FC Bayern München

GERMAN CHAMPION 1932, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
GERMAN CUP 1957, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016
EUROPEAN CHAMPION 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013

Bayern München is without doubt the premier club in German soccer, and one of the most powerful in the world. They are simultaneously the most loved and hated club in Germany...

Being rich, with some 65,000 members, huge marketing and sponsorship contracts, and continued success on the field, they are considered quite arrogant by everybody who is not a Bayern fan.

Bayern was the first club to really to take a full business approach. While the massive marketing and complete business orientation was a bit of a shock to many German fans, undoubtedly contributing to Bayern's unpopularity in those circles, it's nothing new to NFL or NBA followers here in the States.

The recent trend over the past 10 years is to basically buy whoever they want, offering sums that other clubs cannot hope to match. If they don't produce, they get rid of them quickly.

They are currently run by a bunch of ex-star players, foremost of which is club president Franz Beckenbauer. Others include Uli Hoeness, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Gerd Müller. The pressure to win is incredible, and many a famous coach has got the boot for failing to deliver. (The most recent case is Giovanni Trappatoni, on his second tour with Bayern, won the DFB Cup and finished runner-up. Despite public announcements otherwise, there is little doubt he was forced out.)

Still, it hard to knock success, and Bayern is the most successful German club. Founded in 1900, Bayern was a strong team in the 1930s, winning the championship in 1932. Among the star players from the 1920s-30s were Josef Pöttinger, Oskar Rohr (whose grandson Gernot would later play for Bayern), Josef Bergmaier and the best, Ludwig Goldbrunner, capped 39 times 1933-40.

After WW-II, Bayern remained a good club, but success was not forthcoming. They weren't even a founding member of the Bundesliga, but once they got promoted, they have been Germany's no. 1 powerhouse, although Mönchengladbach challenged them for a while, as Dortmund did in the mid 1990s. 13 titles from 1969-1997 speak to their success. And remember, this is the Bundesliga we're talking about, not some worthless league like Scotland where only two teams contend. So love 'em or hate 'em, Bayern is a winner - and everybody in Germany is envious, even though they won't admit it.

Great players are a matter-of-course for Bayern. Gerd "der Bomber" Müller is simply the greatest goalscorer the world has ever seen. Franz Beckenbauer was probably Germany's greatest ever player, even though he is a bit unpalatable in his role as president. Rummenigge, Breitner, Matthäus, Klinsmann, Sepp Maier, the list goes on.

The 1998-99 season could have been the most successful in history. After totally dominating the Bundesliga, Bayern gave up two last second goals against Manchester United to lose the Champions League final, and then lost on penalty kicks to Werder Bremen in the DFB Cup final. The next season looked like a walk in the park, and Bayern seemed to have things wrapped up by half way, having crunched rivals Bayer Leverkusen. However late season weakness and a great Leverkusen run had Bayern on the ropes. On the last day of the season, Bayern needed tiny Unterhaching, a club that had previously received financial aid from Bayern, to defeat Leverkusen. The Muenchen suburbanites obliged sensationally, while Bayern dutifully crushed their opponents, handing Bayern the title once more. To finish things off, they also kicked Werder's ass in the DFB Cup final.

2000-01 would prove to be a return to glory. Despite struggling in the league, Bayern toughed it out, nipping Schalke for the title on an injury time goal. Then a few days later, they crowned the season by "defeating" Valencia on penalties in the Champions League final. GK Oliver Kahn was the hero in this boring affair, stopping three penalties. Despite this turgid performance, no one could argue that Bayern didn't deserve the title, as they eliminated the previous Champs Manchester United and Real Madrid in convincing fashion. The next season was poor by Bayern standards, despite winning the Intercontinental Cup, they only managed 3rd place. In 2003, they steamrollered the rest of the Bundesliga, essentially wrapping up the title by mid season, but fared poorly in Europe. They repeated the feat in the 2004/05 season. After a poor 2007, Frenchman Franck Ribery surprisingly came on board, and Bayern recovered to dominate and win another title.

