Fußball-Club Bayern München e. V., more commonly known around the world as FC Bayern or Bayern Munich is a German professional sports club based in the capital city of Bavaria.
It is most famous for its football team which features in 1.Bundesliga, the highest standard of league football in Germany. Its immense trophy-cabinet includes 32 league-titles, 20 DFB-Pokals, 9 DFL-Supercups, 6 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup among many others.
FC Bayern is the largest and most successful club in Germany. The Bavarian giant is the 3rd highest-earning football club in the world, trailing behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF from Spain. Bayern is one of only 5 European sides to win all the 3 main UEFA club competitions.
As of May 2022, Bayern München holds the top-spot in the UEFA club rankings. The club also has other departments for chess, handball, basketball, gymnastics, bowling and table tennis.
The colours of FC Bayern are red and white while the club crest contains the blue and white lozenge flag of Bavaria. In November 2019, Bayern had 293,000 official members and 4,499 registered fan-clubs around the world with over 350,000 members.
Since the start of the 2005/06 season, Bayern has played its home-games at the 75,000 capacity Allianz Arena, the second largest stadium in Germany. Prior to that, the Olympiastadion in Munich served as its home-ground for 33 years.
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FC Bayern München was started by members of a Munich gymnastics club known as MTV 1879. On 27th February 1900, a congregation of MTV 1879 decided that the footballers of the club would not be allowed to be part of the DFB, the recently formed German Football Federation. On the very same day 11 members of the football division left the club to form Fußball-Club Bayern München.
The Early Years
Bayern München enjoyed immediate success, registering big wins against all its main opponents of the time including a 15-0 victory over FC Nordstern before reaching the semi-finals of the 1900/01 South German championship. In the next few years, it won a few local trophies and at the end of the first decade, Bayern had already attracted its first German national team player in Max Gabrel Gablonsky.
In 1906, it joined the Münchner Sport-Club and allowed it to move into the MSC ground at Leopoldstraße the following year. In 1910/11, Bayern München became part of the newly launched Kreisliga, the first regional football league in Bavaria. Bayern clinched the title in its inaugural season but it was unable to win it again for the next 3 years. By 1914, World War I had begun and it halted all sporting activities in Germany.
In the years after the war, Bayern won many regional trophies even though it had not clinched the national title as yet. The club grew in popularity, having over 700 members in 1920 which made it the largest football club in Munich. With the rising number of crowds at its matches, Bayern moved into the Grünwalder Stadion in 1925, sharing the stadium with local rivals TSV 1860 München.
Bayern München won the South German championship for the first time in 1926 before repeating its success a couple of years later. The club then went on to clinch its maiden German championship in 1932 under its coach Richard Kohn after defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the final. However, the Nationalist Socialist party gained political power in Germany to become a huge hurdle to its rise.
The then club president Kurt Landauer and coach Ricahrd Kohn, both being Jewish, left the country while many others from the club were purged. It was taunted as the ‘Jew’s club’ while local rivals 1860 München gained more support. Meanwhile, only amateurs were allowed to play in the Gauligen structure put in place by the Nazis, which also hurt the club a great deal when its gifted centre-forward Oskar Rohn left for Switzerland.
At the end of World War II, Bayern became a member of the Oberliga Süd in the newly created top-tier of German football containing 5 regional divisions. Although Landauer returned as club president in 1947, with his tenure ending 4 years later, he still remains the longest serving president for Bayern München. Nevertheless, it was a fairly turbulent period for Bayern and it employed 13 managers from 1945-63.
In the 1954/55 campaign, Bayern was even relegated from the top-tier but managed to return to the Oberliga Süd after a one-year absence. In the 1956/57 season, Bayern also lifted the DFB-Pokal for the first time with a 1-0 victory in the final against TuS Fortuna Düsseldorf. However the club was struggling financially during this period and came to the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1950’s.
In 1963, the DFB decided to gather all the top clubs from Oberligas into a single-division national league called Bundesliga with the 5 best teams from Oberliga Süd over a 10-year period gaining qualification. Bayern München was ranked 6th in this system with 1860 München in 7th spot although they would gain entry to the new 1st division by virtue of being the reigning Oberliga Süd champions.
After initial complaints of mistreatment were brushed aside, club president Wilhelm Neudecker responded by bringing in Zlatko Čajkovski, who had led 1.FC Köln to the German championship in 1961/62, to be the new manager of FC Bayern. With a young side comprising the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller, who later became famous as ‘the axis’, it won promotion to the top-flight in 1964/65.
The Golden Age
At the end of its first campaign in the 1965/66 Bundesliga season, FC Bayern finished on 3rd spot and went on to clinch the DFB-Pokal for the 2nd time in the club’s history. This qualified Bayern for the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1966/67 season which it won by beating Rangers FC of Scotland by 1-0 after extra-time. The Bavarian side was also able to retain the DFB-Pokal that same campaign.
But the club still desired greater success, especially in the league and appointed Branko Zebec as the new manager. In the 1968/69 season Zebec led Bayern München to its first Bundesliga title. That same season Bayern went on to win the DFB-Pokal with a 2-1 win against FC Schalke 04 in the final. This was the first time a Bundesliga side went on to complete the league and cup double.
