FC Bayern Munchen
Head coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Owners: Adidas (8.33%), Allianz (8.33%) and Audi (8.33%)
President: Herbert Hainer
CEO: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Captain: Manuel Neuer
Stadium: Allianz Arena, Munich
Nicknames: FCB, FC Bayern, Die Roten, Die Bayern
Rivals: Borussia Dortmund, 1860 Munich, FC Nurnberg, Unterhaching, Real Madrid
Fußball-Club Bayern München e. V., commonly known as FC Bayern München, FCB, Bayern Munich, or FC Bayern, is a German professional sports club based in Munich, Bavaria.
It is best known for its professional football team, which plays in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system.
Bayern is the most successful club in German football history, having won a record 31 national titles, including nine consecutively since 2013, and 20 national cups, along with numerous European honours.
FC Bayern Munich was founded in 1900 by 11 football players, led by Franz John. Although Bayern won its first national championship in 1932, the club was not selected for the Bundesliga at its inception in 1963.
The club had its period of greatest success in the mid-1970s when, under the captaincy of Franz Beckenbauer, it won the European Cup three consecutive times (1974–1976).
Overall, Bayern has reached eleven European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals, winning their sixth title in the 2020 final as part of a continental treble, after which it became only the second European club to achieve the continental treble twice.
Bayern has also won one UEFA Cup, one European Cup Winners’ Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups and two Intercontinental Cups, making it one of the most successful European clubs internationally and the only German club to have won both international titles.
By winning the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup, Bayern Munich became only the second club to win the sextuple.
The club has traditional local rivalries with 1860 Munich and 1. FC Nürnberg, as well as with Borussia Dortmund since the mid-1990s.
Since the beginning of the 2005–06 season, Bayern has played its home games at the Allianz Arena. Previously the team had played at Munich’s Olympiastadion for 33 years.
The team colours are red and white, and the crest shows the white and blue flag of Bavaria.
Early years (1900–1965)
FC Bayern Munich was founded by members of a Munich gymnastics club (MTV 1879). When a congregation of members of MTV 1879 decided on 27 February 1900 that the footballers of the club would not be allowed to join the German Football Association (DFB), 11 members of the football division left the congregation and on the same evening founded Fußball-Club Bayern München.
Within a few months, Bayern achieved high-scoring victories against all local rivals, including a 15–0 win against FC Nordstern, and reached the semi-finals of the 1900–01 South German championship. In the following years, the club won some local trophies and in 1910–11 Bayern joined the newly founded “Kreisliga”, the first regional Bavarian league.
The club won this league in its first year but did not win it again until the beginning of World War I in 1914, which halted all football activities in Germany.
By the end of its first decade of founding, Bayern had attracted its first German national team player, Max Gaberl Gablonsky. By 1920, it had over 700 members, making it the largest football club in Munich.
In the years after the war, Bayern won several regional competitions before winning its first South German championship in 1926, an achievement repeated two years later.
Its first national title was gained in 1932, when coach Richard “Little Dombi” Kohn led the team to the German championship by defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 2–0 in the final.
The rise of Adolf Hitler to power put an abrupt end to Bayern’s development. Club president Kurt Landauer and the coach, both of whom were Jewish, left the country.
Many others in the club were also purged. Bayern was taunted as the “Jew’s club” while local rival 1860 Munich gained much support. Josef Sauter, who was inaugurated in 1943, was the only NSDAP member as President.
As some Bayern players greeted Landauer, who was watching a Bayern-friendly in Switzerland, lead to continued discrimination. Bayern was also affected by the ruling that football players had to be full amateurs again, which led to the move of the gifted young centre-forward Oskar Rohr to Switzerland.
In the following years, Bayern could not sustain its role of contender for the national title, achieving mid-table results in its regional league instead.
After the war, Bayern became a member of the Oberliga Süd, the southern conference of the German first division, which was split five ways at that time. Bayern struggled, hiring and firing 13 coaches between 1945 and 1963.
