With last year's historic Treble, Bayern has gained a tremendous amount of international exposure. The Bundesliga as a whole, in fact, benefited from the all-German Champions League Final. By displaying the speed, tactical prowess, drama, and pure, unadulterated talent on the world's biggest [club] stage, viewers around the globe were exposed to what the Bundesliga has to offer in spades.
While that, in and of itself, provides a boon to Germany's top-tier of football, the fact of the matter is that Bayern and Dortmund both earned a tremendous amount of money from the competition. Those funds, in part, were responsible for the incoming (and outgoing) transfers of Mario Götze, Thiago Alcantara, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. While certain factions may argue otherwise, those infusions of funds helped bolster the league with the acquisitions of additional talents and the introduction of new ones to the Bundesliga. Despite the current disparity in the league table, it's hard to argue against the fact that more talent makes for a better product in Germany.
Seemingly against all odds, Bayern in 2013/2014 looks even stronger and more dangerous than they did during their monumental 2012/2013 campaign. And while the Dortmund contingent may feel otherwise at the moment, their recent success internationally can pose them for long-term, sustainable excellence both domestically and in Europe. Their immediate losses of Götze and Lewandowski may sting, but the stronger financial picture allows them to invest in their academy, expand their global outreach, and actually be legitimate bidders for the top footballing talents on the planet.
Using last year as an example of the financial benefits to the Bundesliga, we can gain a reasonable picture of how the German clubs fared throughout. The total financial distributions for clubs can be found at UEFA's website, here. Please note that amounts are indicated in Euros.
|FC Bayern Munich
|FC Schalke 04
While I don't pretend to understand how the Market-Pool category is broken down, you can see the general, rough amounts earned by each club, through each round. It should be noted that Gladbach earned themselves a cool 2.1M Euros for their participation in the Playoff Round against Dynamo Kiev.
Certainly, it's unprecedented for two German teams to advance as far as both Bayern and Dortmund last year, but it's not unreasonable for multiple clubs to advance to the Round of 16. As Schalke proved from 2012/2013, doing so can be very lucrative, with an addition of nearly 28M Euros to their bankroll.
How This Impacts the Bundesliga as a Whole
While only three of the 18 Bundesliga teams were truly represented in the Champions League last year, it's not difficult to see how this impacts the domestic league. Bayern had the funds readily on hand to trigger Götze's release clause and sign Thiago; Dortmund brought in two young, talented players and are poised to bolster their squad in the next transfer period; and Schalke has had the financial potency to sign Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sidney Sam, and extended the contract of one of Germany's most promising young attacking players, Donis Avdijaj, for the foreseeable future.
Beyond the influx and retention of top talents, the Bundesliga as a whole received a huge shot in the arm from the international prominence. Just five months after the German clash at Wembley, 21st Century Fox procured the rights to broadcast Bundesliga matches in previously many previously under-exposed regions, most notably the North American market. Increased exposure internationally is good for every team in the league, from the Dortmunds to the Augsburgs. Television revenue, kit sales, and website traffic (and consequently gift shop sales) will improve for practically everybody involved, even if only a few teams are at the forefront.
With Bayern opening a New York City-based office in the near future and participating in a North American tour of friendlies this summer, the team and the league's growing reach is becoming exceedingly more apparent. (Now if they could just lower the damn shipping fees from the FCB online shop...)
Rivalries and Comraderies
Perhaps I just spent 600+ words telling you things that you already know. If so, this is the where I finally reach my point. Although the picture painted above indicates that it's beneficial to all German parties involved to advance far into the Champions League competition, there is certainly a conflict of interest for many supporters. Much of fandom is rooted in deep-seeded rivalries and history with our Bundesliga colleagues. Whether the recent sting of BVB dominating Bayern and the Bundesliga may stoke a fire of spite; or long-standing, antagonistic relationship with the Schalkers makes it difficult to get behind them; many supporters may take issue with the notion of rooting for German competition in Europe.
Sometimes, the thrill of schadenfreude eclipses the rational approach that success is better for all of us. That a more successful Dortmund, makes for a stronger Dortmund, which, in turn, makes for a stronger Bayern and a stronger Bundesliga.
As has been mentioned, the 2013/2014 Bundesliga title race is all but over; but for the long-term prominence of the league, it's crucial for our fellow German clubs to do well. The best German league is one where -- regrettably? -- Bayern is not the only imposing force. If the other top clubs continue on their path, with competitive performances in Europe and solid investment in their club and infrastructure, German football will be much stronger as a unit.
What are your thoughts on our fellow German compatriots in non-Bundesliga competitions? Can you set aside your domestic rivalries with the greater good of the Bundesliga in mind? Discuss below!
Editor's Note: Andy is a new contributor here at Bavarian Football Works. You can follow him on Twitter at @Philanova06.