Euro 2012 qual. - Bierhoff: Italian football in crisis
Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff has described Italian football as being in crisis at both domestic at international level.
The German and Italian national teams meet in a friendly in Dortmund next Wednesday, and former Udinese and Milan striker Bierhoff has used the preparations for the game to criticise the state of the Azzurri and Serie A.
"The Squadra Azzurra reflects the crisis in Italian football," he told fussball.de.
"It is no coincidence that the Bundesliga has overtaken Serie A in the five-year rankings for the European cups."
The German league is set to overtake its Italian counterpart in the UEFA coefficient rankings, meaning that the Bundesliga would be given the fourth Champions League qualification spot currently given to Serie A.
Those opposing trajectories are also reflected in the recent fortunes of the respective national teams. Since Italy beat Germany in the semi-finals en route to winning the 2006 World Cup, Der Mannschaft have finished as runners-up in Euro 2008 and third in last summer's World Cup in South Africa. By contrast, Italy only the first knockout stage of the European Championships and finished bottom of their group in South Africa.
Bierhoff says the reason for Italy's demise is obvious.
"You just have to look at the infrastructure," he said.
"Look at the stadia, the equality in the league and the level of the teams.
"German football is simply better right now."