Landauer returned from exile in 1947 and was once again appointed club president, the tenure lasted until 1951. He remains as the club’s president with the longest accumulated tenure.
Landauer has been deemed as the inventor of Bayern as a professional club and his memory is being upheld by the Bayern ultras Schickeria.
In 1955, the club was relegated but returned to the Oberliga in the following season and won the DFB-Pokal for the first time, beating Fortuna Düsseldorf 1–0 in the final.
The club struggled financially, though, verging on bankruptcy at the end of the 1950s. Manufacturer ousted president Reitlinger, who was later convicted for financial irregularities, was ousted in the elections of 1958 by the industrialist Roland Endler.
He provided financial stability for the club. Under his reign, Bayern had its best years in the Oberliga. Endler was no longer a candidate in 1962, when Wilhelm Neudecker, who became wealthy in the postwar construction boom, replaced him.
In 1963, the Oberligas in Germany were consolidated into one national league, the Bundesliga. Five teams from the Oberliga South were admitted.
The key for qualifying for the Bundesliga was the accumulated record of the last twelve years, where Bayern was only the sixth-ranked club. To boot, local rivals TSV 1860 Munich, ranked seventh, were champions of the last Oberliga-Süd season and were given preference on the basis of this achievement.
After initial protests of Bayern for alleged mistreatment remained fruitless, president Neudecker rose to the challenge and hired Zlatko Čajkovski, who in 1962 led 1. FC Köln to the national championship.
Fielding a team with young talents like Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and Sepp Maier – who would later be collectively referred to as the axis, they should achieve promotion to the Bundesliga in 1965.
The golden years (1965–1979)
In their first Bundesliga season, Bayern finished third and also won the DFB-Pokal. This qualified them for the following year’s European Cup Winners’ Cup, which they won in a dramatic final against Scottish club Rangers, when Franz Roth scored the decider in a 1–0 extra time victory.
In 1967, Bayern retained the DFB-Pokal, but slow overall progress saw Branko Zebec take over as coach. He replaced Bayern’s offensive style of play with a more disciplined approach, and in doing so achieved the first league and cup double in Bundesliga history in 1969.
Bayern Munich are one of four German clubs to win the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal in the same season along with Borussia Dortmund, 1. FC Köln and Werder Bremen. Zebec used only 13 players throughout the season.
Udo Lattek took charge in 1970. After winning the DFB-Pokal in his first season, Lattek led Bayern to their third German championship. The deciding match in the 1971–72 season against Schalke 04 was the first match in the new Olympiastadion and was also the first live televised match in Bundesliga history.
Bayern beat Schalke 5–1 and thus claimed the title, also setting several records, including points gained and goals scored. Bayern also won the next two championships, but the zenith was their triumph in the 1974 European Cup Final against Atlético Madrid, which Bayern won 4–0 after a replay.
This title – after winning the Cup Winners’ trophy 1967 and two semi-finals (1968 and 1972) in that competition – marked the club’s breakthrough as a force on the international stage.
During the following years, the team was unsuccessful domestically but defended their European title by defeating Leeds United in the 1975 European Cup Final when Roth and Müller secured victory with late goals.
“We came back into the game and scored two lucky goals, so in the end, we were the winners, but we were very, very lucky”, stated Franz Beckenbauer. Billy Bremner believed the French referee was “very suspicious”.
Leeds fans then rioted in Paris and were banned from European football for three years. A year later in Glasgow, Saint-Étienne were defeated by another Roth goal and Bayern became the third club to win the trophy in three consecutive years.
The final trophy won by Bayern in this era was the Intercontinental Cup, in which they defeated Brazilian club Cruzeiro over two legs. The rest of the decade was a time of change and saw no further titles for Bayern.
In 1977, Franz Beckenbauer left for New York Cosmos and, in 1979, Sepp Maier and Uli Hoeneß retired while Gerd Müller joined the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Bayerndusel was coined during this period as an expression of either contempt or envy about the sometimes narrow and last-minute wins against other teams.
