Sammer: I have total confidence in Heynckes

Bayern Munich’s sporting director Matthias Sammer has spoken of his confidence in coach Jupp Heynckes as he reveals that he regularly speaks to the former Real Madrid trainer about the future of the club.

Heynckes’ contract runs until the summer of 2014, and 45-year-old Sammer explained that he is regularly in conversation with the 67-year-old coach about the side’s plans.

In all my plans beyond 2013 and beyond 2014, when talking about players or ways of thinking, Jupp Heynckes is the first contact for me,” he told Sky Sports News HD.

“For me there is no greater sign of confidence. Accordingly, I am of course totally open when it comes to the topic. However, we have discussed that there should be no pressure situation.

Sammer continued: “His personal and professional skills make him an extraordinary man, an extraordinary coach and create an exceptional personality.”

The Bundesliga blueprint that has the German league taking over Europe

COMMENT
By Clark Whitney

Ruthless efficiency, mental fortitude to win by any means necessary, impeccable organisation of a wall of chiseled, blond-haired and blue-eyed defenders … these are the traditional stereotypes of German football.

A decade ago, but for a few more players of darker features, Rudi Voller’s national team had fitted all the aforementioned criteria. Die Mannschaft played simple but effective football, conceding just once en route to the 2002 World Cup final in Yokohama. However, they were comprehensively outclassed by a Brazil side who went on to secure their fifth title with a 2-0 victory.

At the time, German hopes rested on luck: a poor performance by the opposition, a scrappy goal from a set piece or an extensive and diverse crop of talents to emerge from the Bundesliga academies.

Germany were an underwhelming side 10 years ago. But by then, the DFB (German FA) had already planted the seeds for an entirely new footballing philosophy. It just needed time.

It all started in 2000 after Germany disgracefully exited the European Championship, having only gained a single point in a group which included Portugal, Romania and England. Luck had deserted the Nationalmannschaft, which looked old and devoid of any inspiration, and had few talents to look forward to down the road. In response, the DFB revolutionised the system of youth development in Germany.

In December of 2000, the DFB created the DFL (German Football League) to manage the 1. and 2. Bundesliga. Shortly after its creation, the DFL enacted strict mandates for clubs to get their licence to join the league. All teams in the top two tiers of German football were required to have for their academies: a certain number of training pitches, an indoor training facility, massage rooms, saunas, and physiotherapists. In addition, the DFL raised the bar for obtaining a coaching licence at youth level.

The DFL’s initiative to promote youth development was beneficial, not only for the German national team, but for Bundesliga sides, which were at a competitive disadvantage on the international stage, following the passing of the DFB’s “50+1” rule at the turn of the millennium.

Enacted to promote competition within the league and ensure the importance of fans in Bundesliga culture, the 50+1 rule requires that members must own at least 51 per cent of the club — thus eliminating the possibility of a Roman Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour-type staging a takeover.

In the years that followed, German football struggled. The 50+1 law especially hindered Bundesliga clubs’ success in the Champions League, as their spending power paled in comparison to Europe’s nouveau-riche. The academies took time to grow, and the players — starting before their teens — took time to mature.

The DFL’s vision was one for the long term and it changed the culture of Bundesliga football. Coaches became progressively trusting of young players, and as more and more talents emerged, the clubs’ trainers developed an ardent belief in the notion that “talent without end” was attainable.

Now 13 years after the 50+1 rule and 12 years after the DFL’s licensing initiative, Bundesliga sides are finally beginning to flex their muscle on the international stage. A couple of disappointing domestic seasons forced the traditional powers to become more ambitious in the transfer market, which has bred success on the continent. And in this season’s Champions League, Dortmund and Schalke have emerged as European powerhouses. The latter are poised to win Group B ahead of Arsenal, while the former won Group D with a game to spare ahead of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax.

The success of Bundesliga clubs this season falls in line with an overall progress the league has seen lately. Bayern have reached two Champions League finals in three years, and their squad has steadily improved each term since 2009.

Schalke’s run to the semi-finals in 2010 proved that Bayern are not the only German club that can compete in the Champions League, while Dortmund’s performances in Europe this season suggest that in a two-legged tie, they have no-one to fear.