The 2008-09 season was forgettable, as Bayern failed on almost all fronts. A lot of the blame fell on the shoulders of debut coach Jürgen Klinsmann, who failed to light a fire under the champs, and eventually got his ass canned. (The last straw was an embarrassing 0-4 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League. Not so much the loss, but the gutless performance.) Most clubs wouldn't worry too much about 2nd, but not Bayern. As a result, Dutchman Louis van Gaal was brought in to coach next season, and the club spent lavishly, inlcuding a record 30 million euros for Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez. After a slow start, the club brought in Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben, who combined with Frank Ribery to make a devastating duo. Bayern was unstoppable, taking the double, and even advancing to the Champions League final.

The peak of Bayern dominance was the all-conquering 2012-13 season. Stung by Dortmund's back-to-back titles, Bayern's bosses insisted on a return to greatness. Veteran Jupp Heynckes came in as coach for his final season and delivered. Not only did Bayern due the domestic double, but dominated ridiculously. They also won the Champions League and would eventually go on to win the FIFA Club title.

The Guardiola era

You would think that Bayern was now at the pinnacle, and would want to "stay the course". But like many corporations, they wanted to re-invent themselves. Partially it would be due to Heynckes retirement. (Although he had hinted he was expecting to retire at the end of the season, Heynckes later would renege somewhat and state he was only "thinking" about it.) Bayern reacted in grandiose fashion, seeking the move that would establish them as the main player in Wolrd football: They went after Pep Guardiola. The spaniard had won everything at Barcelona, and then decided to "take some time off". There was frenzied speculation as everybody sought his signature. Bayern delivered it. Guardiola changed much of Bayern's playing style, favoring a modifed tiki-taka possesion game rather than Bayern's traditional power style. They again won the domestic double, but failed in the Champions League, eliminated by winner Real Madrid. Subsequent years were more of the same: domestic dominance, but failure in semi-finals of the Champions League. This caused a certain amount of grumbling in the fanbase, as despite crushing fellow Bundesliga sides, the European dominance eluded them. The change in Bayern's style also meant fewer German players, although some of his signing were quite successful, e.g. Brazilian Douglas Costa. At the end, after winning another double in 2016, Guardiola pissed off to Manchester City, probably to the relief of everybody.