From FC Breitnigge to FC Hollywood (1979–1998)
The 1980s were a period of off-field turmoil for Bayern, with many changes in personnel and financial problems. On the field, Paul Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, termed FC Breitnigge, led the team to Bundesliga titles in 1980 and 1981.
Apart from a DFB-Pokal win in 1982, two relatively unsuccessful seasons followed, after which Breitner retired, and former coach Udo Lattek returned. Bayern won the DFB-Pokal in 1984 and went on to win five Bundesliga championships in six seasons, including a double in 1986.
European success, however, was elusive during the decade. Bayern managed to claim the runners-up spot in the European Cup in 1982 and 1987.
Jupp Heynckes was hired as coach in 1987, but after two consecutive championships in 1988–89 and 1989–90, Bayern’s form dipped. After finishing second in 1990–91, the club finished just five points above the relegation places in 1991–92.
In 1993–94, Bayern was eliminated in the UEFA Cup second round to Premier League side Norwich City, who remain the only English club to beat Bayern at the Olympiastadion.
Success returned when Franz Beckenbauer took over for the second half of the 1993–94 season, winning the championship again after a four-year gap. Beckenbauer was then appointed club president.
His successors as coach, Giovanni Trapattoni and Otto Rehhagel, both finished trophyless after a season, not meeting the club’s high expectations. During this time, Bayern’s players frequently appeared in the gossip pages of the press rather than the sports pages, resulting in the nickname FC Hollywood.
Franz Beckenbauer briefly returned at the end of the 1995–96 season as caretaker coach and led his team to victory in the UEFA Cup, beating Bordeaux in the final. For the 1996–97 season, Trapattoni returned to win the championship. In the following season, Bayern lost the title to newly promoted 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Trapattoni had to take his leave for the second time.
Renewed international success (1998–2007)
After his success at Borussia Dortmund, Bayern were coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld from 1998 to 2004. In Hitzfeld’s first season, Bayern won the Bundesliga and came close to winning the Champions League, losing 2–1 to Manchester United into injury time after leading for most of the match in 1999.
The following year, in the club’s centenary season, Bayern won the third league and cup double in its history. A third consecutive Bundesliga title followed in 2001, won with a stoppage-time goal on the final day of the league season.
Days later, Bayern won the Champions League for the fourth time after a 25-year gap, defeating Valencia on penalties. The 2001–02 season began with a win in the Intercontinental Cup but ended trophyless otherwise.
In 2002–03, Bayern won their fourth double, leading the league by a record margin of 16 points. Hitzfeld’s reign ended in 2004, with Bayern underperforming, including defeat by second division Alemannia Aachen in the DFB-Pokal.
Felix Magath took over and led Bayern to two consecutive doubles. Prior to the start of the 2005–06 season, Bayern moved from the Olympiastadion to the new Allianz Arena, which the club shared with 1860 Munich.
On the field, their performance in 2006–07 was erratic. Trailing in the league and having lost to Alemannia Aachen in the cup yet again, coach Magath was sacked shortly after the winter break.
Hitzfeld returned as a trainer in January 2007, but Bayern finished the 2006–07 season in the fourth position, thus failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in more than a decade. Additional losses in the DFB-Pokal and the DFB-Ligapokal left the club with no honours for the season.
Robbery – Robben and Ribery (2007–2019)
For the 2007–08 season, Bayern made drastic squad changes to help rebuild. They signed a total of eight new players and sold, released or loaned out nine of their players.
Among new signings were 2006 World Cup stars such as Franck Ribéry, Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni. Bayern went on to win the Bundesliga in convincing fashion, leading the standings on every single week of play, and the DFB-Pokal against Borussia Dortmund.
After the season, Bayern’s long-term goalkeeper Oliver Kahn retired, which left the club without a top-tier goalkeeper for several seasons. The club’s coach Ottmar Hitzfeld also retired and Jürgen Klinsmann was chosen as his successor.
