Tag: bayern munich

Bayern Munich Fans Rent Skyscraper Apartment To See UCL Game

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Above is a tweet from Tobi Schweinsteiger, older brother of Bastian Schweinsteiger and reserve team player (Tobi’s tweet means “Where there’s a will there’s a way” in German.). He and several other fans rented an apartment in a skyscraper overlooking the CSKA Moscow stadium since they could not get tickets to the game. The game was played in an empty stadium due to a ban handed down for racism from CSKA Moscow fans which meant the game was forced to be played behind “closed doors.” These Bayern Munich fans knew that they could still see from the roof so they rented this apartment in order to watch the game. Bayern Munich was so impressed by this that they will be reimbursing these fans to reward them for their commitment and even Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller voiced their gratitude when they heard about the lengths their fans went to see them play. Take note soccer fans around the world, this is how you become a true fan.

h/t ProSoccerTalk

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Pep Guardiola and Bayern’s New Approach

Check out this fantastic article by Mike L. Goodman on Bayern Munich’s new approach under the guidance of Pep Guardiola. It’s a fascinating read that compares and contrasts the styles of Barcelona and Bayern Munich with some interesting statistical analyses on possession, shots attempted, and goals scored per total shots taken. A must read for soccer fans.

Huge Transfer Deals Already Making Waves

With the Champions League finished and the European leagues coming to a close, transfer news and rumors heat up.  A few of the hottest commodities in the world are already confirmed to be on the move.  This could mean that when the actual transfer window opens for the English Premier League in July, pickings may be slim on superstars for the top clubs looking to add top quality.  Lets take a look at some of the “confirmed” transfers already in place.

1) Neymar from Santos to Barcelona – Confirmed

New Barcelona teammates Messi and Neymar

Arguably the best young talent to hit the transfer market was Brazilian International Neymar.  Reportedly, he had a choice between Real Madrid and Barcelona and chose to join forces with Messi rather than Ronaldo.  With Alexis Sanchez and Pedro losing form and the likely departure of David Villa, Barcelona were in need of a winger upgrade and what better way than to add a 21 year old prodigy to partner with the best player in the world.

Santos will receive a reported €30 million euros and Barcelona likely have to pay a substantial fee in addition to that to Neymar’s third party investors.  (Explanation of third party investors here.)  Neymar’s talent level is unquestioned, it is whether he can translate that to the rigors of “big boy” soccer in Europe after beating up on the lowly Brazilian League in his teenage years.  Either way, you can’t blame Barcelona for taking a gamble on him.  After all, take a look at some of his highlights:

2) Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid to Monaco – Pending Physical

Falcao celebrating after scoring for Atletico Madrid

Speculation has been surrounding Falcao since last transfer window as Atletico look to cash in on his incredible form in becoming one of the top central strikers in the world over the past few seasons.  The 27 year old looks to be snubbing the Premier League and will look to join France squad Monaco in their attempts to rebuild.  Monaco have already purchased the talented Porto duo Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez for a combined €70 million and will have to splash out another €60 million for Falcao.  Quite the spending spree for the Ligue 2 champions.  The deal is expected to be confirmed sometime following Atletico Madrid’s final match of the season.

3) Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich – Agent Confirms

As if Bayern hadn’t given enough blows to Dortmund by announcing the signing of Mario Gotze and then beating them in the Champions League final, Bayern are set to steal their top goal scorer as well.  This deal is far from official yet and no transfer fee amount is being reported, but Robert’s agent recently stated to the media that Bayern have agreed on a transfer fee and that his client is set to join following his brilliant season.  I’m willing to bet he had the attention of Bayern even before he put 4 goals past Real Madrid in the Champions League semi’s.  If the signing of Lewandowski comes to fruition for Bayern, they have to be the favorite to defend their Champions League title next season.

With 2 of the worlds top strikers supposedly off the market, it looks like squads will be forced to overpay for the next tier talents.  Cavani, Rooney, David Villa, and Dzeko (among many others) would be included in this group as possible and likely departures.  It should be a very interesting summer as the transfer season heats up so stay tuned.

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Bayern Munich Buys Champions League Title

Yesterday, Bayern Munich was able to revenge last years disappointing finals loss and knock off their German rivals on the way to the Champions League title.  The match was definitely entertaining and like most big matches, was not without controversy.