It retained the DFB-Pokal the next season but lost the league-title and Udo Lattek took charge as the new manager of FC Bayern at the start of the 1970/71 campaign. After winning the cup in his first season, Lattek guided his side to the league-title in 1971/72. The title-decider turned out to be Bayern’s last home-game of the campaign, scheduled to be played at the new Olympiastadion.
This was also the first televised match in Bundesliga history. Bayern rose to the occasion with a thumping 5-1 victory against title-rivals Schalke 04 to end the season with new records for points scored and goals scored, among others. In the subsequent 1972/73 season Bayern cruised home to the league-crown to clinch its 3rd Bundesliga title in 5 years.
The following season, Bayern was in a tough battle with Borussia VfL Mönchengladbach before edging the league-title by a single point, overtaking the Westphalia side as the most successful side in the Bundesliga. Bayern München also reached its maiden final of the European Cup in 1973/74 where it faced Atlético Madrid. Bayern beat the Spanish team 4-0 at Brussels in a replay to earn the trophy for the very first time.
FC Bayern lost the league-title to Borussia M’gladbach the following two seasons but managed to retain the European Cup on both occasions. In 1974/75, it notched a 2-0 win over Leeds United of England in the final at Paris. In the 1975/76 season, Bayern beat French club Saint-Étienne 1-0 at Glasgow for its 3rd consecutive triumph. It also defeated Brazilian club Cruzeiro EC 2-0 on aggregate to win the Intercontinental Cup.
Highs and Lows
In the subsequent years, Bayern failed to win any trophies until the end of the decade and by now Beckenbauer, Maier and Müller had already left the club or were at the end of their careers. Paul Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge became the new Bavarian stars of the team under Pál Csernai, often called FC Breitnigge, which won back-to-back 1.Bundesliga titles in 1979/80 and 1980/81 seasons.
The DFB-Pokal in 1981/82 was the only trophy in the next two seasons prompting the club to bring Udo lattek back as the manager. While Breitner and Rummenigge were longer part of the side, Bayern won the DFB-Pokal again in 1983/84 before going on to grab 1.Bundesliga on 5 occasions in the next 6 years including a cup-double at the end of the 1985/86 campaign.
However, European success remained out of reach despite reaching the final twice during this spell of domestic dominance. In 1981/82, Bayern München lost 1-0 to English club Aston Villa at Rotterdam. Half a decade later, it went down 2-1 in the 1986/87 final to FC Porto in Vienna. The hierarchy decided to change the manager once more and appointed Jupp Heynckes for his maiden spell at the Bavarian club.
After ending his first campaign as runners-up to SV Werder Bremen, Heynckes led Bayern to successive league-titles in 1988/89 and 1989/90. The following season it lost the title to 1.FC Kaiserslautern. But in the extended 1990/91 season following the reunification of Germany, Bayern ended just 5 points above the relegation-zone in 10th position which was its lowest finish in the Bundesliga.
The next couple of years were a barren period for the Bavarian giant until Franz Beckenbauer took charge as manager midway through the 1993/94 season and led his team to the league championship. Beckenbauer was chosen to be the new club president with Italian Giovanni Trapattoni replacing him in the managerial role. But he only lasted a year at the club as Bayern ended 1994/95 in 6th position.
Otto Rehhagel became the manager at the start of the 1995/96 campaign but was dismissed before the end of the campaign as Bayern Lost out on the 1.Bundesliga title to BVB 09 Borussia Dortmund once again. Beckenbauer took over as caretaker-manager of the team and led Bayern München to the UEFA Cup where it defeated French club FC Girondins de Bordeaux 5-1 on aggregate in the final.
Giovanni Trapttoni returned as the manager for the 1996/97 season and this time he was able to drive FC Bayern to the 1.Bundesliga title. However, it was unable to defend its crown losing the champions by 2 points to 1.FC Kaiserslautern, who were a newly promoted side after its relegation from the top-tier a couple of seasons back and was now under the stewardship of Otto Rehhagel.
A New Era
At the beginning of the 1998/99 season, Ottmar Hitzfeld was appointed as the new team boss after he led Borussia Dortmund to 2 league titles and the UEFA Champions League during the mid 90’s. Bayern won the 1.Bundesliga by a 15-point margin and reached the final of the UEFA Champions League where it conceded two late-goals to lose 2-1 against Manchester United at the Camp Nou in Barcelona.
Back to the Top
In 1999/2000, the centenary season of the club, FC Bayern München successfully defended its 1.Bundesliga crown, following a tight tussle with Bayer 04 Leverkusen which was ultimately separated by goal-difference. Bayern had also clinched the DFB-Pokal, defeating SV Werder Bremen 3-0 in the final to complete the 3rd league and cup double in the club’s history.
For the 2001/02 season, Bayern retained its 1.Bundesliga title with a stoppage-time goal on the final day of the season. The Bavarians had already reached the final of the UEFA Champions League once again, setting up a final against Spanish club Valencia CF. Bayern won 5-4 in the penalty-shootout after the game had ended 1-1 in extra-time to end a 25-year drought in Europe’s elite competition.