Fullname Fußball-Club Bayern München e.V.
City München (Bayern). Pop: 1,353,186 (2010).
Address Postfach 900451, 81504 München.
Phone: (089) 699310 Fax:: (089) 644165
Colors Varies from the solid red to blue with red and white trim. Also occasionally all white. Recently (2010s) they also had black uniforms.
Stadium Allianz-Arena. Capacity: 71,000 (all seater)
Brand new state-of-the-art arena built in 2005. From 1971-2005, Bayern played at the Olympiastadion. Capacity: 71,000 (56,500 seats). Originally the capacity was 69,000, but they managed to add additional space. Previously, the home field was the Grünwalder Straße.
Tickets Theoretically hard to come by, as Bayern draws in zillions of fair weather fans who make the trip to Munich to see them play. They average almost capacity, so you may need to do some hunting to find tickets. However, if somebody crappy is playing, like Wolfsburg, you can probably get tickets by showing up at the park. It used to be if the weather was crappy, it should be easier, since the Bayern fans don't like the cold or rain, and are likely to want to go home. Now with the new Allianz-Arena, even the fair-weathered fan is accomodated. You can order online. All things considered, prices are quite reasonable, 15 euros for standing, and general seating 35-70 euros (2016).
Supporters Hmm. Maybe New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys - combined. Bayern has a huge following of many fair weather fans, but there is a large group of dedicated ones as well. They have fans in every nook and cranny of Germany. Similar clubs in Europe would be AC Milan and Juventus of Italy, Real Madrid of Spain and Manchester United in England. Almost every match is sold out, averaging 71,000.
Friends Fan Friendship? Just about everybody hates them. It's pretty much you either love 'em or hate 'em, with no middle ground. They should probably get together with Manchester United, because they are very similar in most aspects: huge following, lots of money, good team, lots of enemies. Oddly enough, perhaps due to their dominance, Bayern is quite "friendly" on a club-to-club basis. They are well known for staging friendlies with clubs in financial trouble, allowing the opponent to keep all receipts. They even loaned rivals Dortmund millions of euros when the latter was in a financial pinch.
Foes Where to begin? Go back to the Index page of Abseits and click on the "Clubs" listing. That will get you started. Seriously, wherever Bayern show up, they are hated. Goes with the territory.
Heroes At least 60 German internationals, and many foreign ones as well. Obviously, the list has to start with the famous trio from the 1970s, goalkeeper Josef "Sepp" Maier, perhaps Germany's greatest keeper, forward Gerd "Der Bomber" Müller arguably the greatest pure scoring forward ever - in the world. And of course Germany's greatest player ever, "Der Kaiser" Franz Beckenbauer. Among other superstars, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeneß, defender Georg Schwarzenbeck, forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Olli Kahn, heir to Maier's legacy as one of the world's best keepers. Lothar Matthäus, capped 90 times. And many others, too numerous to mention. Among foreign players, Frenchman Bixente Lizarazu, a World Champion and premier defender in the 1990s. Countryman Franck Ribery and Dutchman Arjen Robben (perhaps combining as "Robbery") were mainstays in the 2010s.
Zeroes Bayern seemingly has some enemy every week. Lately, Lothar Matthäus is persona non-grata with the club. Stefan Effenberg also had a falling out.
Beer Munich is famous for it's beers. Obviously, whoever gives the most money, is the sponsor. So in other words, it should be BUDWEISER. Ha-ha-ha!! I had to throw that in. Currently, Paulaner, a local brewery. Also Kulmbacher, from the town that advertizes itself as "The Beer City." Among past sponsors are Erdinger Weissbräu and Warsteiner. Of course, so is Coca-Cola.
Pub and Grub There is a club owned restaurant on Säbener Straße, next to the offices, open from 10-midnight.
Web The official site is www.fcbayern.de . Reflecting Bayern's international standing, they are also have English and Japanese versions. There are several excellent fan web pages.

Recent History:

2015-16 (I)     Bundesliga      1st	CHAMPION, DFB Cup Winner
2014-15 (I)     Bundesliga      1st	CHAMPION
2013-14 (I)     Bundesliga      1st	CHAMPION, DFB Cup Winner, FIFA World Club
2012-13 (I)     Bundesliga      1st	CHAMPION, DFB Cup Winner, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER
2011-12 (I)	Bundesliga	2nd
2010-11 (I)	Bundesliga	3rd
2009-10 (I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION, DFB Cup Winner, Champions League finalist
2008-09 (I)     Bundesliga	2nd
2007-08 (I)     Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
2006-07	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
2005-06	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
2004-05	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
2003-04	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
2002-03 (I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
2001-02	(I)	Bundesliga	3rd
1999-00	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION, DFB Cup winner
1998-99	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1997-98	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd	DFB Cup Winner
1996-97	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1995-96	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1994-95	(I)	Bundesliga	6th
1993-94	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1992-93	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1991-92	(I)	Bundesliga	10th
1990-91 (I) 	Bundesliga 	2nd 
1989-90	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1988-89	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1987-88	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1986-87	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1985-86	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1984-85	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1983-84	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1982-83	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1981-82	(I)	Bundesliga	3rd
1980-81	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1979-80	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1978-79	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1977-78	(I)	Bundesliga	12th
1976-77	(I)	Bundesliga	7th
1975-76	(I)	Bundesliga	3rd
1974-75	(I)	Bundesliga	10th
1973-74	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1972-73	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1971-72	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1970-71	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1969-70	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1968-69	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1967-68	(I)	Bundesliga	5th
1966-67	(I)	Bundesliga	6th
1965-66	(I)	Bundesliga	3rd
1964-65	(II)	Regionalliga Süd	1st
1963-64	(II)	Regionalliga Süd	2nd

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany