Dave Gardner

Does the World Cup prove the Bundesliga is the best?

Created on Jul. 10, 2014 8:36 PM EST

Statistics are hardly an exact science when it comes to football.
TV commentators love to trot out the stats their armies of researchers have handed them and we’re all supposed to be suitably impressed.
But one player may have made 20 completed sideways and backwards passes while another makes just the one that splits the defense and wins the game.
A moment of magic can’t be quantified by percentages and pedometers. If only Wondolowski had scored in the 93rd minute against Belgium it wouldn’t have mattered one jot how many shots were fired at Tim Howard.
Having said all that, would it be reasonable to rate the club leagues from around the world on their representation in the World Cup Final?
Probably not, I hear you say. It’s not scientific enough. Numbers can lie.
But these are supposed to be the two top teams in the world, and presumably they must have at least some of the best players. So in which leagues have they chosen to ply their trade?
It's no great surprise that the German Bundesliga comes in first with 16 players, all of them playing for Germany and most from Bayern Munich.
Second comes Serie A, with 9 – 7 for Argentina and 2 for Germany.
The English Premier League is third with 7 – 3 for Argentina and 4 for Germany.
Spain’s La Liga has 5 players – 4 for Argentina and 1 for Germany.
There are 3 players each – all Argentinian – from Portugal’s Primera Liga and Argentina’s Primera A, 2 from France's Ligue 1, again both Argentinian and 1 Argentinian from Liga MX in Mexico.
Incidentally, the best represented clubs are Bayern Munich with 7, Borussia Dortmund, 4, and Manchester City and Inter Milan with 3 each.
We know numbers don't tell the whole story but the days when the best players in the world stuck chiefly to their own national leagues are long gone. Now they have a choice.
So maybe the Bundesliga has a case…
The comparison occurred to me after my last blog highlighting the poor showing of Chelsea’s stars in Brazil. It provoked some mirth considering my support of West Ham, which could hardly be called a football force in East London these days let alone world football.
The Hammers had their chance eight years ago when Javier Mascherano was on their books. He hardly got a kick and played just seven games for the first team.
Now the former Liverpool and current Barcelona kingpin is one of the stars of this World Cup, perhaps second only to Messi in steering Argentina to the final..
And who was the footballing giant that kept Mascherano out of the West Ham team? Hayden Mullins, now of Notts County in the third tier of English football.

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