Bundesliga booms despite loss of Oezil and KhediraAugust 18th, 2010 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS
Berlin, Aug 18 (DPA) The new Bundesliga season kicks off Saturday with the German league in rude health despite the loss of two of its biggest stars over the summer to Spain’s Primera Liga.
Mesut Oezil and Sami Khedira will both play for Real Madrid this season after securing lucrative transfers on the back of impressive performances for Germany during the Mannschaft’s run to the World Cup semi-finals this summer.
However, Michael Ballack returns to former club Bayer Leverkusen from Chelsea while Real legend Raul will line out for Schalke 04 as Felix Magath’s side look to break champions Bayern Munich’s grip on the league.
“I find it great that he has found his way to the Bundesliga,” said Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer of Raul’s decision to move to Germany.
Munich have been busy themselves over the summer, tying World Cup Golden Boot winner Thomas Mueller down to a long-term contract until 2015 although coach Louis van Gaal will be without Dutch winger Arjen Robben for the opening two months of the campaign.
The 26-year-old aggravated a hamstring injury in Holland’s run to the World Cup final, a situation that has led to Bayern demanding the Dutch football federation pay the player’s wages while he is out.
Nearly half a million season tickets have been sold by the Bundesliga’s 18 clubs for the upcoming season with 13 sides having to suspend sales so as to have a percentage of tickets available on match days.
Borussia Dortmund lead the way with 51,000, followed by Schalke on 40,000 and Bayern on 37,600.
“The Bundesliga is the best product ion the world. We are better when it comes to the stadiums, the infrastructure and the performance,” said German Football Federation (DFB) sporting director Matthias Sammer.
Bayern’s run to the final of last season’s Champions League is further evidence of the Bundesliga’s strength and, should European performances hold up, Germany will get a fourth qualification place in the tournament for the 2012/2013 season at the expense of Italy.
Germany’s top clubs have been restrained in their spending over the summer, spending a total of 90 million euros ($115 million) for players, nearly 60 million less than last season.
Not surprisingly, double winners Bayern are strong favourites to retain their league and cup crowns, while another strong performance in the Champions League is expected.
“Munich are the top favourites for the title because they are familiar with each other,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew.
“But it takes a lot of stamina to be in the running for three titles right until the end. It’s not unusual for a top favourite to miss out on the championship.”
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Tags: arjen robben, bayer leverkusen, dutch football, felix magath, franz beckenbauer, german football federation, german football federation dfb, german league, golden boot, half a million, impressive performances, louis van gaal, matthias sammer, mesut, michael ballack, primera liga, real madrid, sami khedira, schalke 04, thomas mueller