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By ESPN Staff
Apr 15, 2009

Van Bommel bemoans financial disadvantage

German clubs are still a long way behind the European pace-setters from England and Spain, according to Bayern Munich captain Mark van Bommel.

He was powerless to prevent his team from exiting the Champions League after a 1-1 draw against Barcelona was not enough to prevent a 5-1 aggregate defeat.

And the former Barca midfielder claimed there is still too big a gulf between German and Spanish football.

"I am not criticising German football when I say that football in Spain is a lot better,'' he said. "It is all down to the money. I think if the team which is 18th in the Bundesliga came up against the side which is 18th in Spain, the German club would not win very often.''

Van Bommel, who was part of the Barcelona team which won the Champions League in 2006, is in a good enough position to make such a judgment.

He also knows what it takes to get to where Barcelona are, but remains sceptical of Bayern achieving it.

"They are the best team in the world,'' he said. "They are playing so well and can win three titles this year. All you need is one bad game against them and it results in a catastrophe. We were out after the first leg.

"It is difficult to get to the same level as Barcelona.''

Chelsea will have to do that in the semi-final if they are to make it to a second successive Champions League final, but the 2006 champions are certainly no pushover.

"They are the best team in world football at club level and I think we have seen that,'' admitted Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "They are a great example of where you can get with one or two contacts of the ball.

"We have learnt a lesson from them and know we have to improve next year.

Pep Guardiola's assistant coach Tito Vilanova, who stood in for the suspended head coach last night, was humble about his side's victory, claiming they have "achieved nothing yet''.

The Blaugrana still have the chance of winning a league, cup and Champions League treble this season and it is a measure of their determination to succeed on all three fronts that Vilanova was reluctant to talk about the semi-final with Chelsea.

"First of all, we have got to think of the league,'' he said. "The time to think about the semi-final will come, but now we are focusing on the game with Getafe because we want to maintain or increase our lead at the top of La Liga.

"Each three days, we have a game which is crucial for our future. It will not be easy, but if our players remain physically fit, it will be far easier to win at least one title.''

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