The year was 1990. I was just 12 years old and absolutely thrilled to see West Germany win the FIFA World Cup in Italy. Right after the match, Franz Beckenbauer, who led that team in Rome, said in the press conference: "I am sorry for the rest of the world, but with the added East Germany players, this team will not be beaten in the upcoming years."
Not only because I wanted to, but because he was the Kaiser, I took Beckenbauer's statement as fact. However, we would soon see that German dominance was not about to follow.
Sometimes I am reminded of that famous Beckenbauer quote when I hear all the current talk about how the Bundesliga is going to dominate Europe for years to come. After all, we have got a first all-German UEFA Champions League final. To me, this smacks of hubris. German football is certainly not in the doldrums, but I am reluctant to suggest it will be on top of the world for the foreseeable future.
Of course, there is no denying that Borussia Dortmund – who advanced from one of the toughest ever groups – and FC Bayern München, dominant all season, deserve their place in the showpiece. This, however, does not mean the start of a new era.
The Bundesliga does plenty right, but, until this year, Bayern have been their only regular challengers. In England, the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea FC and, not so long ago, even Liverpool FC have had the pedigree to impress. In Italy, there has been Juventus and the two Milan clubs; Spain have FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF.
Though Germany now have Dortmund as well as Bayern, BVB will have some rebuilding to do this summer. FC Schalke 04 are a viable third contender, yet they have so far failed to establish themselves on a consistent basis. Bayern and Borussia may be this term's standout contenders, but the Bundesliga has a long way to go to be in a league of its own.
There are no shortage of other clubs who will soon be back on the scene. Juventus are resurgent, Chelsea are restructuring and Barça will be looking to develop a Plan B. Madrid, meanwhile, are sure to be strong again next term, while Paris Saint-Germain FC are also upwardly mobile.
We have had an all-English, all-Spanish and all-Italian UEFA Champions League final before. On each occasion, clubs from a different country lifted the trophy the following season. Fans of the Bundesliga should enjoy their moment in the sun and enjoy a great final. However, beware the chasing pack.
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