THE RISE OF GERMAN FOOTBALL FROM DUST TO ONE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD

German football is now blossoming –or rather has blossomed- to become the best in the world, boasting of being the holders of the FIFA world cup, winners and runners-up of a couple of the UEFA Champions League, since 1998. The poor performance of the Germans in Euro 2000 led to an overhaul the German leagues and a decision was made to develop more proficient homegrown football players, leading to the creation of academies across the country. This has indeed led to German football becoming one of the superpowers.

These academies have really helped some of the clubs like Borussia Dortmund, to see them rise and become runners-up in the 2012-2013 UEFA champions league. These German academies are also boasting of producing some of the best players in the world such as Mario Götze, Nuri Sahin, and Marko Reus. Even when Barcelona was thoroughly crushed in the UEFA Champions League by Bayern Munich, four of the products of these academies were present, and these were: Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba and Thomas Muller.

The country proudly boasts that 26 of the football players Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund announced in their UEFA squads this season are homegrown and are products of these academies. The country also invested a lot in young players, having each club spending almost 600 million Euros in youth scouting and development and denying licenses to clubs that do not meet this expectations. Some youngsters in these academies are already affiliated with some of the successful clubs in the country, while others are only being trained for the junior clubs. These gives the players a chance to be spotted by the bigger clubs in the country and also by foreign clubs, where the youngsters can go to sharpen their skills before returning back home to join their colleagues in playing for their country. This is unlike what England does, where the clubs are the ones expected to develop the youngsters.

Despite the English Premiere League being the most lucrative, Germany’s Bundesliga is catching up, having revenues of 1.75 billion Euros, as of January. Most of the top clubs in Germany have also been able to secure revenues from sponsorships, advertising and merchandising. These clubs have also tried to forge alliances with more than one partner or companies, but a few, something that England’s Manchester United are now trying to mimic. Commercial activities account for over fifty percent of Germany’s clubs unlike some of those in England where commercial activities account for less than thirty percent. German clubs have also been trying to evade debts, and this has also been very important to Germany’s success in matters of football.

Germany has also the best coaching resources on the planet with 28,400 coaches with a B license, 5,500 with an A license and 1,070 with a Pro license (which happens to be the highest qualification of a coach). The country has employed more full-time coaches and has constantly upgraded its football facilities to encourage more flexible formations which require much smaller players, who would have been overlooked in the past due to their lack of a bigger physique and physical strength. Some of these great but smaller players include Mario Götze, Marko Reus, and Philipp Lahm, and some of the international players include Leonel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta.

The country also has one of the biggest fan base in the world, and this has made watching German football one of the most fun experiences. Match tickets are known to sell as quickly as hot cakes in Germany, with most of the stadiums being filled out during match days. This may also be attributed to the fact that these tickets are very cheap, the cheapest ticket being around 10 Euros. The country’s football federation understands that the fan is the most important entity and, therefore, does everything within their power to ensure that the fan is satisfied. They also make sure that for each club in Germany, the least half of the club’s shares is owned by their fans, who are seen as a huge participant in the club rather than just a customer.

There has been a lot of competition in the country especially in the top two clubs in Bundesliga. This competition is not only in terms of performance and scoring goals but also in terms of buying and having the best players in the country. This has made the football in the country so predictable in that the old slogan that says “any team can beat any team” is not in play anymore since the best players are in these top clubs and the bottom clubs stand no chance when they face such teams. This is, however, unhealthy and if it continues the Bundesliga may undergo what happened to Primera Liga in Spain.

The governance of Germany’s football has also improved quite a lot, having clubs democratically elected using the 50+1 rule. The management board that is elected rules by popular consent. This is seen by managers and their coaching staff being temporary appointments, unlike in England where the managers and their coaching staff enjoy an almost permanent status.

On this rate, Germany can gain – or rather regain – their dominance over English football. Different countries’ football has been able to rise and fall, for example, Spanish and Italian, but should Germany’s end up being the best in the world, it should be expected that it will last for quite a while.

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