"You can clearly say that we're a step behind," Low told Eurosport in an interview. "This year, we've only got one team, Schalke, in the quarter-final of a European competition. England and Spain have got several teams in the running. That doesn't reflect well on the Bundesliga."
Schalke take on Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final later Tuesday, the Italian club having eliminated Bayern Munich in the last-16 round. Germany is no longer represented in the UEFA Europa League, Bayer Leverkusen falling to Villareal in the last round.
England, however, have three clubs still in contention in the Champions League, Tottenham playing Real Madrid, and Chelsea facing Manchester United to guarantee at least one English semi-finalist. Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are also in Europe's showpiece football tournament, with Villareal playing FC Twente in the second-tier Europa League.
Low also hinted that the sacking of club managers was having an adverse effect. "You must judge each case one by one, but constancy and continuity among coaches, with a clear philosophy, lends itself to more success in the long term than never-ending changes," he said.
"The Bundesliga has certainly not given itself a good image. That creates, at the heart of clubs but also among the players, concerns and nervousness. Some internationals have also been affected."
Of the 18 clubs in the Bundesliga, a dozen have either changed their coach or announced their departure at season's end.