Bayern Munich take a 2-1 lead to Old Trafford on Wednesday when they face Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final and confidence is oozing from the 21 times German champions. On Saturday night, Bayern took the lead in the Bundesliga title race by beating Schalke, the previous leaders, 2-1 away, provoking a round of gloating from Uli Hoeness, Munich's president.
"What really makes you a good team is when you show in the battle of the giants what you are capable of," said Hoeness "We are by far and away the best team in Germany and when it comes down to it, we are simply better than the others. I am sorry for them. Schalke saw here today that they are not allowed to become German champions." Ironically, Hoeness said that staying level headed will be the key to a successful season for his side.
"I'm not going to get totally euphoric, but if we remain clever and humble, then this could be a beautiful year for FC Bayern," he added. Bayern's strong European run has put the Bundesliga in a strong position to overtake Italy in Uefa's coefficients list, which would give the league four places in the Champions League instead of three. Christian Seifert, the chairman of the German Football League, says the Bundesliga could surpass Spain's Primera Liga and become Europe's second strongest league.
"If we take a look at Uefa's five-year coefficients, then we see pleasing results for the Bundesliga recently," Seifert told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. "If we consider our financial capabilities and the stability of our business model, then the aim of the Bundesliga in the long run has got to be second place behind the Premier League." Germany currently lie fourth in the coefficients - which take into account the performances of a league's sides in European competition over a five-year period - but when the 2005-06 season is dropped from next season, that will take Germany above Italy, giving them an extra starting berth in the Champions League from 2012-13. Yet the Bundesliga could go ahead of Serie A this term, should Inter Milan's Champions League challenge stutter and Bayern continue their charge towards the final. Hamburg and Wolfsburg are also flying the flag for Germany in the Europa League and they can pick up points to dislodge Serie A from third position and give the Bundesliga four places in Europe's elite club competition to play for from next season.