However, Klinsmann was sacked even before the end of his first season as Bayern trailed Wolfsburg in the league, had lost the quarterfinal of the DFB-Pokal to Bayer Leverkusen, and had been made look silly in the quarterfinal of the Champions League when FC Barcelona scored four times in the first half of the first leg and over the course of both legs Bayern never looked like they could keep up.
Jupp Heynckes was named caretaker coach and led the club to a second-place finish in the league.
Bayern Munich playing against Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga in September 2011
For the 2009–10 season, Bayern hired Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, and Dutch forward Arjen Robben joined Bayern. Robben, alongside Ribéry, would go on to shape Bayern’s playstyle of attacking over the wings for the next ten years. The press quickly dubbed the duo “Robbery”.
In addition, David Alaba and Thomas Müller were promoted to the first team. With Müller, van Gaal went so far as to proclaim, “With me, Müller always plays,” which has become a much-referenced phrase over the years.
On the pitch Bayern had its most successful season since 2001, securing the domestic double and losing only in the final of the Champions League to Inter Milan 0–2. Despite the successful 2009–10 campaign, van Gaal was fired in April 2011 as Bayern was trailing in the league and eliminated in the first knockout round of the Champions League.
Van Gaal’s second in command, Andries Jonker, took over and finished the season in third place.
Jupp Heynckes returned for his second permanent spell in the 2011–12 season. Although the club had signed Manuel Neuer, ending Bayern’s quest for an adequate substitute for Kahn, and Jérôme Boateng for the season, Bayern remained without a title for the second consecutive season, coming in second to Borussia Dortmund in the league and the cup.
The Champions League final was held at the Allianz and Bayern indeed reached the final in their home stadium but lost the “Finale dahoam” as they had termed it to Chelsea on penalties. For the 2012–13 season, Bayern signed Javi Martínez.
After Bayern had finished as runner-up to all titles in 2011–12, Bayern went on to win all titles in 2012–13, setting various Bundesliga records along the way, and becoming the first German team to win the treble. Bayern finished the Bundesliga on 91 points, only 11 points shy of a perfect season, and to date, still, the best season ever played.
In what was Bayern’s third Champions League final appearance within four years, they beat Borussia Dortmund 2–1. A week later, they completed the treble by winning the DFB-Pokal final over VfB Stuttgart. During the season, in January, Bayern had already announced that they would hire Pep Guardiola as coach for the 2013–14 season.
Originally the club presented this as Heynckes retiring on the expiration of his contract, but Uli Hoeneß later admitted that it was not Heynckes’s decision to leave Bayern at the end of the season. It was actually forced by the club’s desire to appoint Guardiola.
Bayern fulfilled Guardiola’s wish of signing Thiago Alcântara from FC Barcelona and Guardiola’s first season started off well with Bayern extending a streak of undefeated league matches from the last season to 53 matches.
The eventual loss to Augsburg came two matchdays after Bayern had already claimed the league title. During the season, Bayern had also claimed two other titles, the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, the latter being the last major trophy the club had not yet won.
Bayern also won the cup to complete their tenth domestic double, but lost in the semi-final of the Champions League to Real Madrid.
Off the pitch, Bayern’s president Uli Hoeneß was convicted of tax evasion on 13 March 2014 and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. Hoeneß resigned the next day. Vice-president Karl Hopfner was elected president on 2 May.
Before the 2014–15 season, Bayern picked up Robert Lewandowski after his contract had ended at Borussia Dortmund, and loaned out Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid. Bayern also let Toni Kroos leave for Real. Club icons Bastian Schweinsteiger and Claudio Pizarro left before the 2015–16 season.
In these two seasons, Bayern defended their league title, including another double in 2015–16, but failed to advance past the semi-finals in the Champions League. Although the club’s leadership tried to convince Guardiola to stay, the coach decided not to extend his three-year contract.
Carlo Ancelotti was hired as successor to Guardiola. The key transfer for the 2016–17 campaign was Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund. Off the pitch, Uli Hoeneß had been released early from prison and reelected as president in November 2016.
