Bundesliga the place to be - Niersbach
Wolfgang Niersbach, the president of the German FA (DFB), has praised the quality of the country's domestic league and said: "If I was a football pro today, I would rather play in the Bundesliga than in Italy or Spain."
Niersbach told tz online the Bundesliga was on an upward curve after Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund contested last season’s Champions League final and highly-rated young stars from overseas joined German clubs in the summer.
Last week, Thiago Alcantara became the fifth international from abroad to sign for a Bundesliga club this summer.
The ex-Barcelona player followed France Under-20 international Christopher Jullien, who joined Freiburg, Greece Under-20 centre-back Konstantinos Stafylidis, who moved to Leverkusen, and Italy Under-21 internationals Giulio Donati and Luca Caldirola, who joined Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen respectively.
In another interview, Niersbach told Munich's Abendzeitung that the arrival of Thiago "is fantastic for the Bundesliga".
"If I was a football pro today, I would rather play in the Bundesliga than in Italy or Spain," he said. "We have a perfect environment, a perfect infrastructure with our stadiums, the reliability of management –the Bundesliga is top-notch."
However, former sports journalist Niersbach said that although he believed the Bundesliga was the best in Europe, "all opinions are bound to be subjective".
"The Bundesliga is a premium product that does not need to hide from any other league," he said.
"The overall image is superb - the solid economic management, the integrity, the capacity for enthusiasm. Last season we had an average attendance of 44,000.
"That's sensational, and that is mostly down to hosting the 2006 World Cup. Without the [World Cup hosting] vote on July 6 2000, the Allianz Arena [Munich’s stadium, like many others, was constructed after Germany won the bid to host the 2006 World Cup] would have never been built.
"Ever since its opening, it has been sold out for FC Bayern games."