Well, the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 (“Achtelfinale”) is in, and the Bundesliga has got soem egg on their faces.
On the plus side, defending champion Bayern München looked reasonably good as they brushed aside Arsenal in London 2-0. Pretty much means they are going to advance.
Borussia Dortmund was solid for the first half, a bit sloppy in the second. But they too are fine with an easy 4-2 win at Zenit St.Petersburg. Obviously this was the easiest paring, but BVB got the job done and are likely to advance.
Now to the bad news.
Of course, Bayer Leverkusen went down sang -und klanglos 0-4 at home to Paris St.Germain. Pretty disgraceful, but we’re used to the Aspirins sucking in Europe, at least recently.
Then of course yesterday Schalke absolutely got crapped on and beaten up at home by Real Madrid 1-6. We’re used to Luserkusen acting like a limp noodle, but this one takes the cake. All players and management should be whipped for this. Now obviously Real is a better team, but this much better?
The first thought that comes to mind is that the Bundesliga isn’t nearly as strong top-bottom as we’d like to believe, a fact that has been pointed out by various readers. That was my first reaction too, but upon reflection I think it just shows the problem with all the Euro leagues. Each one really has only a couple of top teams, and the rest are largely ho-hum. PSG is clearly the class of France, as Barcelona and Real are in Spain. And with the exception of perhaps the EPL, the gaps between the top and the next is *real* big. So Schalke shows up and gets annihilated by Real. Maybe it’s not such a surprise after all, and you can’t draw much of a conclusion about league strength.
What would be interesting is that instead of worthless international friendlies, perhaps once in a while there could be a “league vs league” match, where all 18 of league play a match against the other 18. 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2 ….18 vs 18. That would settle it all about who’s stronger. Plus it would be a hell lot more interesting than the worthless Euroliga, that nobody cares about. Look at the matches below and say it wouldn’t be more interesting:
BUNDESLIGA vs EPL or La Liga 1 Bayern München Chelsea Real Madrid 2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen Arsenal Barcelona 3 Borussia Dortmund Man City Atl. madrid 4 FC Schalke 04 Liverpool Bilbao 5 VfL Wolfsburg Tottenham Villareal 6 Bor. Mönchengladbach Man United Real Sociedad 7 Hertha BSC Berlin (N) Everton Valencia 8 FC Augsburg Newcastle Sevilla 9 1. FSV Mainz 05 Southampton Levante 10 1899 Hoffenheim West Ham Espanyol 11 Hannover 96 Hull Celta Vigo 12 1. FC Nürnberg Swansea Osasuna 13 Eintracht Frankfurt Aston Villa Granada 14 Werder Bremen Norwich Elche 15 VfB Stuttgart Stoke Getafe 16 Hamburger SV Crystal Palace Almeria 17 SC Freiburg West Brom Malaga 18 Eintracht Braunschweig Sunderland Valladolid