The era when German teams always came out on top is over and Spain have replaced them as the dominant force in the world game, according to Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.
Barca and the Spanish national team created a style which had changed football history, Pique said in an interview with Spanish sports daily As published on Monday, a day before the La Liga leaders play at Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final, first leg.
"The period when football was defined as a sport of 11 against 11 which the Germans always won is behind us," As quoted Pique as saying.
"And it is us who has ended it," added the 26-year-old former Manchester United player.
"It's true that they [Bayern] are a great rival but nobody should forget that we are still a great team."
Barca players, including Pique and the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, typically account for more than half of the Spain team and were key performers on their run to consecutive European Championship triumphs in 2008 and 2012 with a World Cup in between.
Known as 'tiki-taka', their possession-based playing style has been criticised by some as boring but has put Barca within touching distance of a third Champions League crown in five seasons after victories in 2009 and 2011.
Barca host Bayern for the return leg on May 1 and the successful side will meet Borussia Dortmund or Real Madrid in next month's final at London's Wembley Stadium.comments