Bayern Munich’s Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid hs prompted much soul searching as Germany comes to terms with the fact that they have representative left in Europe.
Bayern’s elimination followed that of Stuttgart, who had fallen to Chelsea the day before.
With no German side left in the UEFA Cup either, the Bundesliga is falling behind the big three in Europe comprising Spain, Italy and England and is even in danger of being eclipsed by France’s Ligue which who boasts two teams in the last eight of the Champions League.
Representatives of Bayern sought soolace in the fact that the club were not outclassed Real Madrid in last night’s tie.
“I don’t like defeat but we proved that we could play on the same level as probably the strongest team in the world,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“Finding that out was a relief up to a point, even if there is obviously some frustration.”
However, German daily Bild delivered a harsher verdict on Bayern.
“It’s your fault, Bayern,” ran a headline.
“Why did you start playing football only after conceding a goal?”
Meanwhile, Stuttgart coach Felix Magath, who saw his team lose 1-0 on aggregate to Chelsea, argued that his players had nothing to be ashamed of.
“I would say we were unlucky to go out,” he said.
“We really challenged Chelsea, and I think that’s a team who will go far.
“As for Bayern, I think they are still among Europe’s elite, as are Manchester United and Juventus (who were both also eliminated).”
Looking at the broader picture, Magath believes that all interested partiues should do their utmost to ensure German football remains competitive.
“Everybody in German football must ask himself whether he is doing the maximum and that goes for the youth sides as well as for the top teams,” Magath wrote in a column in Kicker.
“Otherwise the problems will not go away.”