Germany's road to success
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all qualified top of their UEFA Champions League group while Hannover 96, Borussia Monchengladbach and Leverkusen are into the the last 32 of the Europa league this season. Add to this fact that Bayern Munich was last season’s runner up in the UEFA Champions League and the German national team has successfully reached the semi finals of all international competitions since 2006. All this signifies that German football, as a whole, is thriving.
The success is the proof of how efficient and stable German football has become with their glorious domestic league, which boasts of the highest attendance among all European leagues, and a world beating national team. All of this success sounds all the more impressive considering the fact that just over a decade ago, the German national side was going through one of their darkest days.
At the start of the new millennium an ageing German side entered into the European championship as defending champions and were knocked out of the group stage after a mediocre and uninspiring showing. This prompted the German Football Federation to take a new path to salvage their interest – invest in the youth. All clubs in the top two divisions of the German domestic league were asked to builtd youth academies to earn the right to play. Billions of dollars were spent on helping 12-15 year olds to develop their talent. Now, over a decade down the line, no country, with the exception of Spain, has such a vast pool of talented young players to pick from.
Dortmund, Bayern and Schalke may well have the best youth system within the country as they contribute to the backbone of the national side. With the likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and others who came along the Dortmund youth system and playing an integral part in the team, Dortmund has taken the world by storm with their performance in this season’s UEFA Champions League, finishing first in their group consisting of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Ajax, all of whom are champions of their respective domestic leagues.
Bayern Munich has Schweinsteiger, Lahm and more recently Badstuber and Muller coming into their team along the youth ranks while Schalke has Julian Draxler, Lewis Holtby, Benedikt Howedes and Manuel Neuer (now at Bayern) who came through their youth system.
Even the smaller clubs are chipping in with production of world class talents like Andre Schurrle, Sven and Lars Bender, Gonzalo Castro in Leverkuesen; Sven Ulreich, Sedar Tasci and Mario Gomez in Stuttgart; Patrick Herrmann and Marc-Andre ter Stegan in Monchengladbach; Toni Kroos in Hansa Rostok to name a few.
By promoting talented young players to the team thereby reducing the need to spend more in transfers and high attendance in the stadium almost all the teams are financially stable unlike their English and Spanish counterparts. With the wealth of homegrown talent in the domestic league the national team too has benefitted highly.
By their astute and farsighted decision making and strong hand, they took to bring it into practice it is evident that German national team and club sides are a force to be reckoned with in the footballing world and has shown the world that this may well be the best and most successful method to achieve success. It is now only a matter of time before the German teams takes one step forward and starts winning cups as opposed to being the runner ups.