The all-German final in London on Saturday assured Germany of its first Champions League title since Bayern’s victory in 2001. Germany’s national team has not won a major title since the 1996 European Championship – also in London.
Eleven German national team players were in Saturday’s starting lineup at Wembley. Add in Real Madrid midfielders Mesut Oezil and Sami Khedira, and there is the core of the team projected for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
“It was nice to see what world class players we have in Germany,” national team assistant coach Hansi Flick said.
With soccer “Made in Germany” dominating Europe, Die Mannschaft hopes to step up a revival that began in 1996 under Jurgen Klinsmann. A semifinal loss to Italy was followed by a loss to Spain in the final of the 2008 European Championship was followed by semifinal defeats to Spain at the 2010 World Cup and to Italy at last year’s Euros.
Bayern had lost two Champions League Finals in three years and some claimed players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm did not have the mental toughness to win big matches.
They have now shed that image following a historic season. Bayern won the Bundesliga by a record 25 points, defeated Barcelona on 7-0 aggregate in the semifinals en route to the Champions League title and plays Stuttgart next weekend in the German Cup final, where Bayern could become the first German team to win the league-cup-European treble.
“Of course, one notices, German football is on the rise,” national team manager Oliver Bierhoff said. “Naturally, our goal has to be the World Cup winner, we’ll do everything to achieve that.”