All About: FC Bayern München

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Once you see the round logo, you already know.

If football has any importance in your life whatsoever, you recognize it immediately. It’s a perfectly round crest that makes you think of discipline, of dominance in German football and, maybe, a little bit of Bayern-Dusel (Bayern-luck). While we could be spilling another discussion about luck in football, today’s All About shows us how you reach success through hard, sustained work, goal orientation and long-term vision. After all, luck favours the brave.

After officially creating a football club in a city-centre restaurant called ‘Gisela’, a group of german friends led by Franz John had to face a footballing hiatus early on, due to World War I. After the war period, FC Bayern started rising through the ranks, expanding their reputation through good performances in regional competitions. Their first national accolade would come in 1932, winning a German championship that had a completely different format at the time.

Bayern had a strong jewish influence, so it’s easy to guess all the negative effects of World War II. New rules, terror, bombings and discrimination. The historical event left such a deep scar on the team’s face that they would need almost 20 years after the war to come back and establish themselves as one of Germany’s top football teams. Meanwhile, they would dispute the Oberliga Süd, one of five branches of the German top division, collecting only their first German Cup and nothing more. Bankruptcy even whispered at their ears in the 1950’s, but it didn’t pierce through their round shield.

When the Bundesliga was officially founded in 1963, the German Football Association (GFA) had to make a tough choice between Bayern and 1860 – which one would represent the city of München in the newly formed competition? 1860 were the GFA’s choice. Ouch. Bayern were stunned – the disappointment and following financial turmoil forced them to switch strategies, from expensive players to a more youth-centered structure. Well thought – today, we can all confirm that was a productive path, since it brought up future legends like Sepp Maier, Gerd Müller and Franz Beckenbauer.

The rest of the story is rather predictable. Success. Bundesliga titles, Trophy after trophy, Bayern’s consistent dominance in both national and international competitions paved their way to the top of the hill. Indeed, with a strong vision in mind and a gifted squad that was way ahead of its time, anything was impossible – including 3 Champions League titles in a row, from 1974 to 1976. All other German teams were unable to keep up and the distance steadily increased as the years went by.

Moving to the astounding Allianz Arena in 2005, FC Bayern München clearly stated their transition to football’s modern age, maintaining their dominating mentality and above-average intelligence in the transfer market – they are actually accused of absorbing all major talents that surround them, depleting other teams’ chances of success. This reputation grew in the light of repeated transfers from Borussia Dortmund.

Today, Bayern is literally the biggest club in the world by paid membership (latest reports count almost 300,000 associates), although social media platforms expose teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United to wider fan followings. Bayern fans are certainly happy to say that they can celebrate major titles often – here goes the list:

  • 27 German Leagues (most wins, 2nd place Nürnberg have 9)
  • 18 German Cups (most wins, 2nd place Werder Bremen have 6)
  • 7 German Super Cups (most wins)
  • 6 German League Cups (most wins)
  • 5 UEFA Champions League (tied with Barcelona and Liverpool for 3rd most wins, behind AC Milan and Real Madrid)
  • 1 UEFA Cup
  • 2 International Cup
  • 1 European Cup Winner’s Cup
  • 1 FIFA Club World Cup

Given the stratospheric dimension of the club, it is so very hard to select just a few extraordinary figures of the Bayern’s greatness. Among many honorable mentions that could be in this list, the following people were tokens of the team’s success:

  • Uli Hoeneβ – Appointed as general manager at only 27 (!) years of age, Hoeneβ embodied the Bayern culture and racked up honours as both player and GM;
  • Sepp Maier – A national symbol. Over 500 games with Bayern, almost 100 international caps, always wearing knee-length shorts before it was cool;
  • Gerd Müller – Der Bomber. Almost 500 goals between during the 60’s and 70’s – yeah, so long ago. A relatively short striker with unmatched goal instinct;
  • Franz Beckenbauer – One of the greatest footballers. Ever. Der Kaiser had an uncommon offensive prowess and led 13 of Bayern’s titles. The World Cup winning defender even propelled tactical revolutions, changing the game forever;
  • Oliver Kahn – Forever known for his intense personality, “King Kahn” won 8 leagues, 6 cups and a Champions League with Bayern’s shirt. 3-time World Goalkeeper of the Year;
  • Karl Heinz Rummenigge – Another human being whose DNA is 100% Bayern. A former prolific winger, he is the club’s current CEO;
  • Phillip Lahm – A mandatory pick for the modern day’s legend. Between various ups and downs, the captain devoted more than 2 decades to the club.

 

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