Under Ancelotti, Bayern claimed their fifth consecutive league title, but did not win the cup or the Champions League. In July 2017, Bayern announced that 1860 Munich would leave the Allianz for good as the club had been relegated to the 4th division.
Before the 2017–18 season, Bayern made extensive changes to their squad, signing amongst others young prospects such as Kingsley Coman, Corentin Tolisso, Serge Gnabry and Niklas Süle, and loaning James Rodríguez from Real.
Meanwhile, the club’s captain, Philipp Lahm, and Xabi Alonso retired, and several other players left the club. As Bayern’s performances were perceived to be more and more lacklustre, Ancelotti was sacked after a 0–3 loss to Paris St. Germain in the Champions League, early in his second season.
Willy Sagnol took over as interim manager for a week before it was announced that Jupp Heynckes would finish the season in his fourth spell at the club. During the season, the club urged Heynckes —even publicly— to extend his contract, but Heynckes, aged 73, stayed firm that he would retire for good after the season.
The club began a long and extensive search to find a replacement, and eventually, Niko Kovač was presented as Heynckes’s successor, signing a three-year contract. Heynckes led the club to another championship.
In the cup final, Heynckes’s last match as coach, Heynckes met his successor on the pitch. Kovač’s Eintracht Frankfurt denied Bayern the title, winning 3–1.
Kovač’s first season at the club started slowly, with Bayern falling behind Dortmund in the league throughout the first half of the season. In contrast to similar situations with van Gaal and Ancelotti, the club’s leadership decided to protect their coach from criticisms.
However, after the winter break, Bayern quickly closed the distance and put themselves first-place in the league. In the Champions League, the club was eliminated by Liverpool in the round of 16, the first time since 2011 that Bayern did not reach the quarterfinal. During the season Arjen Robben announced that it would be his last season for the club,
while Uli Hoeneß announced that Franck Ribéry would be leaving at the end of the season. In March 2019, Bayern announced that they had signed Lucas Hernandez from Atlético Madrid for a club and Bundesliga record fee of €80 million.
On 18 May 2019, Bayern won their seventh straight Bundesliga title as they finished two points above second-place Dortmund with 78 points. This Bundesliga title was Ribéry’s ninth and Robben’s eighth.
A week later, Bayern defeated RB Leipzig 3–0 in the 2019 DFB-Pokal Final. With the win, Bayern won their 19th German Cup and completed their 12th domestic double.
Flick era (2019–2021)
Hans-Dieter Flick joined Bayern Munich on 1 July 2019 as an assistant coach. Under Kovač, Bayern was off to a slow start in the league and after a 5–1 loss to Frankfurt, Kovač and Bayern parted ways on 3 November 2019 with Flick being promoted to interim manager.
After a satisfying spell as interim coach, Bayern announced on 22 December 2019 that Flick would remain in charge until the end of season. Bayern’s performances on the pitch picked up noticeably and in April 2020, the club agreed with Flick to a new permanent contract through 2023.
Under Flick the club won the league, having played the most successful leg of a Bundesliga season in history, and went on to claim the cup, thus completing the club’s 13th domestic double. In the Champions League, Bayern reached their first final since 2013, en route beating FC Barcelona 8–2 in the quarter-finals and Lyon 3–0 in the semi-final.
In the final, which was held in Lisbon behind closed doors due to the severity of COVID-19 pandemic, they defeated Paris Saint-Germain 1–0. Former PSG player Kingsley Coman scored the only goal of the match. With the victory, they became the second European club to complete the continental treble in two different seasons, matching the 2014–15 FC Barcelona team.
After a short break, Bayern started the new season by winning the UEFA Super Cup for the second time in their history. In a closely contested match, Bayern defeated Sevilla 2–1 after extra time, with Javi Martínez scoring the winning goal.
In February 2021, they won the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup (postponed from December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic) after defeating African champions Al Ahly SC 2–0 by a brace from Robert Lewandowski, and then winning in the final against Mexican team Tigres UANL 1–0 after a goal from Benjamin Pavard and became only the second club to win the sextuple, after Barcelona won it in 2009.