If you missed it, check out the highlights here:

The first half, despite being a 0-0 draw, was very back and forth as both teams created opportunities and needed massive saves from arguably two of the top goal keepers in the world.

Bayern continued to handle the possession and create chances until finally the stalemate was broken when Arjen Robben dribbled far into the box and crossed a perfectly weighted ball to the head of Mandzukic to knock it into the open net.

In my opinion, the controversy occurred when Dante clumsily fouled Marco Reus in the box where the referee rewarded a penalty.  The penalty was clearly rightly given.

As you can see, Dante mistakenly tried to kick the ball with his dominant left foot and instead cleated the stomach of Reus.  Is it a coincidence Dante isn’t even looking at the ball?  The controversy is that Dante w as already on a yellow card, yet was given nothing from the referee for this horrible foul.  Maybe the referee decided that the penalty was harsh enough, but when a player commits a foul as sloppy as that one, there’s no reason a second yellow shouldn’t have been given.  The play is actually reminiscent of Nani’s straight red against Real Madrid earlier this year.  Obviously, had Bayern been down to 10 men for the rest of the match, the outcome most likely would have been different.

As the highlights show and as you are more than likely aware, Robben redeemed his Champions League final blunder from last season and scored the winning goal in the 89th minute.

The title of this post is not suggesting Bayern paid off the referee to get favorable calls.  Teams get favorable calls all the time and whether its coincidence or referee bias, I highly doubt and money is being paid to referees to influence matches.

So how did Bayern “buy” the title?  By buying and then announcing the purchase of Mario Gotze prior to the German clash.  Dortmund’s most important player just happened to be in street clothes for the most important match for the club this century.

It’s being reported that Gotze suffered from a “hamstring injury” that kept him out of the biggest match of his career thus far.  Could it be the hamstring or that he didn’t want to face the moral dilemma of playing against his new team on European soccer’s biggest stage?  You would think that the squad’s star player would tough out a hamstring injury in such a situation.

Had Dortmund’s most creative player been on the pitch, would the outcome have been any different?  We’ll never know but one can only speculate that he would’ve provided the creative punch that Dortmund seemed to be lacking for most of the match.

Unfortunately, let the dismantling of Borussia Dortmund begin.

The Fan Is Always Right…If He/She Is German

Sports only exist because there are fans to watch. There is a reason that cricket has not taken off in America for the same reason arena lacrosse players have side jobs, not enough fans to support the league. Those leagues that are bereft of fans understand the importance of fan satisfaction because every fan they lose is one less fan that they have. The influx of fans to lower level sports leagues is so minuscule that there are no guarantees that a lost fan will ever be replaced. This emphasis on fan satisfaction is refreshing but it is a misnomer. The demand is low for these leagues so their business strategy has to reflect that but that is not a reflection of how much they care for their fans because they are forced to care.

For the most popular sports leagues the fans flock to them in droves. As a result, the teams and the league can start to charge more and cater to a more expensive clientele because they have no worries of losing fans. Of course they could lose some casual fans but casual fans are a dime a dozen. The avid fans are too committed to the team to walk away and the average fan will always return when the team is successful. Therefore, teams can risk raising ticket and concession prices because they know that at the end of the day fans will pay these prices. Of course they will cry and complain about the prices but when push comes to shove they will pay those prices. Their commitment to the team is too entrenched.

Fans must accept part of the blame. Capitalism is nothing new to society and fans have been around long enough to see why they are the ones who continue to encourage this greedy behavior. We could just walk away but the problem with sports is that walking away is easier said than done. Nick Hornby phrased it well in his book Fever Pitch when he said

Loyalty, at least in football terms, was not a moral choice like bravery or kindness; it was more like a wart or a hump, something you were stuck with. Marriages are nowhere near as rigid—you won’t catch any Arsenal fans slipping off to Tottenham for a bit of extra-marital slap and tickle, and though divorce is a possibility (you can just stop going if things get too bad), getting hitched again is out of the question. There have been many times over the last twenty-three years when I have pored over the small print of my contract looking for a way out, but there isn’t one.Each humiliating defeat (Swindon, Tranmere, York, Walsall, Rotherham, Wrexham) must be borne with patience, fortitude and forbearance; there is simply nothing that can be done, and that is a realisation that can make you simply squirm with frustration.

