When it comes to attracting the best of the rest to their respective country, Germany are behind England in first and Italy in second. The Barclay’s Premier League, still seen by most as the best league in the world, although European showings this year would suggest otherwise, even if it is an anomaly season alongside consistently strong outings, attracts the most expatriates to its shores with 56.5% of last week’s minutes being played by imports. Comparably, third-placed Germany’s figure is just 43%.
Most interestingly, are the La Liga and Ligue 1 figures: Spain, current European and World Cup champions, as well as the home of Champions League and Club World Cup winners Barcelona, had an expatriate ratio of just 34%, whilst France, who produced this weekend’s three best performers from across the top five leagues in Europe (Hatem Ben Arfa, Eden Hazard & Karim Benzema) had an even smaller margin of expatriates at 31%. Perhaps the most blatant figure in support of England’s developing focus on homegrown players, yet.
In the top ten most heavily expatriate saturated teams, Premier League sides take up eight of the slots with Italy providing the other two. Serie A have the least nationalistic side in the rankings with Internazionale – unsurprisingly given their name was founded in their break away from A.C. Milan, unhappy with an Italian dominance within the first team – who are made up 89.6% by expatriates.
However, whilst Germany take up the middle ground when it comes to expatriates, which perhaps suggests they have the perfect blend of imports and homegrown talent, they lead in two key categories which place them head and shoulders above the rest and could prove to be vital factors in any success their clubs or country enjoy in the near future.
Firstly, on average, the Bundesliga is the tallest league in Europe towering over the pocket-sized La Liga (181.2cm) and its European counterparts in Ligue 1 (181.5cm), Serie A (181.8cm) and the Premier League (182.4cm), at a grandiose 183.1cm. Comparably, Stoke City, who are often thought of as the big bully boys of the Premier League, are exactly that: at 185.79cm, The Potters are the tallest side in not just the Premier League, but in the top five leagues in Europe. They even look down at Bayer Leverkusen, Bundesliga’s tallest side at 185.77cm.
In support of the big boys, this month has seen the two lumbering teams share one underdog trait: whilst 12th placed Stoke held title-chasers Manchester City to a 1-1 draw this weekend, with their tallest player 6’7 Peter Crouch scoring a sublime goal to level things, Bayer Leverkusen overcame Bundesliga’s own trophy seeking side Bayern Munich, by two goals to nil and the 6’5 Stefan Kiebling struck one of the decisive goals.
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