Evolution of Bundesliga :
World Champs, Germany lifted their fourth World Cup title against Argentina with a scoreline of 1-0 as Super “Mario” Gotze scored the only goal of the final assisted by Andre Schuerrle at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, July 13, 2014. The 24 year wait ended. Germany implemented a 10 year development program following their embarrassing exits from the Euro campaigns of 2000 and 2004 for the youth players. The Bundesliga campaign which included players like Shkodran Mustafi , Sami Khedira, Manuel Neuer , Jérôme Boateng , Benedikt Höwedes , Mesut Özil , Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer all worth a shot.
Contributed from the Bundesliga ,the Midfield of Germany since 2008 has developed rapidly. It would appear little has changed since Euro 2012 since they lost the semi –final against Italy. Bender , Draxler , Gundogan , Khedira , Kroos ,Mueller ,Ozil ,Reus ,Schuerrle , Podolski , Schweinsteiger all passed through the academics of Bundesliga have matured over the last couple of years.
It is not often that the Champions League final is a single country affair. On May 25th, 2013 the world watched Bayern Munich score in the 89th minute to beat Borussia Dortmund by 2-1 at London’s Wembley Stadium. The symbolism was powerful. As a result, the power within football suddenly shifted towards Germany and it continued.
The most striking change observed was Philipp Lahm playing in CM from RB for Bayern Munich as implemented by Pep Guardiola. He is known for the “Tiki Taka “ concept at Barcelona during his years from 2008-2012. The idea was that the team became more disciplined with a greater focus on possession and adopted a more disciplined and aggressive pressing style. Jogi Loew , an Ex- footballer with a broken dream and also the manager of this World Cup winning team made use of this blueprint by Guardiola. He studied the game on and off field and implemented Lahm into the Midfield area as he was playing the same for Bayern Munich for the last season.
The performance of Germany was impressive against Portugal after the 4-0 thrashing. It was near misses to Ghana and USA. Although considered favorites after Spain and Brazil, Germany was heavily criticized especially Loew for his tactics against Algeria. A high defensive line was creating a number of chances for Algeria to crack open the German defence. The problem was the absence of the original RB, “Philipp Lahm” who operates freely from the right wing supplying long crosses to the forward area but was instead placed in the central midfield. It was not his area of expertise causing a bit of turbulence in the Germans midfield area although he maintained his pace well till the Quarter finals.
Lahm came back to his RB position against France, Brazil and Argentina. This change in position for the captain gave the team a tighter organization and stability to score goals and dismantle the opposition defence. It expressed the pace, dribbling and tackling abilities of Lahm on field. There was no star player like Ronaldo, Messi or Neymar but a collective team effort which was the essential ingredient to their World Cup success. The midfield playmakers like Kroos, Khedira, Ozil and Schweinsteiger added the creativity, brilliance and flare to their opposition. Lahm from his natural position of right back added pace to the attack. Manuel Neuer was brilliant in net, winning the Golden Glove award. Thomas Muller added goals as usual to his record as an attacking midfielder which was displayed aginast Brazil in the 7-1 win.
We used to see very less world class German stars playing outside their homeland. But things have changed much in recent years. Arsenal are forming a mini- Germany team with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker, and Lukas Podolski playing their trade at emirates. Youngsters like Serge Gnabry are breaking into the senior team while young talents like Georgios Spanoudakis (recent signing) are being brought in on regular basis. Other players like André Schürrle , Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos also play in major leagues outside Germany. Playing in a foreign leagues will definitely give much needed exposure to this golden generation of German footballers.
Next stop is the Euro 2016. The challenge is now laid out after the Euro Disaster of 2000 and 2004. This generation seems get more hungrier for success after lifting the trophy. Germany becomes the first European nation to win in the Americas and was a significant signpost to that night after 24 years.