Bayern Munich’s participation in the International Champions Cup (ICC) has become a staple of the preseason. Although the name of the competition alludes to a global event, a majority of the friendly matches take place in the United States. The competition has attracted the World’s biggest clubs, seeking to capitalize on the ever-growing American market.
With the historic business acumen of the Bayern board, it is no surprise that they have embraced the tour of the United States. One avenue to capture the American audience pursued by the German-club’s marketing team has been a cultural exchange of sorts between athletes, such as Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, and most recently Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite the footballing and commercial benefits, many players relish the opportunity to explore the United States. In a recent interview (via @FCBayernUS) Bayern Munich forward, Robert Lewandowski discussed the upcoming US Tour that will see the Bavarian giants travel to Los Angeles, Houston, and Kansas City.
When asked about the ICC destinations, Lewandowski expressed a particular interest in Los Angeles.
Yes, I’ve been in LA, that was four years ago, maybe. So, I know the city, I like the city, everything is so great there, except that maybe there is too much the traffic. But if you think about the life, you see the beach, and the people. I like Los Angeles very much. I’ve never been in Houston or Kansas City, this summer will be the first time for me.
His appreciation for the LA lifestyle is unsurprising, and it could be linked to his interest in American sports. Lewandowski is particularly interested in basketball. He said,
I sometimes watch the NBA...it’s a very interesting sport for me. I like the atmosphere in the arena... I have two or three teams during the season: Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Lakers.
But American basketball is not his only interest:
Sometimes I see other sports. I watch MLS — soccer is, of course, very interesting for me. I see NFL games, not every game, but sometimes I see what is happening...
Lewandowski’s interest in the MLS might excite fans of the American domestic game. The 30-year-old Pole fits the profile of a global superstar who could make the move to the MLS in the twilight of his career. It would not be for a few years, but it would not be unreasonable to think that the striker’s last European stop is the Bavarian capital before making the trans-Atlantic trek. Just last month ESPN’s MLS analyst Taylor Twellman reported that the Chicago Fire were interested in the possibility of procuring the services of the Polish-international. Of course, Lewandowski’s own wife Anna has previously stated that her husband would like to end his career at one of the clubs in LA.
Lewandowski expressed admiration for the continued growth and improvement of the American league, which one might interpret as a hint towards a willingness to consider a move:
I think every year the quality and the level of soccer in the USA and in the MLS is growing and growing very fast. If you see players that are playing there, not only the players starting there (in the MLS), but also players that were playing with us (in Europe) a few years ago there, they’re playing better every year and the quality of soccer is growing. This year you can see many more highlights that you saw two or three years ago. This is what I see and that impresses me. I know MLS has a lot of potential. I think in MLS in a few years will be a stronger league than what they are now and what they were two or three years ago.
Thanks to the ICC, however, Bayern Munich fans stateside will have the opportunity to see the striker and the rest of his world-class teammates in their prime against some of the top clubs in the world. With matches against Arsenal, Real Madrid, and AC Milan, Die Roten will be up against stiff competition all looking to take the next step after mixed seasons.
Bayern will likely be competing in the Super Cup just weeks later and proper preparation will be key to ensure the 2019/20 campaign will start with silverware. Lewandowski is confident that the timing of the ICC is perfect:
This will not be too early for us because we have the Super Cup game in August, two weeks later. The tournament is time for us, it would be perfect for us to play in July against these big teams. After this, we have one or two weeks to prepare for the first official game because even Bundesliga starting later, we also have a Super Cup, that is also a very important game for us.
As the season draws to a close what changes do you expect to see by the ICC tour in the United States?