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May 6, 2013

Bierhoff eyes UCL springboard

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff believes the all-German Champions League final could be a decisive step for the national team prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

On May 25, a German team will lift a European trophy for the first time since Bayern Munich's glory in 2001, as Borussia Dortmund will meet their Bundesliga counterparts Bayern at Wembley.

In light of the impression made this season, there have been suggestions German football represents the model to follow, but Bierhoff is remaining reserved.

"It could be the initial spark and maybe the beginning of a change of guard," he told kicker. "That Bayern Munich made it to the final three times over the past four years is however not a coincidence.

"But all of this has to be confirmed over the next months and years, but I am fairly optimistic about that."

Only recently, Bierhoff had said Germany would not go into the 2014 World Cup as favourites, saying it was "rather impossible" to win the title in Brazil.

But, with the Champions League trophy heading to Germany for the first time in 12 years, Bierhoff now believes this could be the extra push German football needed to establish a winning mentality once again.

He said: "The expectations will indeed not lessen. The Champions League final could be the initial spark in the players' minds to be able to make that last step. This last step has been missing in club football and in the national team over the past few years."

Since 2006, the German national team has reached the semi-finals of every tournament, but has failed to lift a trophy. Bayern, meanwhile, have lost their two last Champions League finals.

Bierhoff added: "When we discussed the future at DFB (German Football Association), I have always said we only have to deal with the question 'What comes after Barca?'

"Both teams have shown which style of play can offer solutions. German virtues like discipline, athleticism and running ability combined with the, by now, players' great technical abilities."

The Germany team manager also believes that the Bundesliga in general has become the top league in Europe.

"If you compare all the leagues the quality of the games in Bundesliga stands on top," he said. "The investments that have been made, also by DFB, in the infrastructure, in the training of the coaches and also the players are of use on broad levels."

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