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Didi puts the boot into English clubs' hopes of Champions League win

IT could take another five years before a Premier League club lifts the Champions League trophy according to Didi Hamann, who dismisses the notion that the Premier League is the best in the world.

"I never said it was the best in the world, I said it was the most exciting because it's the best to watch," said Hamann. "It's the most attractive league but it goes in cycles. Not so long ago, there were three English teams in the semi-finals for a number of years, then you had Spanish and last year an all-German final.

"I don't think there's too much between them but it was obvious last year that the two best teams last year were German and the third and fourth best were Spanish, but I think to say on the basis of what happens in the Champions League that one league is better than the other, I think it's very hard.

"What you can say is that the English teams are some way off the top European teams at the moment. If you ask me now if there's an English Champions League winner in the next five years then I'd say no because it's not only (Bayern) Munich, it's Barcelona, you've got Paris (Saint-Germain), you've got Real Madrid, (Borussia) Dortmund. You've got four or five teams that are better than them.

"You look at it now, how many (Premier League) players would get in a World XI. Would a Man United player? At the time you had (Roy) Keane, (Ruud) van Nistelrooy, (David) Beckham, (Paul) Scholes, (Jaap) Stam, you could have made a world XI out of Premier League players.

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"Now, you would struggle to find three. Man United, Arsenal wouldn't, Liverpool might get one or two in, Chelsea maybe get one or two in and so would City, that's the big difference.

"You need the English teams to do well.

"If the English teams (continue to) perform as they do, they may lose a Champions League place through coefficient."

Hamann is not looking further than Munich for this season's Champions League winner, with the biggest challenge to the current champions likely to come from Real Madrid.

"Barcelona without Messi is not a Champions League contender.

"Bayern Munich without Robben, without (Franck) Ribery, without (Bastian) Schweinsteiger, they can still win it. They don't rely on one player.

"But, yes, of course they are stoppable. In a one-off game, in a final, anything can happen. Over two legs, I think the only one to challenge them is Real Madrid.

"That's a game I would like to see. I wouldn't like to see it as the final, I want to see it next round. Because over two legs, eight/nine out of 10 times the better team goes through. A one-off game anything can happen."


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