Premier League fans have long had the infamous reputation of being egotistically biased towards their league. To infer their superiority, they leave no chance to belittle other leagues like Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga.
We’ve heard just about every dig against the Bundesliga simply because of the one-sided dominance of Bayern Munich. They’ve gone to the extent of tagging the Bundesliga as “Farmers Leagues” to demean it. Sure, Bayern Munich might be the undisputed champions, but undervaluing other clubs and the competition as a whole can be out of line.
In light of this discussion, Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno has voiced his candid opinions against the tag of ‘Farmers League.’ Having spent seven years in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen before having a taste of the Premier League with Arsenal, he is the qualified one to put forth a perspective on Farmers League comparisons.
What did Leno say?
The former Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno gave an interview to Sport Bild recently regarding the Bundesliga being labeled as a ‘farmers league’ in England. The 31-year-old has been playing in the Premier League since 2018 but started his career at youth and senior levels in his home country, Germany.
Speaking about the comparison, he said: “Of course, I think the term is inappropriate. But to be honest, that’s what everyone calls the Bundesliga. This is the country of the Premier League, and no one is really interested in the Bundesliga, neither the English nor the foreigners.”
“A term that would fit better would be a ‘development league’ – ambitious players often go to Germany and then back or to the Premier League – see Haaland, De Bruyne, and Gundogan. There are many examples like this.”
“But again on the topic of ‘farmers league’ – I have discussions with my Fulham teammates every week. I can tell you an example of it: when Bayern played Hoffenheim at the start of 2024 on a Friday evening, Burnley also played against Luton town. We were all in the physio room, but I had no chance to watch Bayern.”
“They (Fulham squad) were saying that not much happens in the Bundesliga and that it’s not interesting. No chance to watch it. The boys said ‘the farmers league won’t be on the screen’,” Bernd Leno explained.
A Sudden Change of opinion for Leno
It’s quite unexpected to hear Bernd Leno now expressing supportive opinions about the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich. Interestingly, it was just a couple of years ago that the goalkeeper himself was caught speaking unfavorably about the league.
Although not referring specifically to it as a “Farmers league”, speaking on SWR’s podcast called Steil (via Metro), the ex-Leverkusen goalkeeper previously discussed Bayern’s dominance in the Bundesliga back in 2020.
Leno referred to Bayern’s superiority in the league as “boring and sad.” He even went as far as saying that every Bundesliga season is already over before it even starts, alluding to the fact that Bayern has won 7 consecutive titles by then.
“Bayern is already a champion, as always. It is boring and sad. One wishes for an exciting championship fight, but I don’t see any exciting championship in the near future. Bayern is too strong there.”. Explained the goalkepper.
So why this sudden change of opinion? Is it just nostalgia for Leno, or is he trying to get into the good books of the league in anticipation of a return to the Bundesliga?
If the “Farmers league” comparisons stem from fact of Bayern’s dominance in the Bundesliga, it’s worth noting that Bayern isn’t even currently leading the table this year.
As a matter of fact, Manchester City has clinched five out of the last six Premier League titles. So, before Premier League fans take a dig at the Bundesliga, perhaps they should reflect on their own league’s dynamics as well.