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Bayern Munich: The best-managed “super club” in the world

Thoughts on Bayern Munich’s new project following the massive victory versus Paris Saint-Germain. 

Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

“He is talented, complete, and very intelligent,” says Patrick Gonfalone when describing a 16-year-old Kingsley Coman. There’s nothing left for him at the U-17 level, then France’s U-17 national team coach continues, concluding the interview by stating that he would have already played professionally if he was in another club than Paris Saint-Germain.

Le Parisien – a top-tier French newspaper – labelled the PSG versus Bayern Munich match in the Champions League’s round of 16 as “Le Grand Soir” (The Big Night). For Qatar’s sports washing project in Paris – the two games against Bayern Munich define their entire season. For the second time in the space of three years, their academy player crashed the Parisian party with an unwanted homecoming.

Kingsley Coman grew up in the Parisian suburbs – and like many other talented kids – joined the PSG Academy before he turned 10 years old. He became the youngest player to play for PSG on 17 February – two months after Gonfalone’s comments – at the age of 16 years, eight months, and four days. Two years later, he left his hometown. The reason was that he feared his progress would fade as his hometown club focused their progression on new multi-million signings such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Lucas Moura, and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Despite Christophe Galtier’s decision to start 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery last night, PSG has done a dreadful job of retaining local talent since the takeover by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011. The club has let go of a handful of talented players – the costliest being the Paris-born Kylian Mbappe. While Paris provides more World Cup players than any other city, their football team is more focused on improving governmental reputations through extraordinary signings.

And so far, none of it is working for PSG. Last night, their season took a huge blow – losing to another “super club” that is in so many ways their exact opposite on the transfer market. Yes, Bayern Munich — like PSG – is one of the richest clubs on the planet, has a Qatari connection, and doesn’t shy away from the occasional multi-million signing. But, especially in recent years, it’s become clear that Bayern is focusing on growing their starting eleven, rather than purely buying one.

On Tuesday, Bayern featured a team with Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, Jamal Musiala, Josip Stanišić, and Kingsley Coman – five players that cost the club less than €50 million in transfer fees. While teams like West Ham, Everton, and Aston Villa have spent as much as Bayern Munich in the last ten years in the transfer market, Die Roten has had more success than teams such as Manchester City and PSG on the pitch.

It’s proof that Bayern is the best-operated ‘Super-Club’. Bayern is far away from becoming a football institution that would spend €330 million on players in a single month or becoming accused of breaking more than 100 financial rules by the Bundesliga. While Juventus has been deducted 15 points for “financial irregularities” and “false accounting”, Bayern just announced a profit for a third consecutive pandemic year.

Beyond the boardroom, and on the pitch, Bayern also keeps on winning. Despite losing Robert Lewandowski, despite the uncertainty of life beyond Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – Bayern currently tops the Bundesliga for the 11th executive year, have the chance to lift the DFB-Pokal, and yesterday, made another massive statement that they are still one of the best football teams in the world.

Under Julian Nagelsmann, Bayern is laying down the base of another golden generation – one that is home-grown and is constructed through a lens of sustainable security. It’s a team that is not built on established superstars or one that plays its games surrounding internal financial chaos. It’s become a club that takes a chance in a 17-year-old striker to replace a record-breaking phenomenon, a club where the biggest scandal this year has surrounded a skiing accident.

It’s a healthy super-club, both on and off the pitch. A club - that after this week - became one of the favourites to win the Champions League.

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