Farewell, a duet and lots of emotions
Munich venue Postpalast provided a festival setting for FC Bayern's internal championship party, the tables decorated, the glasses brightly polished. A waterfall flowed down on a round stage in the middle of the room, with pictures of the season projected onto the water. Everything was set for a "party worthy of the name," as chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge promised in his address.
"We've certainly had a great day," Rummenigge added. After the clear-cut 4-1 victory over SC Freiburg the Bavarians were presented with the championship shield and unleashed the traditional Weißbier showers at the sold-out Allianz Arena before celebrating with 15,000 fans on the Town Hall balcony in Munich's Marienplatz. Rummenigge officially bade farewell to captain Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso and Tom Starke in an emotional moment.
Precursor to paradise
"I'd like to thank you," said Rummenigge, praising the trio. Starke is "a great keeper and an easy-going and relaxed guy," according the the FC Bayern chairman, whereas Alonso is "a gentleman of football, a metronome on the pitch. When he had the ball he orchestrated the match like a footballing Karajan." And of course Rummenigge praised Lahm: "A man who's achieved outstanding things. A superb captain, a superb player. I'll miss Philipp." The trio were greeted with long standing ovations.
Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer was among the 500 guests. "I've often said the Free State of Bavaria is the precursor to paradise. There are many reasons for that, and one of the central ones is FC Bayern," declared Seehofer in his address. He called the club a "global brand and one of the most important ambassadors of the Free State" and praised Philipp Lahm as "one of the greatest personalities German football has ever produced."
Music at Champions League level
Along with Seehofer, the VIP guests included the entire executive board, the club committee and the FC Bayern advisory board. On behalf of the German Football League (DFL) president Dr Reinhard Rauball and CEO Christian Seifert attended the party. They were joined by numerous FCB legends like Luca Toni, Giovane Elber, former sporting director Matthias Sammer as well as the champions' partners and sponsors. They all experienced an emotional and harmonious evening.
The guests enjoyed tomato soup, beef filet and asparagus, and the music between courses was at Champions League level. Famous Munich tenor Jonas Kaufmann had joined the guests from London to sing an FC Bayern version of the song Du bist die Welt für mich (You're everything to me) taken from Richard Tauber's opera Der Singende Traum (The singing dream). Kaufmann sent shivers down the audience's spine and received a standing ovation in return.
Ancelotti's duet with Anastacia
Pop star Alvaro Soler fueled the party mood, with Javi Martínez and Rafinha taking to the stage immediately. US star Anastacia, who had already rocked the Allianz Arena during half-time in the match against Freiburg, completed a wonderfully entertaining evening. A duet with Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti, who had already shone as a singer on the Town Hall balcony, was the highlight of the evening.
"Many thanks to the club. I've found a great club with fantastic players," concluded the Italian, who has now won a title in each of the top five European leagues. "We've all done a superb job this year, we've been very professional. I'm very pleased to be here. I've found a family. I think we'll win more titles with this family if we continue like this."
Lahm bids farewell
Skipper Philipp Lahm celebrated his last title as a pro on Saturday, looking back on his time: "I've received a lot in return, not only today, but throughout my career. Not only from the fans, but also from teammates, coaches and many legends I've had the honour to play with. I'd never imagined I'd win the championship, it was like a dream. And this dream is better than everything I set out to achieve. There's a song, it's called 'Amoi seg' ma uns wieder' (We'll meet again some day). I have to take a step back now and let all the experiences I've had sink in. What comes next - I don't know."