German football is very much in the eye of the English media at the moment. After Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund’s superb victories against Spanish footballs elite powers, they will engage in the first all German European cup final at Wembley.
This had led to more insight into German football which includes fan ownership, cheap match-day tickets and the progression of young German players. German football can teach lessons to the rest of the footballing world.
The semi-finals of the Champions League astonished many. The sheer dominance of Bayern over Barcelona suggested a power-shift in European football. Barcelona, top of the perch for so many years, may be overtaken. However, this is a side that has now reached 3 of the last four European cup finals. We should’ve expected them to create a stir sooner, as their displays in European football haven’t been sudden, it’s been building up for years.
Then there’s Borussia Dortmund. A team that nearly ceased to exist and became the first public, and so far still the only, club to trade on the German stock exchange. They took German football by storm and gave Bayern a really tough time. Last season alone tells you just how class the team is. However, many were still shocked by their performances in the Champions League.
I, like others, had them tipped as dark horses in this years competition and they haven’t disappointed, picking up many plaudits along the way. Some argue that with Kagawa gone, Gotze on his way to Bayern and Lewandowski packing his bags that this side will fall but I don’t necessarily see it that way. They’re a club with brilliant youth development and the funds to replace if needed. Dortmund are far from finished.
Fan ownership has been tried and tested in England with limited success and only smaller clubs on the brink of extinction trying their luck. It’s a debate that regularly crops up and I truly believe that in the future many will turn to these methods. German football proves that it can work with big clubs and that it doesn’t create huge complications like many argue it will.
Ticket prices are where English football could learn a real lesson from Germany. The prices to watch football create many issues and price many out of experiencing a live match. And for what? Bayern’s President makes a superb point.
“We could charge more than £104. Let’s say we charged £300. We’d get £2m more in income but what’s £2m to us? In a transfer discussion you argue about that sum for five minutes. But the difference between £104 and £300 is huge for the fan. We do not think the fans are like cows, who you milk. Football has got to be for everybody.”
It’s a point you can’t argue with. Some of the prices are extortionate in England and give no telling benefit to the club that receives the money. To the everyday individual the sums the prices generate are a huge sum of money but to a Premier League football club it’s pennies.
Fans in England are being treated like customers rather than supporters. Germany remembers that without fans, there is no football club. England, take note. Otherwise the Premier League could fall behind the Bundesliga and we pride ourselves in being the ‘best league in the world.’
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