Created on 11-03-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern’s Asian promotional drive has already featured visits to Japan and China, and is now set to incorporate Indonesia and India on a ten-day post-season tour of the region, the club announced on Tuesday. The aim is to drive awareness of and affinity to the German Bundesliga in general and the Bayern Munich brand in particular.
On 17 May, a day after the final Bundesliga match of the season against Hertha BSC Berlin, a Bayern delegation will set off for Jakarta ready for a friendly match against the Indonesian national team three days later. The Munich party then moves on to China for the Allianz Cup return leg against the Chinese Olympic football team in Guangzhou on 24 May, before a third and final exhibition match in India on 27 May against Mohan Bagun AC, the oldest club in Asia.
“We’re delighted that Bayern will play on 27 May in Kolkata [Calcutta],” commented Indian Consul General J.S. Mukul at a news conference in Munich on Tuesday. “Bayern will attract a great deal of attention in India and bring a new dimension to the Bavarian-Indian relationship. This is the beginning of a good footballing partnership between India and Bayern.“
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed delight at the ten-day tour of the region. “We see ourselves as a global club, desiring and requiring an overseas presence. This is a one-off opportunity to visit three of the biggest countries in the world,” Rummenigge commented. Compared to previous years, when Bayern visited Asia shortly before the domestic season, a post-season trip would be “a pleasant bonus.”
Kahn’s final match as a pro
A clutch of Bayern’s internationals will be away at the Euro 2008 tournament in Switzerland and Austria, but Rummenigge promised the club would field “a high-quality team”, featuring the likes of Mark van Bommel, Martin Demichelis, Lucio, Zé Roberto, Daniel van Buyten and Andreas Ottl, together with captain Oliver Kahn, set for his final match as a professional in Kolkata.
“Any European footballer would dream of the setting Oliver Kahn will have for his last match,” commented Kumar Sankar Bagchi, managing director of Bayern’s hosts in India, Bengal Peerless Group. The match will be staged at the Salt Lake stadium, the second-biggest arena in the world, in front of a crowd likely to be at or near the 120,000 capacity.
Apart from the three friendlies, the Bayern stars will undertake a range of other activities away from the field of play. “Our objective is not simply to play an exhibition match and collect our fee. We want to contribute to the development of the game,” Rummenigge advised. “Our aim is to build partnerships over and above the friendly character of the match.“
One plan is to hold training sessions for kids and youths together with the stars and led by Ottmar Hitzfeld and Michael Henke. Exceptionally talented youngsters my be invited to the FC Bayern Football School in Rust for further skills training supervised by qualified coaches.