German delight as all four teams progress in Europe
Berlin: Bundesliga teams have once again kept the German flag flying in Europe with all four sides progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time.
After May`s first all-German Champions League final in Wembley, holders Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have joined Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke in the knock-out phase of this season`s competition.
"All four German clubs in the last 16, that has never happened before. Our league can celebrate a historic triumph!" wrote German daily Bild.
On three occasions three German teams, Dortmund, Schalke and Bayern, have reached the last 16 in 1997-98, 2004-05 and 2012-13, but this is the first time since the Champions League started in 1992 that four German teams have reached the knock-out phase.
The Germans have the joint biggest contingent in the knock-out stages alongside English quartet Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, while three Spanish teams, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are also through.
On Wednesday, Dortmund needed a dramatic late goal from Kevin Grosskreutz to seal a 2-1 win at Marseille to finish as winners of Group F and had been just three minutes from going out of the competition after Napoli`s 2-0 win at home to Arsenal.
Pep Guardiola`s Bayern also went through as group winners, despite losing 3-2 at home to Manchester City on Tuesday, winning five of their six matches.
Schalke finished second in Group E after a 2-0 win at home to Swiss champions FC Basel, while Bayer Leverkusen were second in Group A behind Manchester United.
"It is very positive, especially in the way the sides went through," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
"It shows the quality that Germany can offer."
The draw for the last 16 of the Champions League will be held at 1100 (GMT) in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday.
In total, the German quartet have picked up 93.55 million euros (US$129m) in prize money.
Defending champions Bayern lead the way with 28.76 million euros for appearance and prize money followed by Dortmund with 24.85m, Leverkusen on 21.43m and Schalke 18.51m.
For winning last season`s Champions League title, Bayern picked up 55.05m euros.