When it comes to making fans and media alike lovestruck in sudden and spellbinding fashion, Germany's Bundesliga has ticked all the required boxes in this, its 50th season.
Dazzling, attractive, marketable football? Check.
Success on a European platform? Check.
Television coverage on a major British channel? Check.
Endearingly-sensible business model and affordable pricing scale? Check.
Young, dashing, charismatic and perhaps even sexy managers? Check.
Brutal and uncompromising destruction of the previous concensus darlings? Check.
Of course, this checklist has almost entirely been chalked off by two of the 18 top-flight clubs: the two who will contest this season’s Champions League final, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
The attention heaped upon them by the majority of the mainstream for their accomplishments is richly-deserved.
However, to get so giddy over a division which is pretty much doing what it always has been doing, just because we were getting bored of drooling over Barcelona and Jose Mourinho’s latest edition of ‘How To Lose Friends And Alienate People’, is a bit daft.
Look, I’m not saying it’s wrong to suddenly get all keen on a good thing because other people are unanimously agreeing that it is, indeed, a good thing.
But here’s a novel concept: rather than us all raising the Bundesliga's stock until it drops again, then declaring it over-the-hill (as some fans and journalists have laughably done with Barca this season), how about we just continue to enjoy what it has to offer?
Even if this feat of Champions League dominance cannot be repeated by them or their domestic rivals, even if the Bundesliga magazine show does not last, even if that sexy, sexy man Jurgen Klopp takes up employment elsewhere.
You know… come for the cool stuff, stay for the great league with affordable tickets, strong competition for titles and places, healthy nurturing of future talent and attractive football. Oh, and currywurst. You gotta stay for the currywurst.
I hate to be the one to break the news, but nothing has changed in Germany, outside of the increased spotlight.
Dortmund’s rise, while the best challenge to Bayern’s supremacy in ages, is the latest relative-underdog to capture the hearts of football diehards. Wolfsburg, Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen… Dortmund will simply now aim to stick around longer than any of them – including their own previous assaults on the Bundesliga summit.
And yes, Bayern poached star players from all of the above, too, for having the audacity to try to prevent a national monopoly.
Speaking of Bayern, this is their fifth CL final in 14 years and their third in four, and yet I’ve never heard the phrase ‘the beautiful game’ or any of its synonyms used in the same sentence as the Bavarians until some chap called Pep decided to saunter into Munich.
In addition to being behind only the likes of France and Romania when it comes to title race diversity, each Bundesliga season sees a strong and largely-unpredictable battle across the entire table’s length.
Well, except for Greuther Fuerth. Those poor sods were doomed for relegation from the start, Henry Kissinger or no Henry Kissinger.
And yes, the currywurst has always been there too.
In closing, once the two German clubs come and go from London, once the inevitable moment comes that most of their current flavour is imported by other leagues and the all-German finals end, please consider sticking around.
Keep an eye on results, highlights, players. You won’t regret it. The Bundesliga is for life, not just for Wembley.
The football really is that good, most of the time.
And yes, Jurgen Klopp is always THAT sexy.
- Sports & Recreation
- Borussia Dortmund