Football: Bundesliga is of the same quality as Premier League, says German great Matthaus

At the forefront are Bayern Munich, who won the treble last season. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - German football and clubs have nothing to fear from other European leagues and have all the tools necessary to dominate the continent, former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus said on Thursday (Jan 7).

And at the forefront are Bayern Munich, who won the treble last season and demolished Barcelona 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals.

In a conference call with Asian media, Matthaus, who spent 12 years over two spells at the Bavarians and skippered Germany to victory at the 1990 World Cup, said: "German football is getting better and better. We respect the (English) Premier League, Spanish and Italian leagues, but I think we don't have to be afraid of these big names and big teams."

All six Bundesliga teams - Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim - involved in Europe at the start of the season have qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League and Europa League.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski is also the reigning Best Fifa Men's Player winner, the first from the Bundesliga.

Alphonso Davies, Thiago Alcantara, Joshua Kimmich - part of the Bayern side that won the quintuple last season - were also named in the FIFPro World XI.

Among the elite leagues in Europe, the Bundesliga was the best attended league between 2013 to 2018, with an average crowd size of 43,302, followed by the Premier League (36,675) and Spain's La Liga (27,381).

Matthaus, 59, said: "We play on the highest level. The Bundesliga has good clubs, we have nice stadiums, we have a great atmosphere.

"I've followed more international football in the last nine months than before and we've seen the quality of German football in the results of last year's Champions League.

"You can play in the first four or five clubs in the Bundesliga and have the same quality as the Premier League."

The German league features some of the planet's brightest talents in Bayern's Alphonso Davies and Dortmund duo Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, but the Bundesliga's financial power pales in comparison to the Premier League.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, top flight clubs in England spent £1.26 billion (S$2.27 billion) on transfers last summer, while their counterparts in Germany invested £290.43million.

Bayern may have lured winger Leroy Sane from Manchester City but his compatriots Timo Werner (Leipzig) and Kai Havertz (Bayer) were poached by Chelsea in mega transfer deals in the summer.

The dominance of Bayern - they are seeking a nine straight league championship this term - may have led critics to label the Bundesliga a "farmers league" but Matthaus insists this winning run has not been as easy as it seems.

The current campaign illustrates the competitiveness of the competition, he noted.

Bayern are top but only two points clear of Leipzig and appear vulnerable. Without the departed Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Perisic and Thiago Alcantara, Bayern are also weaker than last year.

Matthaus, who is a Bundesliga ambassador, said: "Leipzig has been improving a lot in the past few years and they've made the next step even though they lost Werner and (Patrik) Schick.

"They've found their way and have a very good bench. They have 18, 19, 20 players on the same level who can play two different systems.

"This will be a long fight for the Bundesliga title between these two teams."

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