Monday, February 19, 2018

Riedle defends Bundesliga quality amid early Champions League struggles

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 17 Oct 2017

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Karl-Heinz Riedle has rejected suggestions of a decline in the quality of the Bundesliga and wants both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich to do well in the Champions League.

Bayern made an unusually slow start to the season, losing to Hoffenheim and drawing with Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin.

A 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League cost head coach Carlo Ancelotti his job and led the club to tempt Jupp Heynckes out of retirement to serve as caretaker. 

Bayern’s problems have allowed Dortmund to open up a two-point lead at the top of the table, but Peter Bosz watched his players lose 3-1 away to Tottenham and suffer defeat by the same scoreline to holders Real Madrid in UEFA’s elite club competition. 

It remains to be seen if German football’s biggest clubs can reassert themselves on the European stage this season, but Riedle – who scored twice in Dortmund’s win over Juventus in the 1997 final – is not concerned about the level of the domestic competition. 

“That’s b******t,” he told Omnisport when asked about criticism of the standard of play in the Bundesliga.

“I mean, I don’t agree. This is a time and a moment, maybe, but look – [the] Premier League had it for a long time, everybody was saying the Premier League was so bad. But it wasn’t so bad, at this time they maybe have been quite unlucky, and we are the same. 

“At the end of the day… I’m quite sure the Bundesliga is still very on top against the other leagues.

“We don’t have to hide behind the Premier League or even the Spanish league. I think even if we look at our national team, you could see we have absolutely top players there.”

Dortmund and Bayern were both eliminated from the Champions League in the quarter-finals last season while Bayer Leverkusen bowed out in the last 16, Borussia Monchengladbach having failed to progress from the group stage.

And Riedle is willing to put BVB’s rivalry with their Bavarian foes to one side when national pride is a stake. 

“I want to see all our clubs doing very well in Europe, that’s the main thing,” he said.

“It’s more interesting when Bayern is on top, and we have really top level games. The most important thing is that we don’t lose the contact to the European teams. 

“Bayern will maybe go out of Champions League, or we may go out of Champions League – it would not be the best for Bundesliga for sure. 

“So we have to be very careful that both Bayern and ourselves are on top of our performances.”

Dortmund will attempt to bounce back from their loss to Madrid when they visit APOEL on Tuesday, while Bayern host Celtic the following day.

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