, insists it is too early to dismiss German prospects in Europe this season but claimed the quality of the Bundesliga has been exaggerated for too long.

"The weak performances of German clubs in Europe is hopefully just a momentary blip but it is alarming," the Germany manager said. "It is too early to say whether it is a general trend. Bayern and (Borussia) Dortmund have every chance to progress in the Champions League and it is the same for the Europa League teams.

"But for a while now I, and my coaches, have been thinking about how to improve things in the Bundesliga and that it's wrong to praise the Bundesliga to the high heavens or say only the Bundesliga produces the best talent.

"That would be untrue and people who say this have been humbled by this recent experience.

"We have to recognise this. We know this from sending scouts to other countries including South America.

"We know there is talent all around the world and the Bundesliga isn't the be-all and end-all."

Low agreed with former Germany star Jurgen Klinsmann's assessment that retaining the World Cup in Russia next summer will be Germany's toughest challenge.

The former Germany coach also suggested in a recent interview that his successor, Low, will retire after the next World Cup. While refusing to be drawn on that issue, Low admitted he wanted to coach at club level one day.

"On the first item I think he's right," Low said. "It will be the hardest task for us as reigning champions and Confederation Cup winners. It will be tremendously difficult to maintain the same level and enthusiasm in our players especially as other nations have caught up and have outstanding players.

"As for the other point, retirement is far from my mind. I'm enjoying life and I have a contract running for some more years (until 2020). But I can quite imagine taking over at a club at one point."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'Bundesliga's weaknesses exposed in Europe: Low'. Print Edition | Subscribe