SINGAPORE - The question of who has the best team in Europe is one football fans often debate and rarely agree on, but legendary midfielder Lothar Matthaeus believes the answer is clear this season.
Germany's 1990 World Cup-winning captain tips former employers Bayern Munich for the accolade, calling them a "complete squad" after the recent additions of playmaker Arturo Vidal and silky forward Douglas Costa.
"Those two guys make Bayern the No. 1 team in Europe - better than Barcelona, better than Real Madrid," the 54-year-old told reporters at German Bundesliga's new regional office at Duxton Hill on Saturday.
"Bayern lost in the Champions League semi-finals for the last two seasons not just because of injuries but also, they lacked speed down the wings and a midfielder to drive them forward.
"Now, from the starting XI to the bench, I see a side that is hard to match."
Few would argue against a Die Mannschaft icon renowned for his perceptive passing, positional sense, well-timed tackling, as well as powerful shooting. In 1991, he was named the first ever Fifa World Player of the Year, and remains the only German to have received the award.
After a less successful stint in management, Matthaeus now enjoys his career in punditry, and will be part of Fox Sports Asia's coverage of this weekend's opening Bundesliga matches.
Once a vociferous leader on the field, he is not afraid to be frank off it too. The seven-time Bundesliga winner feels Bastian Schweinsteiger will not be missed at Bayern, noting that the Germany captain's move to Manchester United was "good for everyone".
He said: "Bastian knew his situation under (Bayern manager) Pep Guardiola. He wasn't going to play much when there's others like Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso, Javi Martinez and Joshua Kimmich who can play the No. 6 role.
"He's a club icon, but it was best for him to leave."