This article compares the 'systematic method' of continental German private law with the common law method. It starts out by discussing the characteristics of a systematic approach, its application to European private law as well as its methodological tools. The author submits that the systematic approach is not inherently different but, on the contrary, is rather similar to the common law approach, irrespective of a difference in the (major) sources of law (statutes vs case law). What both approaches have in common is, in particular, that they take an internal perspective on the law rather than the external perspective that characterises the 'law and ...' approaches. The latter can inform the interpretation and application of the law only to a limited extent.