Hummels and the 'farmers' from Germany strike back hard at the Premier League

For the first time since the 2014/15 season, there are no English clubs in the semifinals of the Champions League and Europa League, while Germany still has two clubs represented in Europe. For Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, this was enough reason to deliver an online jab towards the Premier League.

Hummels and the 'farmers' from Germany strike back hard at the Premier League Embed from Getty Images

In the past, the English perspective often branded the Bundesliga as the "Farmers League," primarily due to Bayern Munich's long-standing dominance and a perceived lack of competition from other clubs.

This season, however, has dramatically altered that narrative. Bayer Leverkusen topped the Bundesliga, ending Bayern's reign, and along with Bayern and Dortmund, has reached the semi-finals of European competitions.

For the first time in nearly three decades, three German clubs have made it to the semi-finals in a single season—the same trio that last achieved this feat in the 1994/95 season. Yet, history from that year offers a cautionary tale: Leverkusen was knocked out of the UEFA Cup semi-finals by Parma, Dortmund fell to Juventus, and Bayern was stopped by Ajax in the Champions League, who eventually won the title against AC Milan.

Despite past disappointments, the current supremacy of German clubs over their English counterparts has provided Mats Hummels with fodder for banter. On the social media platform X, Hummels remarked after Bayern ousted Arsenal, Leverkusen outplayed West Ham, and Manchester City the reigning champions were defeated: "A good harvest this week, my fellow farmers." This teasing underscores a significant shift in the power dynamics of European football.

This season is particularly pivotal because it is the first time an additional Champions League spot will be awarded based on the UEFA coefficient rankings. Should Germany finish among the top two nations, the Bundesliga's fifth-placed team will gain entry into the Champions League's main phase. With such stakes, a scenario resembling the all-German Champions League final of 2013, held at Wembley, is conceivable.

As the semi-finals approach, Bayern is set to face Real Madrid and Dortmund will challenge Paris Saint-Germain. Leverkusen, on another front, is slated to meet AS Roma. Meanwhile, Aston Villa remains the lone English team in contention, facing Olympiakos Piraeus in the Conference League semi-final, showcasing the shifting landscape of European football.

Updated: 10:02, 19 Apr 2024

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