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Irish football, and Irish society, need to ditch the obsession with England

Eamonn Sweeney


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Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz scores the opening goal against Werder Bremen on Monday: ‘Last season, aged just 19, Havertz scored an extraordinary 17 goals in just 34 league games’. Photo: Stuart Franklin/AP

Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz scores the opening goal against Werder Bremen on Monday: ‘Last season, aged just 19, Havertz scored an extraordinary 17 goals in just 34 league games’. Photo: Stuart Franklin/AP

AP

Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz scores the opening goal against Werder Bremen on Monday: ‘Last season, aged just 19, Havertz scored an extraordinary 17 goals in just 34 league games’. Photo: Stuart Franklin/AP

Last weekend's Bundesliga broadcasting monopoly offered a tantalising glimpse of a parallel football universe in which the attention of Irish football fans was not exclusively focussed on the Premier League.

It's odd how limited our knowledge of the Bundesliga actually is. We know about Bayern Munich and a bit about whoever fetches up in the Champions League, particularly if they draw English opposition. After that, many people would find it difficult to tell Wolfsburg from Freiburg or Augsburg or to point out Schalke's home city on a map.

The league's players are known mainly in connection with possible Premier League futures. Timo Werner is Liverpool's big summer target and Jadon Sancho Manchester United's. Kai Havertz's two goals for Bayer Leverkusen against Werder Bremen on Monday - he added another two against Mönchengladbach yesterday - prompted a flurry of headlines about a possible move to Anfield, though he'll probably join Bayern instead.