Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal (Champions League, Feb. 19, 2013)

How do you bounce back from finishing runner-up in the Bundesliga, being hammered in the German Cup final, and, most agonizingly of all, losing the European Champions League final on penalties, having completely dominated the game, conceded a last-minute equalizer, and missed a penalty in extra-time – in your own stadium? Answer: mental toughness.

Matt Barlow’s revealing interview with Bastian Schweinsteiger (Daily Mail, February 18, 2013) showed that the environment that surrounds Bayern Munich – and indeed the German national side – is conducive to achievement. The strong mindset facilitates the outlook that each success is taken as a stepping-stone to a more permanent position of strength. Yes, each has endured setbacks – Bayern Munich’s hat-trick of near-misses last season, and Germany’s surprise defeat by Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-finals – but they bounce back.

For this Vorsprung durch Mentalität, Bayern Munich and Germany remain the most consistently feared and respected opponents: iconic organizations with players who are instilled with the virtues of discipline, hard work, and meticulous planning.

Interestingly, and in stark contrast to England, domestic clubs work with the national team and German players are told that, while they can earn big money and fame in club football, they must succeed at a World Cup to become legends. What odds on this club-country wisdom ever belonging here? Football may then very well come home, as the jubilant Germans sang – in English – at the Emirates.

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