In essence this phrase says that we could walk away from the team but we can never be a fan of another team. It is all or nothing for most fans.

The power wielded by these leagues has led to ever rising ticket and concession prices. With each passing year, more and more fans are priced out in favor or richer fans. The Premier League has recently taken a lot of flak because they are pricing out the lower working class fans on which the league was built on. No matter how loyal a fan is, team owners very rarely reciprocate that loyalty. It is a sad day when a sports fan realizes they only matter as much to their team as the money they pay.

The recent popularity of the Bundesliga may seem out of the blue for casual football fans. However, for those who study and love the game it has been storm on the horizon that we have been waiting to finally arrive. The Premier League remains dominant but the Seria A has lost international popularity and the La Liga has become too top-heavy. The German Fotball Federation has spent a considerable amount on increasing the quality of their football and that progress has been demonstrated by the increased skill level of the German national team and the Bundesliga. On the heels of this success the Bundesliga has begun to expand it’s international profile, first by focusing on Asia and then they will start to expand elsewhere. The mountain they had to climb to catch up with the Premier League may have looked insurmountable a few months ago but the upcoming Champions League final proves that the Bundesliga may be further along than most had previously believed.

All of this success would bring one to believe that the German football fans are paying the price. Bayern Munich, even before the Bundesliga’s international success, has been a perennial powerhouse. If any German team was going to over-charge their fans in the Bundesliga then all signs would point to Bayern being the perpetrators. Instead, Bayern Munich have the cheapest season tickets in the world with a standing room adult season ticket package only costing 104 Euro. Why is Bundesliga ignoring the basic tenets of capitalism? Is it because they skipped their economics lesson in school? No it is because they are following an ideal that is so rare in the sports business world. The ideal that the fan should never be taken for granted.

When asked about there cheap prices, Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness remarked,”We do not think the fans are like cows, who you milk. Football has got to be for everybody.” This quote sums up the sports business world and why the Bundesliga is such a pariah when it comes to ticket pricing. The fan can always be easily be exploited because the owners have everything to gain and nothing to lose in a financial sense as long as they increase the prices they charge incrementally. However, when considered as a moral question the fan should not be abused because of their loyalty, they should be celebrated  because of their loyalty. No other brand enjoys that type of unconditional loyalty and for that very reason it should be appreciated by sports owners. Bundesliga owners are the part of the rare few who abide by that ideal.

They are not the only club in the Bundesliga either who do follow this ideal. Borussia Dortmund, the other team in the Champions League Final also charges an exceptionally low price for their tickets. In fact, their prices are so low that they have priced out their young fans. Oddly enough the tickets are so cheap that all the season tickets are consumed by the existing fans and young fans have no opportunities to buy tickets because they are already purchased. As a result, Borussia Dortmund has had to come up with initiatives to get tickets for younger fans so that they can maintain an influx of new fans. It has worked because Borussia Dortmund has been inundated with half a million ticket requests for the champions League final for just the 24,000 that are up for grabs. Suffice it to say Borussia Dortmund has developed a loyal and rabid fan base.

The rest of the Bundesliga follows a similar pricing strategy, and although their international popularity may not be as high as Borussia or Bayern, they are still excelling at keeping their fans loyal. These German teams are helping to prove wrong an idea that sports teams must charge more money to excel. Thanks to the Bundesliga sports teams around the world should learning that catering to the fan may reduce the profit margin but the result will be a much more loyal and rabid fan base. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are helping to prove that this sports marketing strategy could very well pay off in the long run. Hopefully it does because most fans around the world can agree that the prices they pay to watch the game they love are getting out of control.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2318209/Bayern-Munich-season-tickets-low-104-putting-Premier-League-shame.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-borussia-dortmund-is-good-2013-4

Champion’s League Madness

Real Madrid almost did it. I will go out on a limb and say that the only people who thought they could were those die hard Real Madrid fans and anyone without any idea of the degree of difficulty their task really was. Real Madrid had to beat a Borussia Dortmund side that hadn’t lost a Champion’s League match. A side that could score goals at will in the first leg and a side that was beaming with confidence and bravado. But Real Madrid still came close.

klopp
I’d be smiling too if my under budget team was in its first Champion’s League final since 1996.