Looking forward, there is only reason to believe the Bundesliga will continue its ascent, with the honour of being Europe’s top league a long-term possibility. All the league’s stars are under 30 years of age, and in using loyal, local talents, Bayern and Dortmund have created sustainable success while avoiding the toxic culture of being used as a “stepping-stone” club. Arsenal, take note.

With Financial Fair Play set to take effect in 2013-14, the Bundesliga’s greatest advantage — its business structure — will soon show its value. Already, Europe’s top sides like AC Milan and Manchester United have curbed spending in fear of sanctions by Uefa. Many more will follow, but German teams have little to worry about in Financial Fair Play. Revenue in the country’s top flight is second only to that of the Premier League, and will only grow with the German league’s success. The Bundesliga has already landed a new deal with Sky that will see TV revenue increase 52 per cent to €628 million per year beginning in 2013-14.

Profits in the Bundesliga are as high as any other of the top leagues in Europe, and debt is a fraction of that in England, Italy, and especially Spain. A comparison of liability to turnover reveals just how close Spanish football is to financial collapse: debt in La Liga is 246 per cent of revenue. Even Barcelona owe €48m in unpaid taxes to the Spanish government — the same Spanish government that, ironically, received hundreds of millions of Euros in a bailout package from Germany.

Serie A has been in a financial and sporting nosedive as of late, and this will not change before the Italian economy recovers. Only the Premier League can compete with the Bundesliga’s financial might, but high debts, the uncertainty of Manchester City, Chelsea’s compliance with Financial Fair Play and the overall stronger German economy suggest the Bundesliga could overtake the English top flight in terms of wealth and revenue.

For most of the 2000s, German football was in a self-induced coma. Since then, a bounty of talents have emerged and clubs have enjoyed steadily increasing financial and international sporting success. Backed by Europe’s strongest economy and an organic sporting and financial model, German football is approaching not a golden generation, but sustainable, continued success.

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Juventus, Celtic and the Champions League teams who can clinch qualification to the last 16 on matchday six

Juventus, Benfica, Celtic, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj and holders Chelsea will all be aiming to secure themselves a place in the Champions League knockout stage on matchday six.

With 13 of the 16 available slots already filled by the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, only Groups E, G and H still have teams vying for a last 16 berth.

The Bianconeri travel to Donetsk knowing that a point against Shakhtar will see them through at the expense of Rafael Benitez’s side, who of course lifted the trophy back in May.

Should Chelsea go out, they will be the first defending champions to be knocked out in the group stage since the European Cup was re-branded in 1992.

Elsewhere, SPL champions Celtic know that they must better Benfica’s result to make it through to the next stage, but will be given heart by the fact the Portuguese side travel to Camp Nou to face the Blaugrana.

Finally, CFR Cluj must better Galatasaray’s result, a difficult task given that they are playing Manchester United at Old Trafford, while the Turks play already-eliminated Sporting Braga.

Before we bring you the qualification scenarios and permutations, here are the Champions League tie-breaker criteria to separate teams that are level on points:

i.) Higher number of points won in the group games between the teams in question
ii.) Superior goal difference in the group games between the teams in question only
iii.) Higher number of goals scored in the group games between the teams in question only
iv.) Higher number of goals scored away from home in the group games between the teams in question only
v.) Superior goal difference from all group games
vi.) Higher number of goals scored from all group games

  • Porto have qualified for the last 16, but can secure top spot if they avoid defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Paris Saint-Germain have qualified for the last 16 but will finish top of the group if they beat Porto.
  • Dinamo Kiev have already secured themselves Europa League football.
  • Dinamo Zagreb have been eliminated from European competition.

  • Schalke have qualified for the last 16, but can secure top spot if they beat Montpellier.
  • Arsenal have also qualified for the knockout phase, but can secure top spot if they beat Olympiakos and Schalke do not beat Montpellier.
  • Olympiakos have secured Europa League football.
  • Montpellier have been eliminated from European competition.

