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Meet the Bayern Munich fan club in Chicago

Get ready for Bayern Munich vs AC Milan in Chicago.

FC Bayern Muenchen Celebrate Winning The Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

Over the next week, Bayern Munich will take part in the International Champions Cup for the first time. As part of the Audi Summer Tour 2016, Bayern will play AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid across three separate American cities.

The tour of the United States is a continuation of the club’s efforts to expand internationally. Over the last several years, Bayern has alternated summers in the USA and China with their winter training camp regularly held in the Middle East.

Included in that internationalization plan was the establishment of fan clubs worldwide. Since putting an office in New York City, Bayern has reached 100 fan clubs in America, and the number continues to rise.

With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to speak with three fan clubs in the cities where these matches would be held. The first is Chicago Supporters of FC Bayern Munich. We spoke with the fan club’s founder Tyler Faivre ahead of Bayern’s match in Chicago against Milan.

How did the fan club start?

During the 2012 Champions League final, I went to a bar with a friend of mine and we noticed that there were hundreds of Bayern fans gathered there. Suddenly I realized that I wasn't the only Bayern fan, and that it was likely that other fans faced the same struggles to watch the games as I had. The following year, a few of us got together and founded the Chicago Supporters of FC Bayern Munich, with only 27 original members.

When did you become an official fan club?

Our club was officially recognized on April 6th, 2013.

How many members does the club currently have?

As of this morning, we just reached 700 members, nearly twice as many as we had just a few months ago. A lot of this is due to interest in the upcoming events, but we've had a pretty considerable following since the beginning.

Where is your regular meet-up location for Bayern Munich games?

Cleos Bar and Grill on Chicago Avenue. It's the perfect place for us!

How did this become the spot?

I visited Cleos after learning that there was a Hamburg fan club that met there as well, and chatted with their members a bit. After realizing how accommodating Cleos was, and how friendly they were toward us and our fans, it became clear that this would be our new home.

Does the club have any pregame rituals?

According to The Guardian, we all do a shot of Jägermeister during the games, but I have yet to see that happen ;) One thing we always do is take a photo of the fans that come out to the matches, so we can look back at the growth of our club over the years.

What's the most popular song to sing while watching the games?

Stern des Südens of course! After every major win, we always play that on the speakers and everyone sings along!

What's unique about the fan club in Chicago? Why should Bayern fans in the area come out for a game?

The Midwest in particular has a strong German influence, and many of our members have family in Germany, or have lived in Germany themselves. Despite this, the number of German expatriates in our fan club is considerably lower than you'd expect, and I'd imagine about 90% of our fans share a background similar to mine, as an American who came to love the team over the years.

We have a very diverse group of passionate fans in our club, which brings together certain people and cultures that you might otherwise never see together. Over the last few years, the fan club has evolved into a community, and we've come to think of each other as friends, and not just Bayern fans. It truly has been a great experience for us, and we're happy to have the support of all the fans in our great city.

For the list of events from Chicago Supporters of FC Bayern Munich, go here.

For the official list of events relating to the tour, go here.

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