This game was an interesting one for me. On one hand you knew what to expect from both teams. Dortmund would sit in and take the brute force Real Madrid attack and hang on to the seemingly insurmountable lead they took in the first leg. But, if they planned to sit in and defend, how is it possible that Real Madrid had so many exceptional chances in the game, nevertheless the first twenty minutes of the match? Real Madrid’s pressure was relentless. Jose Mourinho had a game plan to thwart any defensive ideas. The self-proclaimed “special one” had waves and waves of Madrid’s guns swarming the Dortmund defense and pelting the goal with shot after shot. It was awful finishing and some damn good goalkeeping from Roman Weidenfeller that kept Madrid off the scoresheet until the 80th minute. I think we all knew that Madrid would score but no one believed it would take so long.

I was not in attendance at the Bernebeu but one would have to assume that the first goal ignited a crowd that could carry the lowly QPR out of the relegation zone. Once the crowd was behind them, Madrid brought the pressure again and it looked as if the toll of defending for 80 minutes had been too much for Dortmund and that they would fall to mighty Madrid. It was not to be. Madrid grabbed a second but could not break Dortmund again, even with an extra minute of stoppage time.

Bye bye ronaldo and bye bye mourinho

Chances are that Mourinho and Ronaldo are out of Madrid at the end of the season. Who knows where they will end up but that isn’t my topic here. Madrid exposed some incredible weaknesses in Borussia Dortmund. As good as they had been in the first leg, the second leg they resembled a team of middleschooler’s taking on the varsity squad in an attempt to prove their worth, only to get run ragged for the entire game. If it was not for Hummels massive performance centrally, their could have been more goals and Dortmund might not have gone through. From the looks of the match, Dortmund cannot solely defend. They are a team of defending by attacking and without the attack flowing they will struggle and pending an implosion by the machine of Bayern Munich, they will have a tall task against them in the final.  Still, Dortmund missed a plethora of chances yesterday and given Lewandowski’s goalscoring record in the past month, I see them putting on a show at Wembley. No matter who they end up with, they will persevere. I see a 3-1 victory coming their way and another chance to live the glory of this team: 

Barcelona will win today’s game 2-0 but won’t come close to scaring Bayern. Bayern is a machine and Barcelona does not have the outrageous athletic ability of Bayern. Even the best player in the world can meet his demise.

Dortmund’s Best Chance to Win Champions League is Now

Robert-Lewandowski

Borussia Dortmund pulled off a very impressive 4-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday.  I thought it was even more impressive when you factor in the huge blow to the club that was made public on Tuesday when Dortmund announced it will be selling German wonderkid Mario Gotze to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.  This article even goes so far as to say he turned down bigger offers to go to Bayern instead.  From a fans perspective, that has to sting Dortmund fans.  Gotze has been with Dortmund since he was 9 years old.  So much for loyalty, right?

TheinterestingcaseofMarioGotze

You would think the news of losing one of the best young talents in the world would demoralize a squad.  Actually, the effect was just the opposite.  Barcelona were outclassed immensely by the home side.  Dortmund played the match with huge confidence when many had predicted an inevitable all-Spanish Champions League final.

The obvious choice for man of the match was Robert Lewandowski who knocked home all 4 of Dortmund’s goals.  Entering into his final contract year, Robert will be considered one of the most highly sought after goal scorers in the world, especially after the performance he just put on against Barcelona.  His agent just announced today that a deal has been reached with an unnamed club (fancy timing).

Could he be joining his teammate Gotze at Bayern?  That would be quite the transfer window for Bayern – taking two of the best players from it’s closest rival.  Or perhaps, like this articles mentions, could he be on his way to Manchester United with the possible departure of Wayne Rooney?  Eden Dzeko would make a nice consolation prize for Dortmund, but he has hardly been in the class of Gotze or Lewandowski.

Last season, Dortmund watched Shinji Kagawa leave for Old Trafford.  Now, two of its brightest young stars are “confirmed” to be moving on this transfer window.  Marco Reus is another highly rated player possibly on the move within the next couple of transfer windows.  With all these departures, one has to assume it could be quite a while before Dortmund are back in a Champions League semi-final, let alone surviving the group stage.

It was the first time in Champions League history that two German clubs advanced to the semi-finals.  Now Bayern and Dortmund look poised to make even more history by facing off in the finals.  It could be one very awkward final for Mario Gotze should that hold true.