Fri, 26 Feb 2021

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed that UEFA intends to make slight changes to the Champions League's structure.

The Bayern Munich chairman said UEFA is trying to make the group stage and the semifinal and final more attractive to fans and sponsors. They are thinking about a "week of football," the club official said on his club's TV channel.

The 65-year-old spoke about both semifinals and the final taking place in one city.

Rummenigge said he knows there are thoughts about altering the schedule after last season's final stages were played in several venues in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.

He said the current group stage sometimes gets a little boring. "For us, it was about six group games, and we qualified for the knockout stage after only four games," said the former head of the European Club Association.

The current knockout format of the Champions League should remain, but additional efforts should be made to increase the attractiveness of the competition.

"We are talking about something similar to the Super Bowl final in the US. Football would be providing a real highlight at the end of the season."

Rummenigge said he is convinced fans are going to approve any adjustment leading to more attractiveness and that UEFA is discussing several options.

The Bayern official called last season's final round "the most thrilling time the Champions League has experienced in the history of the competition."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the games from the quarterfinal stage onward were all played in the arenas belonging to Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.

"It was a knockout format with the winner taking it all. The loser could no longer count on a second leg as the encounter was decided in only one game," the former German international said.

Rummenigge said he backs plans to modernize the group stage format adding that he is convinced clubs, sponsors, and fans will benefit.

Capped 95 times for Germany, he said Bayern's participation at the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup was dear to the heart of Bayern's players and coaches.

The competition will take place from February 1 to 11 in Qatar. The 2020 treble winner Bayern's first game is the semifinal on February 8.

Bayern intends to add a sixth title to the 2020 season. Only Barcelona has ever managed to win six titles, doing so in 2009. "The team is trying to become the most successful team in the history of Bayern Munich."

Rummenigge spoke about the load the Bavarian team is under due to a tight schedule.

"Despite that, they told me they are keen to play the Club World Cup. I was highly pleased with the intention and gave my full support when talking to FIFA President Gianni Infantino," the German commented.

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