The desire of German fans to keep the Bundesliga free from lucrative television deals has been outlined on this site before. Such a mentality is all well and good when preserving the authenticity of the fans’ experience. After all, they pay the money to watch their beloved teams play.
At the same time, the brutal fact is that clubs further down the Bundesliga table will struggle to compete with the English Premier League through this model. By this, I mean in terms of keeping hold of star players, as well as being able to attract big names to Germany.
This reality has been highlighted by statistics showing the gulf between promoted sides in Europe compared to those who have come up from the EFL Championship.
While Fulham, Cardiff and Wolves spent a combined £198m between them, promoted clubs throughout Germany, Spain, Italy and France spent just £40m between them, as reported by The Guardian.
Financial inferiority is not confined to the Bundesliga as shown by the combined spending power of promoted teams in Europe compared to the English game. Looking at the promoted sides in Germany, the riches on offer for Cardiff, Wolves and Fulham seem a distant proposition.
After three consecutive seasons of finishing tenth or below in Bundesliga 2, Fortuna Dusseldorf came from nowhere to win the league last season. It’s a meteoric rise for a club who were formed through the establishment of a gymnastics club in the village of Flingern, northeast of the city.
The name Fortuna allegedly comes from the bakery in the village at the time of the foundation of the club.
As tasty as this story is, there will be no sweet taste if the club were to be relegated back down to the second division. Whether they can attract enough big players is a testing question with their budget only allowing them to spend in the region of six million euros.
Fortuna’s most valuable assets are Marvin Ducksch, Kaan Ayhan and 20-year-old Dodi Lukebakio, on loan from Watford. All three are valued at around two-three million euros. Ducksh himself was bought for two million from St. Pauli.
Such value is peanuts in the Premier League and is nearly eight times less than the £16m Wolves splashed out to sign Ruben Neves from Porto while in the Championship.
As for Nurnberg, defensive midfielder Eduard Löwen is their most valuable player as he is said to be around the four million mark, having progressed from the second team. With a total market value of around 29 million euros, Nurnberg are also comparatively meagre when it comes to funds compared to those seeking survival in the English top-flight.
As Fulham spent £25m for Jean Michael Seri and roughly £22m on Aleksandar Mitrović, Nurnberg forked out a measly £630,000 in total with goalkeeper Christian Mathenia making up the majority of that after signing from Hamburg.
Welcome home, Aleksandar Mitrović!
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) July 30, 2018
Gross differences between promoted clubs in Germany and England highlights how the Bundesliga will not be able to attract the best talent on offer. Billionaire owners go to the English game because that is simply where the global attention and megabucks are on offer.
For the German game, it is perhaps to the fans’ wishes that they are able to watch grounded players who care for the integrity of their clubs rather than fat pay packets.
Simultaneously, however, the Bundesliga and its smaller clubs will never be able to keep hold of any superstars that do emerge as they will immediately be snapped up by the likes of Wolves and Fulham. In that sense, it is a shame for Germany’s smaller clubs.
It would not take long for a player’s head to turn if they could prove they are good enough to play in England after all.