Photo via Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
The first important thing to realize is that Bayern Munich, despite being a German Club, is not purely made up of German players. In fact for this weekend’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern played six of a possible 14 German players. Like the Bundesliga, the German top division has grown clubs that have needed to spend more money on foreign players in order to keep up with other European superpowers. This means there is rarely a correlation between league powerhouses and the national team.
If we follow the logic of teams that dominate European competition and see dominance in international competition, then the English national team should be in an era of dominance, as Liverpool and Tottenham were the two clubs that got all the way to the final last year. Despite the Three Lions looking significantly stronger than they once did, they are still not a true contender to win any major international competition as long as France and Belgium don’t slip up. With that being said let’s take a look at those two superpowers.
Belgium is one of the top teams in every international competition. The national team is in the so-called “Golden Generation” which is a group of players that we will rarely see from nations like this. Belgium has done this without having a true superpower in their domestic league. The most notable club in Belgium is Club Brugge, who will not make it out of their Champions League group. Despite not having a superpower in the domestic league, Belgium has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to players. Led by Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), and Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid) Belgium is the perfect example of what a small nation can be.
The other superpower in international football right now is defending World Cup Champion, France. France has a larger domestic league than Belgium, but it’s still not dominant on the international stage. PSG is a strong squad but outside of that, the league doesn’t have many noteworthy clubs. France has years of dominance ahead of it but the French league still doesn’t loom large in Europe.
So what has lead to Germany’s downfall? The simple truth is time.
Joachim Low has lead Germany to incredible heights in his time as manager, but the German boss has simply been passed up by other managers. Low was a wonderful manager in 2014 when his tactics were at their best. Low loves to use center forwards instead of strikers which is a position that German football academies are incredible at producing. Unfortunately, football tactics have moved passed the days where center forwards are the best way to go tactically. The only two noteworthy center forwards left in world football are Muller and Messi.
Germany and Bayern Munich were both once on the top of the world, but both are now falling as age catches up with their stars and management fails to move passed the golden years. The World Cup days for Germany are long gone but the nation still has some of the most exciting young talents in world football. Its time for the Germans to realize this and begin to move on from the old guard.