Per Mertesacker thinks the Premier League is a level above the Bundesliga right now, but he insists at least two of the upcoming Champions League ties between clubs in both divisions are ’50-50′.
Mertesacker currently works as the manager of the Arsenal Academy, but he split his playing career between England and Germany. He spent eight seasons playing football in the Bundesliga with Hannover 96 and Werder Bremen, before moving to Arsenal for the final seven years of his professional career in the Premier League.
The 34-year-old recently spoke to German outlet Sport1 about the two countries, and he insisted the Premier League is starting to pull ahead.
“England is above us, the financial side of the game, the attractiveness,” Mertesacker said. “Six clubs compete here for the top four places. The professional opportunities here are great.”
The defender then went on to talk about the three upcoming Champions League clashes between English and German clubs. On the ties between Tottenham and Dortmund, and Liverpool and Bayern, Mertesacker said there are “justified hopes for Bayern and Dortmund. It’ll probably be a 50-50 thing”.
However, on the Manchester City match against Schalke, Per was less optimistic for his home country, saying Pep Guardiola’s side are “in any case a huge favourite”.
We’ll have to wait and see how those ties turn out, as English sides have tended to underperform in the Champions League in recent years. Liverpool’s 2017/18 run to the final made them the first PL representative at that stage since 2011/12, despite the fact that English teams had made the final in seven of the eight years pre-2012.
Perhaps Liverpool’s final appearance will drive all the other English sides on, but we’ll see.