German football is riding the crest of a triumphant wave with two Bundesliga teams in the Champions League final and the national side one of the favorites for the 2014 World Cup.
In contrast, no clubs from the English Premier League -- the world's richest -- made it past the last 16 knockout stage and the English national side continues to under perform at the highest level.
Owen Hargreaves, who played in both the Bundesliga and the English Premier League as well as starring for England at the 2006 World Cup, believes that the English game urgently needs to start investing in young talent, or risk falling even further behind.
"Young players need to play, end of," he told CNN.
"There is a real lack of opportunities for young talent in the Premier League and it needs to be addressed."
Born in Canada, but with a Welsh mother and English father, Hargreaves nurtured his talents in the German system with the Bayern youth set-up.
He went on to win four Bundesliga titles with the Bavarian giants as well as the Champions League in the 2000-2001 season.
But Hargreaves admits that during that time German football, particularly at national level, was itself suffering from a lack of youngsters to replace aging stars.
And he pays credit to the German national football association and Bundesliga clubs in coming up with a plan to address that problem.
"They put an emphasis on pushing young players through," added Hargreaves.
"You can see the result, the Bundesliga improved, the national team improved and it's a lesson for the English Premier League."
The Bayern Munich squad which so comprehensively demolished Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the Champions League is packed full of their youth academy protegees.
Thomas Mueller, who headed the final goal of the tie, exciting 20-year-old David Alaba, rampaging full-back Philipp Lahm, midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos, all came through that route.
Defender Holger Badstuber, injured earlier this year, is also a first-team regular who started his career in the academy.
Borussia Dortmund, who stand between Bayern and a fifth Champions League crown, have also invested heavily in young players under the inspirational leadership of coach Juergen Klopp. "He's done an incredible job," said Hargreaves.
The two jewels in their crown are acknowledged to be midfielder Mario Goetze -- who will move to Bayern at the end of the season -- and forward Marco Reus, both products of their academy set-up and tipped for stardom at international level.
Defender Mats Hummels ironically learned his trade with Bayern before switching to Dortmund to get regular first-team action.
They have all played a prominent role in thrilling successive victories over Spanish clubs Malaga and then Real Madrid in the semifinal to reach the Wembley showpiece on May 25.
Hargreaves is full of admiration for the ethos of style of play of the two German finalists.
"They combine Germany efficiency now with flair," he said. "They are mirror images of each other and both thoroughly deserve to reach the final."
Hargreaves moved to Manchester United and was an integral part of the 2006-07 side which won the Premier League title and Champions League, but injuries blighted his career after that double triumph and he was forced to retire at the end of last season aged 32.
During his spell in the English Premier League, which ended at big money Manchester City, he saw at first hand the trend towards clubs using ever more foreign imports to supplement their ranks.
He acknowledges that with the big money on offer, the stakes are high. "Maybe clubs are frightened to give home grown talent a chance," he said.
England manager Roy Hodgson has also seen the danger signs as his side make hard work of qualifying for next year's World Cup in Brazil.
"Quite a few of the games I go to do not have any English players," he was quoted as telling the Daily Telegraph.