Sporting superstitions are a bit of a meme these days, but it’s undeniable that something strange is going on in Bavaria this season. When Bayern Munich was preparing for their contest against Nurnberg this weekend, the @FCBayernUS account tweeted out a picture of their dressing room featuring their abysmal mint kits. Someone responded with this:
NOTHING good has ever come from this kit. Why the eff do they still use it? It’s bad luck.— The Argus (@walter_hayden) April 28, 2019
That got me thinking: might “Mr. The Argus” have a point?
This isn’t a debate about whether the kit is bad. It is bad — there is no debate. If you put Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Hellen Keller in the same room with a mint kit, they would all tell you that it was the worst jersey they’d ever seen (aside from anything with Real Madrid on it). It’s an ugly jersey that has earned the ire of fans across Germany and the world.
But are the mint kits more than just offensive to the eyes? I looked at the record of the team when they wore the mint kits for a segment on the latest episode of Bavarian Podcast Works. (Check it out if you haven’t already!) What I found was interesting, and it led me to one inevitable conclusion: the Mint Kit Curse is real.
Here are some examples of all of the trials and tribulations experienced by Die Roten in mint. By the end, I believe that you will agree with me.
Exhibit A: Red vs Mint
If one examines Bayern Munich’s record in every kit they wear, the evidence clearly shows that mint is their worst-performing color. For starters, Bayern’s grey third kit has been worn just three times all season: once in a 4-1 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf a few weeks ago, once in a 2-0 win against Benfica, and the other time in that wild 3-3 draw against Ajax in Amsterdam — a win percentage of 66%.
If next we look at every Bayern result in their traditional red kits, Die Roten (reds for real) went 27-4-2, for a win percentage of 81%.
In the mint kits, Bayern went 3-3-2 for a 37.5% win percentage. Now, one may look at that and say, “Hey, we still won more games than we lost. How can there be a curse?” If you dive deep into each game, however, as I am about to do, you will find that there may be something more sinister afoot.
Exhibit B: 2018 results
Even when the Bavarians win in their mint kits, something never really seems right. Here is every minty win:
August 18, 2018: SV Drochtersen/Assel 0-1 Bayern Munich (DFB Pokal)
Despite the fact that Bayern Munich out-shot the Regionalliga Nord side 28-3 and had 84% possession, only five shots were on target, and it took until the 81st minute before Robert Lewandowski finally scored and killed them off. Decidedly not a great result against a 4th-division team.
September 28, 2018: Hertha Berlin 2-0 Bayern Munich
It hurts when you lose to an opponent for the first time in nine years. Starting Renato Sanches was a bold choice, and letting Sandro Wagner in at any point is even bolder. In the end, Bayern had 25 shots but only five on target. No goals. The starting front three of Robbery + Lewa and their subs (Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, and Wagner) combined for 12 shots, of which only three were on target. No goals. Bayern had 69% possession and 84% pass completion. No goals. Meanwhile, Hertha manage six shots, but four are on target, and Bayern gave up a penalty to Vedad Ibisevic in the 23rd minute and never recovered. This was also the game that triggered Bayern’s massive slump in October.
October 27, 2018: Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich
This was a poor game from the whole team, as the average rating according to WhoScored came out to be a 6.90. The team put up a whopping 23 shots, but somehow had only five on target for an SoT rating of 21.7%. Robert Lewandowski went 0-5 in on-target shots, and neither Serge Gnabry nor Muller had a good game. Manuel Neuer made only three saves and let in an easy shot that tied the game before a Thiago goal in the 62’ saved the points for the Bavarians.
December 18, 2018: Hanover 96 0-4 Bayern Munich
Everyone is beating Hanover this year, so I’m going to leave this result in as the outlier in which Bayern had a really dominant game. But I will say this, to have 33 shots and only 14 on target is sad (42% SoT rating), but a 12% conversion rate is even sadder. Regardless, Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcantara, and Gnabry had a phenomenal game.
Still, someone may look at this and think, “A 3-0-1 record isn’t awful at all, what do the kits have anything to do with it?” Well, just wait till next year...
Exhibit C: 2019 results
February 2, 2019: Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Bayern Munich
It’s important to note that Sven Ulreich was in goal. But the fact is that Bayern’s slow, sluggish defense got worse, since injuries to Kimmich and Neuer kept them on the sidelines. Lewandowski barely contributed, but Coman picked up the slack, making six of the team’s 17 shots.
February 19, 2019: Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich (UCL)
The beginning of the end of the Bavarians’ Champions League run. Bayern put up nine shots as neither team took advantage of their chances. A yellow card for Joshua Kimmich meant he would miss the second leg, and a 3-1 loss at home meant the end for Die Roten.
March 30, 2019: Freiburg 1-1 Bayern Munich
Three minutes. That’s how long it took for Lucas Höler to open the scoring for Freiburg. Despite Lewy answering in the 22nd minute, it seemed that Bayern was playing on the back foot the whole time. Once again, the team shot high (27), but didn’t hit the target often (8). A Leon Goretzka header in stoppage time (90+2’) hit the bar, and so Bayern failed to pick up three points since the loss to Leverkusen.
April 28, 2019: Nürnberg 1-1 Bayern Munich
This could have been a 2-1 loss if Tim Leibold had not hit the woodwork on a penalty in the 91st minute. Bayern was incredibly sloppy, committing errors and giving away free kicks in dangerous areas. By a weird coincidence, the last time Bayern failed to grab all three points was the previous mint-kit catastrophe against Freiburg.
So, to wrap up Bayern’s Mint Kit Curse: the kit looks bad, the team plays badly in it, and, with a few games to go, I would really like it if Bayern never made an appearance in mint again.
Convinced? If not, let me know in the comments.
UPDATE: A previous edition of this article made the mint kit record 4-3-2 with a 4-0-1 record in 2018 and a 44% win percentage. Upon further review, it has come to my attention that the 2-0 win over Benfica in the UCL was when Bayern wore the grey kit (thanks ESPN graphics).
This does two things:
1) It makes the mint kit overall record 3-3-2 for a win percentage of 37.5% and the 2018 record 3-0-1
2) The grey kits record now stands at 2-1-0 for a 66% win percentage.