On Thursday VfL Wolfsburg defeated FC Krasnodar 4-2 while Borussia Mönchengladbach steamrollered Cypriot side Apollon Limissol 5-0 at Borussia Park in Europa League competition to complete a clean sweep of six victories in six European matches this week by Bundesliga clubs. In Tuesday’s Champions League matches, Bayern Munich destroyed AS Roma in Italy by a 7-1 score while FC Schalke won a back and forth battle in Gelsenkirchen 4-3 over Sporting Lisbon. Wednesday saw Borussia Dortmund easily take apart Galatasaray in Turkey,with Kloppo’s boys keeping their Champions League record perfect in a 4-0 victory while Bayer Leverkusen shut out Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0. For the week of European matches, the six Bundesliga clubs outscored their opponents by an aggregate total of 26-6.
Impressive, yes. And while the skeptic could state that the Bundesliga clubs were facing a fairly weak group of opponents, that’s overall a disservice to what was accomplished by the German teams this week. AS Roma are second in Serie A, a point behind Juventus, while Galatasaray are but a point behind Beşiktaş in the Turkish table. Zenit St. Petersburg are table-toppers in the Russian Premier League, while FC Krasnador are fifth but are +9 in goal differential. Sporting Lisbon is undefeated in Portuguese league play thus far this season, although that record includes four draws among its seven league fixtures. To put the calibre of Bundesliga opponents this week in context, EPL sides played Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow, NK Maribor, Lille, Anderlecht and Asteras Tripoli, a group superior perhaps only because it includes the Spanish giants. EPL clubs won three European matches this week, while drawing twice and losing once. The EPL clubs outscored their European opponents this week by an aggregate 14-8 margin.
One week is just one week, and the Bundesliga has suffered some black eyes earlier this season such as the matches in which Wolfsburg were humbled by Everton in England 4-1, when AS Monaco downed Bayer Leverkusen in Germany 1-0 and additionally the match in which NK Maribor were able to earn a draw against Schalke in Gelsenkirchen. But then, one must take into account that the same Schalke side earned a draw in London against Chelsea despite the German side being in poor form, and also European wins thus far by Bundesliga clubs over Arsenal, Manchester City and Benfica.
An article posted today on the Bundesliga’s official site clearly illustrates how well the league is doing this season in Champions League competition as opposed to the joint efforts made by the tournament clubs from the EPL, Serie A, and La Liga. The German clubs in the first leg of group competition have earned the most aggregate points, averaged earning the most points per match, have scored the most goals and allowed the fewest. With three remaining rounds of matches left in the group stage, it’s completely reasonable to think that all four German clubs advancing to the knock-out stage of the tournament. And while Gladbach and Wolfsburg started more slowly in Europa League play, their wins on Thursday provide each club with a sturdier foundation to advance.
And while it would be perhaps unwise to draw too many conclusions from the facts above, it’s safe to say that the Bundesliga is as good as any domestic league in Europe, and while Bayern is the league’s dominant club, it’s more a matter of Bayern being one of the very top clubs in the world, rather than the Bundesliga consisting of one giant and seventeen dwarfs.