Why you won’t regret supporting Bayern Munich
A lot of you have probably read my personal story about supporting the great team of FC Bayern Munich yesterday. But for those new fans out there, it may not have resonated as much with them. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you did choose Bayern as your football team, you are in for one major treat. Yes, almost always winning, world class players, all that is good, but what really makes Bayern a team worth supporting? Let’s find out, shall we?
1. Long, rich history
Let’s start with an easy one. Few teams have a history as rich and successful as FC Bayern. Since its foundation in 1900, Bayern has won 30 German championships, 20 German Cups (DFB-Pokals), six European Cups (Champions Leagues), and many more trophies. Yes, some people might say that just parading your history around is because your team doesn’t have anything going on in the present day, but in Bayern’s case, we are writing history to this very day. No German team has won eight league titles in a row, and only two teams have won more Champions Leagues than them. Get your farmers’ league arguments in the bin, because Bayern scored more goals in two Champions League games than they did against any Bundesliga opponent last season.
Bayern’s history is not just a proud record of the club, but the face of German football itself. During Bayern’s first real successful run in the 1970s, West Germany won the European Championship and the World Cup. Just one year after Bayern’s Champions League triumphs in 2001 and 2013, Germany reached the World Cup final in 2002 and 2014, winning the latter. Bayern’s success has been an integral part of German footballing history, and it will continue to be for years to come.
2. Social work
FC Bayern is one of the most socially active clubs in the world. Having suffered under the terror reign of the Nazis back in the 1930’s, Bayern know what it is like to be oppressed, and if anything good came out of that, it is that they are determined to do everything to make sure something like that never happens again. Bayern are against any form of discrimination in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, you name it. For one, the recent campaign of Rot gegen Rassismus (Reds against Racism), is a prime example of how Bayern renounces racial discrimination. Bayern are also known to light up their stadium façade in the colors of the Pride flag on Christopher Street day to celebrate and promote LGBTQ rights. Of course, Bayern have also been partaking in Holocaust Memorial Day for the past two years, quite appropriately given their history.
A lot of Bayern players are also very socially active. Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich already made headlines earlier in the year with their “We Kick Corona” campaign to help people and organizations in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Team captain Manuel Neuer has his own foundation to aid children in poverty. Vice-captain Thomas Muller already has a few children’s books to his name. There are just so many examples of how Bayern as a whole contribute to the society in hope of a better world.
3. Family atmosphere
No club really preaches ‘family’ like FC Bayern. Once you’re a fan of Bayern, you’ll know what I mean. Bayern have always prided themselves on being a family, whether that includes fans, players, staff, whoever. One example is how they recruit ex-players as board or staff members, so that they can share a connection with the club even after they hang up their boots. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Oliver Kahn, and Hasan Salihamidzic all used to play for Bayern, as did Hansi Flick. Bayern’s greatest ever player Franz Beckenbauer used to coach Bayern briefly before becoming club president, and then honorary president. Heck, even team manager Kathleen Kruger used to play for the Bayern Frauen before her gig with the men’s team.
But it’s not just ex-players who share a strong bond with Bayern. The fans are never left out either. A prime example would be the annual Christmas fan club visits that the players and staff take all around Germany and Austria. There, the fans can meet and talk to the players, and also engage in some fun activities, be it foosball or keg pushing. Bayern’s official international fan clubs are also closely linked with the club, as are individual fans. In fact, with almost 300,000 members, Bayern is the biggest sports club in the world. “Germany’s most successful club defines itself as a family, so the door is always open to all former pros, staff, and fans,” reads the club’s official website.
And of course, you can’t say Bayern family without bringing up the team’s annual Oktoberfest visits. Now that sounds like a lot of fun.
4. Never-say-die attitude
Bayern has never been a club to back down without a fight, and if they did go down, they would always find a way back one way or another. I don’t think I need to explain this in too much detail, so let’s just go through some examples:
Barcelona, 1999. Bayern lost to Manchester United in the Champions League final in the most agonizing way possible. Two years later, they redeemed themselves with a penalty shootout win against Valencia, beating United on the way.
Munich, 2012. Bayern lost another final in their own stadium to Chelsea. Just a year later, Arjen Robben (who missed a crucial penalty against Chelsea) scored the winner against Borussia Dortmund to bring the European Cup home.
Munich, 2016. Bayern were two goals down to Juventus with just a quarter of an hour to play. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller somehow pulled the score back to 2-2 and Bayern completed their reverse sweep in extra time to win 4-2.
Berlin, 2019. Bayern had lost the DFB-Pokal final to Eintracht Frankfurt, but just a year later they won it in stunning style to soothe their hurting fans (myself included, I was there for both finals).
Lisbon, 2020. Bayern had exited the previous year’s Champions League in horrific fashion, but more than made up for it by winning every single game in the following season’s tournament to lift their sixth European Cup, and to cap a historic second continental treble. Even as recently as last week, Bayern looked destined for a draw with Bayer Leverkusen, but a last second winner from Lewandowski ensured three points for the Munich men.
Don’t count Bayern out ever, because they may go down, but they’ll never go out for good.
5. Mia san mia mentality
Last but not least, we have a very unique slogan. “Mia san mia,” which means “we are who we are.” It’s a simple slogan, but one that basically sums up the entire club in three simple words. We are FC Bayern. We are the team that everyone knows and fears. We are the team that holds every record in the country. We are the team that has everything it takes to win. We are the team who plays in front of a full house every week. We are the team who makes the headlines all the time. We are the best team in Germany. We are the best team in the world.
This mentality is what kept us going through the horrific Nazi regime. This is what keeps us going through every painful defeat and every setback. This is what makes us FC Bayern. This is a concept that isn’t the easiest to explain in detail, simply because it’s so straightforward. Again, once you become a fan, you’ll understand. It might take you a while to take in the club’s essence, the mia san mia mentality, but once you do, you’ll be preaching it yourself. We are FC Bayern, and nothing and no one will change that.
So what do you say? Will you join me and the global Bayern family? I promise, you won’t ever regret it.