German teams define consistency in football
Brazil (Selecao) might be the most loved -- and most successful -- football team across the globe, but the Germans (Die Mannshaft), says Bikash Mohapatra, are easily the most consistent in the history of football.
Germany 8 Spain 1
In the last couple of days we have seen this statistic being mentioned in every sports bulletin.
On Tuesday, Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in the semi-finals (first leg) of the UEFA Champions League, and a day later, Borussia Dortmund hammered Real Madrid 4-1.
For fans expecting an El Clasico as the final, the results were a dual shock.
Spain is the most dominant footballing nation in the past five years, both in terms of its national team and its club sides, having won most of the silverware on offer.
However, the thrashing of the two Spanish giants, and the impending all-German final (Der Klassiker) at Wembley in May, has had many opine that the twin results have marked a shift in the balance of power and the rise of Germany as a footballing power.
While it is too early to write off Spain, or for that matter Spanish clubs, it is also not right to be astonished by the two above results, the scores notwithstanding.
Image: Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Barcelona on Tuesday
Photographs: Michaela Rehle/Reuters
Barcelona doesn't match Bayern's history
First, Bayern is one of the most consistent teams in history. The Munich club is one of the only three clubs -- along with Ajax and Juventus -- to win the top three competitions in Europe -- the Champions League, UEFA Cup (now Europa League) and the erstwhile Cup Winners' Cup.
Besides, it has done pretty well for itself in recent times, having reached the final twice in the last three years. On the other hand, while Barcelona is the world's best club in recent times, it still doesn't match Bayern's history, having achieved precious little in Europe till the Dutch influence (Johan Cruyff et al) in the 1990s and after.
It is imperative here to mention that Barcelona have struggled in recent times -- with their coach (Tito Vilanova) indisposed and key player (Lionel Messi) unfit.
Secondly, Dortmund also happens to be a club with a glorious record. They have won the Champion League (1997) and reached the final of the UEFA Cup (2002).
Image: Barcelona's Daniel Alves (left) celebrates with teammates
Photographs: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
The talk of Bundesliga trumping La Liga in the near future is all hogwash
Real Madrid, for all its history haven't won Europe's top competition since 2002, or for that matter reached the final. Besides, one need not forget Jurgen Klopp's side had got the better off Jose Mourinho's team in the group stages as well.
So while the margins may be surprising, the results aren't.
Also all the talk of Bundesliga trumping La Liga in the near future is all hogwash. The German championship, despite enjoying four Champions League places, is anything but competitive.
The fact that Bayern has sealed the title with six weeks to go says it all. While the Munich powerhouse leads the race, the Dortmund side is miles ahead of the rest. The likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke 04, Hamburg, Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg barely stand up to these two giants.Hardcore fans of German football can argue that the case is the same in the La Liga, with Barca and Real way ahead of the rest. However, it is not entirely true.
Image: Borussia Dortmund players celebrate
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Will take at least two decades for Bundesliga to better the Spanish league
The likes of Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla and Malaga are far competitive than their German counterparts. Besides, these sides have been more consistent in recent times. Atletico has won the Europa League twice in recent times, Valencia has won the UEFA Cup and reached the final of the Champions League twice and Sevilla won successive UEFA Cups (in 2005-06).
And even the staunchest of Dortmund supporters will agree that Malaga was robbed of a place in the semi-finals this year by the referee.
Compared to the recent achievements of these Spanish second-tier clubs, their German counterparts come a cropper. Schalke last won in Europe in 1997 (UEFA Cup) and Hamburg back in 1983. Leverkusen (called Neverkusen) is yet to win the Bundesliga and its last European success was the Champions League final back in 2002.
In such a scenario to suggest Bundesliga is better than La Liga is plain ridiculous.
The two recent results were great no doubt, but for the German league to better the Spanish league will take a couple of decades at least, just as it will take the Spanish national team the same time (or more) to match the consistency (and results) of the German national team.
Image: Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski celebrates with his teammate Marcel Schmelzer (right)
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuters
Spanish clubs most consistent in Champions League
Brazil (Selecao) might be the most loved -- and most successful -- football team across the globe but the Germans (Die Mannshaft) are easily the most consistent side in the history of football. Just because the Spanish national team has been winning everything in recent times doesn't mean than the Germans aren't good.
Similarly, just because Bayern and Dortmund thumped Barca and Real this time, doesn't mean the two Spanish giants will go downhill from here on. This result is a one-off.
When it comes to the Champions League, the Spanish clubs (with 13 titles) have been the most consistent. The German clubs have only six wins. Besides, the probability of a Spanish club winning the coveted title in the near future is far more than that of their German counterparts.All suggestions of Bundesliga trumping La Liga can, therefore, be put to rest. In fact one should enjoy the all German final in May, for it will take years before there's a repeat.
Image: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Dortmund
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuters