Created on 20-05-2008 at 00:00 AM
A knot of some 100 fans at the airport, around 15 camera crews and a swarm of scooters accompanying the bus to the team hotel represented a warm and thoroughly friendly welcome for the Bayern touring party after their arrival in Jakarta on Tuesday morning. Some fifteen and a half hours after taking off in Munich, the charter flight bearing the freshly-crowned German double winners landed punctually at 7.30 am local time (2.30 in the European morning) in the Indonesian capital.
Some 11,000 kilometres from home, the squad's first impression of the sprawling metropolis of 18 million was the extreme climate. The air temperature was already 25 degrees in the early morning, with humidity levels approaching 90 percent. However, the warmth of the welcome from the fans meant the first few beads of sweat were soon forgotten.
Spotlight on Kahn
"We had a very friendly reception at the airport. It's obvious we have plenty of fans here," commented a delighted Oliver Kahn, unquestionably the centre of attention in Indonesia. Oliver Kahn, ich liebe dich (I love you) read a banner, while the Bayern captain was respectfully addressed as "Herr Oliver Kahn“ or "Mister Oliver Kahn“ at a tour launch news conference. The keeper has enjoyed idol status in Asia since his heroics at the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.
Some 100 reporters and 20 camera-wielding photographers appeared at every turn, doggedly pursuing a few personal words from Kahn shortly before the end of his career. However, Uli Hoeneß and Ottmar Hitzfeld, whose tearful farewell on Saturday received wide coverage in Indonesia, were much sought-after by the media throng.
"We're delighted to be here," observed Hoeneß, answering questions on the purpose of the post-season tour. The objective is to promote the Bundesliga and Bayern in Asia, the general manager explained, and Indonesia with its 230 million population was a vital starting point. "We're aware of the popularity of football here,“ he remarked. Hoeneß now knows that this applies to Bayern as well.