FC Bayern lost the 1.Bundesliga crown to Borussia Dortmund the following season after finishing in 3rd position. In 2002/03, it returned in phenomenal style winning the league by a record 16 points. The club then went on to win the DFB-Pokal after a 3-1 win over Kaiserslautern in the final. But Hitzfeld departed the club at the end of the 2003/04 campaign as Bayern finished 6 points behind Werder Bremen in the title-race.
Felix Magath was named as the new manager in 2004/05 and Bayern clinched the 1.Bundesliga before lifting the DFB-Pokal with a 2-1 win over Schalke 04 in the final. The club went to complete the double once again in the 2005/06 season, winning the title by 5 points and lifting the DFB-Pokal with a 1-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt to register the 5th double for the club.
But Magath was dismissed in the middle of the 2006/07 campaign as Bayern dropped out of the title-race with Ottmar Hitzfeld coming back as the replacement for his 2nd tenure at the club. Bayern bagged the league-title in 2007/08 and defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 after extra-time to round off yet another double. But Bayern was earlier beaten 0-4 by FC Zenit in the UEFA Cup and Hitzfeld bowed out of the club.
For 2008/09, former Bayern striker Jürgen Klinsmann arrived as the new manager but did not last until the end of the season. The team has handed a resounding defeat by FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League conceding 4 goals in the 1st half of the opening-leg. Jupp Heynckes returned to the club as caretaker-manager but Bayern still lost the league-title to the surprise champions VfL Wolfsburg.
In 2009/10, Louis van Gaal became the new manager and he signed fellow Dutchman Arjen Robben to feature along with Frenchman Franck Ribéry and the two wingers defined the playing style for the next decade. Meanwhile, van Gaal also promoted the youngsters David Alaba and Thomas Müller to first-team and all of these players went to become the crux of the team in the next 10 years.
The Present Era of Dominance
FC Bayern lifted the 2009/10 Bundesliga title but Louis van Gaal was sacked in the following season as it trailed in the league championship and was eliminated in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Bayern eventually ended the season in a disappointing 3rd place.
In 2011/12 Jupp Heynckes was appointed on a 2-year contract for his 3rd at the helm of FC Bayern München. The team finished well behind Borussia Dortmund in the runners-up spot before a heartbreaking penalty-shootout defeat to English club Chelsea FC in the final which was held at the Allianz Arena.
In the 2012/13 campaign, Bayern was on a mission and recovered the 1.Bundesliga title by a 25-point margin setting league-records on the way. It then beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the first all-German UEFA Champions League final at Wembley. Bayern rounded off the first treble in its history by beating VfB Stuttgart 3-2 in the DFB-Pokal final.
For 2013/14, Pep Guardiola took over as manager of the club and Bayern cruised away to the 1.Bundesliga title and defeated Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in the DFB-Pokal final. Bayern poached away star-striker Robert Lewandowski from its rival in the following season and easily retained the league-crown.
Bayern München completed the double for the 2nd time under Pep Guardiola in the 2015/16 season, sealing the league-title once again without much fuss before beating Borussia Dortmund via a penalty-shootout in the DFB-Pokal final. However, Bayern was eliminated in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions for the 3rd consecutive season.
With European honours remaining elusive, Guardiola called time on his 3-year stay and Carlo Ancelloti was brought in as the new manager. Bayern clinched its 5th straight league-title in 2016/17 but with disappointing performances in the cup competitions, Ancelloti was dismissed a few weeks into the following season.
Jupp Heynckes was once again unveiled as the new manager and Bayern romped home with the 1.Bundesliga title in 2017/18. The club retained the league-title under new coach Niko Kovac before beating RB Leipzig 3-0 in the DFB-Pokal final to complete the double but was previously knocked out in the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern made a slow start to 2018/19 and Niko Kovac was relieved of his duties a few months into the season with first-team coach Hansi Flick promoted as the caretaker-manager. Following a remarkable recovery in the team’s form in a short spell of time, Flick was soon handed a permanent contract.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, Bayern returned in sparkling form. It clinched the 1.Bundesliga title before beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in the DFB-Pokal final. Later Bayern München defeated Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 at Lisbon in the UEFA Champions League final to clinch the seasonal treble for the 2nd time in the history.
At the start of the 2020/21 campaign, Bayern picked up the UEFA Super Cup with a 2-1 extra-time win over Sevilla FC. A week later, it defeated Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to lift the DFL-Supercup . The club then went on to take the FIFA Club World Cup for an unprecedented run of 6 straight trophies.
Bayern retained the 1.Bundesliga title in 2020/21 but it suffered an early exit in the DFB-Pokal. Soon after, it was also eliminated in the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League. Meanwhile, Hansi Flick vacated his spot at the end of the season to become manager of the Germany national team.
For the 2021/22 campaign, the young and highly-rated Julian Nagelsmann was named as the new manager of FC Bayern München, joining over from its new rivals RB Leipzig. Bayern secured its 10th consecutive league-title for an unparalleled era of dominance, but it was once again knocked out quite early in the cup competitions.
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