FC Bayern Campus: the new conveyor belt of talent

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The FC Bayern U-19s progressed to the German championship final on Tuesday evening, when they turned in an impressive display against Schalke in Wattenscheid. Less than 24 hours later, the new sporting home for the FCB youth teams and the women’s teams was officially unveiled. FC Bayern Campus is the name of the new academy which will house these teams from 1 August.

“Today is a wonderful day,” declared chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on Wednesday as the name of the academy was officially announced. With the U-19s in the final, the U-17s in the semi-finals and the new academy about to open, Rummenigge added: “It’s proof that you don’t have to start things from scratch, that there’s something positive running through the club.”

Alongside Rummenigge at the presentation of the new FC Bayern Campus were deputy chairman Jan-Christian Dreesden, the executive committee of FC Bayern München eV of Uli Hoeneß, Prof. Dr. Dieter Mayer and Walter Mennekes, former chairman and president Karl Hopfner as well as the two people in charge of the new academy, Jochen Sauer and Hermann Gerland.

“It’s been our dream for many years to have, like lots of big clubs around the world, our own academy, a Bayern München campus. Now it’s almost complete,” said Hoeneß, who is excited about the record champions’ new academy. Since building work began in October, eight football pitches (two of them artificial), a multi-purpose sports hall, the youth academy and a clubhouse with office space have been built on the 30-hectar campus.

“What you can see here today can make us all feel proud,” stressed Hoeneß. “The staff have an infrastructure better than any other.” Jochen Sauer, the new head of the academy, also spoke of an “impressive infrastructure,” while his counterpart on the football side, Hermann Gerland, sees “phenomenal conditions” for producing future young players.

The building work for the €70 million project is due to be completed at the end of July, ready for the academy to “open as planned on 1 August,” according to Hopfner. The construction of the new talent factory began under Hopfner’s presidency, and he oversaw the completion of the project even after Hoeneß succeeded him as president.

As first vice-president responsible for the finances of FC Bayern München eV, Prof. Dr. Dieter Mayer highlighted that the planned building costs are “within budget”. And Walter Mennekes, who as second vice-president will take over responsibility for the new campus, said: “We’re in the fast lane with this campus. It’s a building block, if not THE building block, in FC Bayern’s sustainability.”

The professional players of tomorrow are to be nurtured at the FC Bayern Campus, so that more homegrown talent can make it into the first team like David Alaba did seven years ago. “We’re doing everything here to be more successful in the future,” said Hoeneß. However they all agreed unanimously that everyone will have to have “a bit of patience”, as Rummenigge put it. “The players don’t grow on trees,” remarked Gerland. Rummenigge also expressed his “complete faith” in Gerland and Sauer. “We’re on the right track.”

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