  • Malaga have qualified for the last 16 as group winners.
  • AC Milan have qualified in second place.
  • Zenit and Anderlecht have an equal head-to-head record.
  • Zenit will qualify for the Europa League if they better the Belgians’ result, if both teams draw, or if the pair win but Zenit finish with a higher goal difference.
  • Anderlecht will qualify if if they better Zenit’s result, or finish with a better goal difference.

  • Borussia Dortmund have qualified as group winners.
  • Real Madrid have qualified in second place.
  • Ajax can clinch Europa League football if they match or better Manchester City’s result.
  • Manchester City will clinch Europa League football if they win, and Ajax fail to pick up three points.

  • Shakhtar have qualified, but can secure top spot if they get at least a point against Juventus.
  • Juventus will secure a place in the knockout stages if they draw in Donetsk.
  • Chelsea can only qualify for the last 16 if they beat Nordsjaelland and Juventus lose. If they do not do that they will play Europa League football.
  • Nordsjaelland are out of European competition.

  • Bayern Munich have qualified for the last 16, but can clinch top spot if they match or better Valencia’s result.
  • Valencia have also qualified and can take first place if they better Bayern’s result.
  • BATE have secured Europa League qualification.
  • Lille have been eliminated from European competition.

  • Barcelona have qualified as group winners.
  • Benfica will qualify if they match or better Celtic’s result.
  • Celtic will advance should they better Benfica’s result.
  • Spartak Moscow have been eliminated from European competition.

  • Manchester United have qualified as group winners.
  • Galatasaray will qualify for the last 16 if they match or better CFR Cluj’s result.
  • CFR Cluj will make the last 16 if they better Galatasaray’s result.
  • Sporting Braga have been eliminated from European competition.
The finale of the 2012 European Championship group stage qualifiers has arrived. With only one more matchday to go, it’s time for the proverbial do or die.

Germany became the first team to join co-hosts Poland and Ukraine in the tournament finals, and Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and England have since followed them.

That leaves the likes of France, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Belgium, Serbia and Scotland, among others, to tussle for the remaining nine spots: four will go to the group winners, one to the best runners-up amongst all the groups, and four more via the play-offs.

Which teams will safely secure automatic entry to the Euro 2012 finals this Tuesday? Who will have to settle for the two-legged play-off? And which nation will have their hearts broken?

First, here is a reminder of the qualification rules:

– Group winners qualify automatically for the finals.

– One group runner-up with the best record (most points in games against the top five teams in the group) will also gain direct qualification.

– The remaining eight runners-up will contest a two-legged play-off and the winners will qualify to make up the 16 finalists.

– If teams are level on points at the end of the group matches, the following tie-breaker criteria will take precedence:
   i.) higher number of points won in the group games between the teams in question
  ii.) superior goal difference in the group games between the teams in question only
 iii.) higher number of goals scored in the group games between the teams in question only
 iv.) higher number of goals scored away from home in the group games between the teams in question only

KEY:
Q = Qualified for last 16
W = Group winners
X = Cannot advance to last 16
E = Qualified for Europa League round of 32

MATCHDAY FIVE:
Bayern Munich v Villarreal
Napoli v Manchester City
  • Bayern Munich will qualify for the last 16 with a victory or a draw on matchday five. They will be guaranteed as group winners if they beat Villarreal and Manchester City fail to match their result.
  • Manchester City can only qualify for the last 16 on matchday five with a win over Napoli. Victory will also ensure they stay in the race to finish as group winners.
  • Napoli will not progress ay further if they lose to Manchester City. A win will not only keep them in contention for a last 16 berth but will guarantee them a place in the Europa League round of 32.
  • Villarreal cannot advance any further in the Champions League. They can only stay in the race for a Europa League spot if they beat Bayern Munich and Napoli fail to win against Manchester City.

MATCHDAY FIVE:
CSKA Moscow v Lille
Trabzonspor v Inter
  • Inter will qualify for the last 16 as long as they avoid defeat to Trabzonspor. A victory will ensure they win the group with one matchday to spare. A draw will be enough provided CSKA Moscow do not beat Lille.
  • CSKA Moscow will qualify for the last 16 as group runners-up if they win on matchday five and Trabzonspor lose. 
  • Trabzonspor cannot guarantee last 16 qualification on matchday five even with a victory and a CSKA Moscow defeat. However, they will be out of contention if they lose to Inter and CSKA win. They will ensure a Europa League spot as long as Lille fail to at least equal their result on matchday five.
  • Lille need a win to stay in the race for a last 16 berth. A draw against CSKA Moscow with a 2-2 score or higher will keep them in contention, provided Trabzonspor lose on matchday five.

