On the road to recovery from a succession of injuries which have kept him sidelined since last February, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin waxed lyrical about the strength of the Bundesliga from the club’s recently concluded training camp in Dubai.
Sahin, who is uniquely placed to judge the relative merit of Europe's top three leagues after spells at Real Madrid CF in Spain's La Liga and Liverpool FC in England's Premier League, believes Germany's top flight is the best of the three.
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"If I had to choose [between England, Spain and Germany], I would definitely pick the Bundesliga," Sahin told Germany’s leading sport magazine kicker. "Not just because I play here, either, but I think that in the other leagues the tactical side of things isn't quite as good as it is here.
"What Italy was to football in the 1990s, I think Germany is nowadays. The Bundesliga has really developed and you can see that in the success of German teams and the national team. If players want to play in the best league in the world, then welcome to the Bundesliga. Our league is the best in the world."
After a series of injury setbacks, including most recently an adductor problem, Sahin hopes to be back competing in the Bundesliga sooner rather than later. "I'm doing well," he said. "I'm not just saying that so that people can write headlines, but I’m really doing well. I’'m improving every day and have been working with the team.
"Obviously, I'd like it [a return] to be today, but I have to be patient. I've been patient for several months and so I’m not going to let myself down now. I've learnt a lot during that time and I’m convinced that I’ll be back on the field again soon and hopefully in the second half of the season."
The Turkey international, however, is aware that it will not be straightforward to force his way back into a Dortmund midfield which has been in impressive form thus far this season. "I'm not yet at the stage where I can come in and tell the boys to watch out because I'm back and it's all going to change. I hope the day will come soon when I return but in the meantime we need all the quality and squad depth possible. Take Bayern as an example when [Arjen] Robben and [Franck] Ribery were injured [last season]. They learned their lessons and that’s the sort of depth we need as well."