How far will English sides go in Europe? Do we have a winner in our midst? These are questions worth contemplating in such overriding times of Teutonic goodness in the Champions League. If you want a fashionable beer to accompany your football viewing these days, best go Bavarian. Cruzcampo or Birra Moretti just won't cut it. Throw in some bratwust and you are talking the language of FC Hollywood. If you are a Bayern fan, the Champions League must feel like one long beer festival.
The Premier League's latest joust with the Bundesliga takes place at the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal host last season's losing finalists Borussia Dortmund while Jose Mourinho and Chelsea visit Schalke at the Veltins Arena. Just don't mention the war.
Bayern have delivered an early round-house to the temple by coshing Manchester City some three weeks ago. Here was a moment in time that somehow managed to expose a glaring poverty of technique in the world's richest league.
Pep Guardiola's side subjected City's millionaires to a level of embarrassment last witnessed around those parts when the club's gone but not forgone chief executive Garry Cook accused AC Milan of 'bottling' out of accepting a £108m bid for Kaka. Kaka would not make it into this Bayern side if he tried.
It was not Bayern's 3-1 win that was most concerning, but the nature of it. The German champions have usurped Barcelona as the continent's most prized side. They toyed with City like they were amateurs. City should dock in the last 16 for the first time this season, but the only way they can hope to make gains in Europe is surely to avoid Bayern. Failing to cope with Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger was a chastening experience for the City hordes.
Arsenal encountered similar heat against Bayern in the last 16 last season. Arsene Wenger's side were effectively played out of the match in losing 3-1 at the Emirates. They produced a mature performance to retrieve pride in a 2-0 win in Munich, but the home side rested men, playing with a sense that the task had been completed in London. It had, but a sense of complacency crept in that almost cost them dearly. Especially so when they rode roughshod over Juventus and Barcelona before downing Dortmund in the final.
In keeping with the theme of German hegemony, Arsenal's season suddenly seems to rest on what this £42m man Mesut Ozil can do for the team. And what he can bring to others around him.
They host Dortmund as unlikely leaders of the Premier League. Arsene Wenger would love to become the first Arsenal coach to win the European Cup, but a league challenge gathering steam is unlikely to be married with Champions League endurance. We shall see.
For those of you who like to measure the strength of the Premier League by raw results, last season was fairly dismal for England in club football's ultimate event. City and Chelsea were gone by the group stage. Arsenal and Manchester United departed in the last 16.
What of United? They seem groggy in the Premier League. They will surely be given short shrift against a craftier level of foe than West Bromwich Albion or Southampton. They were unfortunate to lose to Mourinho's Real Madrid six months ago, but that was under Sir Alex Ferguson. His successor David Moyes does not sound overly optimistic. "To win the Champions League you have to have five or six world-class players," he said. “If you look at Bayern Munich, they have five or six really world-class players, and to win it you might have to have that in your squad."
Only Mourinho's Chelsea seem equipped to perform in Europe with any degree of certainty. They have recent history with Bayern, managing to win the Champions League at the Allianz Arena 18 months ago. They might have benefited from some good fortune, but that remains a significant achievement when one considers how powerful Bayern have become.
Chelsea only lost the European Super Cup final to Bayern on penalties in August. Crucially, they also have a manager who is renowned for his reading of tactics in such sticky environs. Even if prettiness does not figure high on the list of his priorities.
Mourinho led Porto to the Champions League in 2004 and Inter three years ago. He is bidding to become the first manager to win the European Cup with three different teams. Only Bob Paisley in 1977, 1978 and 1981 running Liverpool has won the trophy three times as a coach.
Mourinho has stressed Chelsea are of Champions League quality rather than a Europa League side, but there is little doubt Chelsea continue to cope well in trying conditions having picked up Europe's two main club competitions in successive seasons. Benfica were hardly stiffs in the final of the lesser tournament last season.
Mourinho has been operating with three defenders in the Premier League at some points in matches, but Europe is a lot more straightforward. There tends to be a formula for those jaunts.
If Samuel Eto'o is at an acceptable enough level, he will lead the line like he did when Inter won it. One wonders what Romelu Lukaku would have added to Chelsea in supporting Eto'o. For now, Fernando Torres must man his station.
Such has been their flowering, it is not outlandish to suggest ousting Bayern from the tournament could leave you clasping old big ears in May. Mourinho covers old ground in Gelsenkirchen. It is where Porto swatted Monaco away to snare the European Cup in 2004. A win in Germany would seem like an appropriate country for this Chelsea side to start as they mean to go on. At least it is topical.