MATCHDAY FIVE:
Manchester United v Benfica
Otelul Galati v Basel
  • Manchester United will qualify for the last 16 as long as they avoid defeat on matchday five and Basel lose to Otelul Galati. They will be guaranteed as group winners if they beat Benfica and Basel fail to win.
  • Benfica will qualify for the last 16 as long as they avoid defeat on matchday five and Basel lose to Otelul Galati. They will be guaranteed as group winners if they beat Manchester United, regardless of Basel’s result.
  • Basel must avoid defeat on matchday five and hope Benfica do not win to stay in contention for a last 16 place. They will, however, be guaranteed a place in the Europa League round of 32 as long as they do not lose to Otelul Galati.
  • Otelul Galati cannot advance any further in the Champions League. They will be eliminated from European competition altogether if they fail to win against Basel.

MATCHDAY FIVE:
Lyon v Ajax
Real Madrid v Dinamo Zagreb
  • Real Madrid have qualified for the last 16. They will win the group on matchday five if they beat Dinamo Zagreb. A draw will be enough provided Ajax fail to defeat Lyon.
  • Ajax will be assured of a last 16 spot with a win at Lyon. A score draw will be sufficient as they drew 0-0 at home in the reverse fixture. 
  • Lyon must win on matchday five to stay in the hunt for a last 16 berth. However, they will secure a place in the Europa League provided Dinamo Zagreb do not better their result.
  • Dinamo Zagreb cannot advance any further in the Champions League. They will be eliminated from European competition altogether if they lose at Real Madrid. However, a victory will not be enough if Lyon win against Ajax.

Bundesliga Team of the Week: Weidenfeller heroics seal inclusion

The 15th matchday of the 2012-13 Bundesliga featured the one we had all been waiting for – Bayern Munich’s clash with Borussia Dortmund. The league’s finest played out a 1-1 draw, and four players from the Allianz Arena encounter are included in Goal.com‘s team of the week.

In goal, we have Roman Weidenfeller, who made a string of fine saves at the death to deny Bayern all three points, leading Jupp Heynckes to question why he has continually been ignored by the national side.

Two of the centre-backs from the clash, Dante and Mats Hummels, who both put in composed performances in the heart of defence, make up the back three along with Leon Balogun of Fortuna Dusseldorf, who helped his side to a brilliant 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Eugen Polanski of Mainz makes his first appearance of the season in midfield after helping Thomas Tuchel’s men to an excellent 2-1 victory against Hannover, and is joined by Diego, who was in fine form for Wolfsburg. Julian Draxler, Schalke’s saviour against Borussia Monchengladbach and Franck Ribery, a constant thorn in BVB’s side, complete the middle of the park.

The line is led by Marko Arnautovic, the scorer of a hat-trick for Werder Bremen, Stefan Kiessling, the most prolific stirker in the division this season, and Stefan Reisinger, who got the ball rolling for Dusseldorf against Frankurt on Friday.

Schweinsteiger: Badstuber injury a huge blow

Bastian Schweinsteiger has stated that Holger Badstuber’s knee injury is a huge blow for Bayern Munich as he feels the centre-back is one of the best defenders in the world.

The 23-year-old tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee in Bayern Munich’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, and will possibly be out for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign as he will have to go under the knife.

“Holger’s injury is massively disappointing. He’s a very important player for us and still very young, and he’s only recently returned from a thigh injury,” he told the official Bundesliga website.

“I think he’s one of the best defenders around.”

The influential midfielder then went on to discuss Bayern’s Champions League ambitions, and is confident they can go far in the competition this term.

“We reached the final twice in the last three years and hope to go far this season, too,” he added.

“And we will be among the contenders as long as we’re left to do our job. I know first hand about the huge potential within our team.”

Bayern have already secured progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League, and take on BATE Borisov on Wednesday in their last group stage game.