Ballack sees 'a big difference' between Bundesliga and Premier League
Michael Ballack sees "a big difference in quality" between the Bundesliga and the Premier League, with Germany's top flight lagging behind.
Concerns have been raised in Germany after Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig were eliminated from the Champions League group stage, while Hoffenheim did not even get that far after losing their qualifying play-off against Liverpool.
Bayern Munich are the only Bundesliga side remaining in Europe's premier club competition and Jupp Heynckes' side hold a 19-point lead at the summit of the domestic league, which they are set to win for a sixth season in succession.
Former Chelsea and Bayern midfielder Ballack believes the standard is higher in the Premier League, with Germany witnessing a widening in the gulf between the Bavarian giants and the rest.
"If I watch the Bundesliga, I'm interested in Bayern," Ballack told Kicker. "Behind them the level is manageable.
"[The Premier League is] the measure of all things. I just see a big difference in quality, but I saw that years ago.
"A few years ago we thought other clubs like Dortmund could at least close the gap, but it seems they are further apart."
Dortmund jump back into second pic.twitter.com/2z9c4CheSq-- Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) February 18, 2018
Ballack offered a similar point of view to former team-mate Mehmet Scholl, who was critical of Germany's new generation of young coaches including Julian Nagelsmann, Domenico Tedesco and Hannes Wolf.
The 41-year-old believes the level of scrutiny players are subjected to now is akin to "madness" and feels more former players need to be involved with the training of the nation's youth.
"When evaluating the players, too little emphasis is placed on the individual," he said.
"Reaction times are measured, stress situations are simulated, sleep behaviour is analysed, eating behaviour, how the body reacts - everything is available.
"The control over the players has got out of hand. They are judged on this data, albeit subjectively. That's madness.
"They [the coaches] are motivated and certainly have a good education, but often relatively little experience at the top level and that's the problem.
"We should integrate the quality of ex-players at the highest level more in football, especially in the youth sector. That is absolutely crucial for me."