Bayern fulfil fans’ dreams in Houston
Right in the centre of Houston, Texas, you could suddenly hear loud chants -- in German. "Super Bayern, super Bayern!" or "ein Schuss, ein Tor, die Bayern!" (one shot, one goal, Bayern!) echoed through the muggy air. You can't miss it: the record German champions are in town. As part of their stop during the Audi Summer Tour 2019, Bayern hosted a fan party before the game against Real Madrid at Little Woodrow's Midtown, on the appropriately named Braz(z)os Street -- and over 500 FCB supporters took up the invitation.
They passed the time until kick-off with games, music and lots of conversations about their favourite club. One of them is 11-year-old Nicholas Kiehn. The ardent Bayern fan was given the trip as a surprise birthday present from his parents a few days ago and thus embarked on the long journey from Austin to Houston with his brother Sebastian along with mum and dad Deedee and René. Wearing his Bayern shirt, he raves about the record champions and is already looking forward to seeing his idol Robert Lewandowski live that evening.
Chance to watch the team
It's similar for his father, who grew up in Berlin and was a big fan of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as a child. That's how he fell in love with FCB and nothing has changed, despite his move across the pond. The passion remains unbroken and has been handed down to his sons. They wake up together at half-past eight every Saturday morning to watch the Bundesliga. "Sometimes I oversleep, though," admits Nicholas, who plays football himself. With the game in Houston, they can cheer on the team at a better hour of the day -- and best of all, in the flesh. That's why many fans like the Kiehns have travelled many miles to be at the party with supporters from Costa Rica, Mexico and all areas of the States.
For Houston resident Scott Schroder, it's a shorter journey. As his family have roots in Cottbus, he's always had a soft spot for German football and especially for Bayern. "My favourite player to this day is Mehmet Scholl!" says the 25-year-old. "He scored wonderful goals and always did the business against 1860 [Munich] in particular," he added. When speaking to him, it's clear that Schroder knows pretty much everything about the team from Säbener Straße.
Big crowds at stadium
He even flies to Germany several times a year to attend games at the Allianz Arena. When he heard that the Reds were coming to his home city, he says: "I could never have imagined it. When I was a kid, Bayern never came to the USA. Normally I have to travel a long way and now I can drive to the stadium," he explains excitedly.
A short while later, it's over to the NRG Stadium. Outside, fans had the chance to have their photo taken with Bayern legends Lothar Matthäus and Giovane Elber as well as the Bundesliga trophy. The queue stretched over the entire forecourt. David Hess and his father Nolan were among them and couldn't wait to meet the former stars. "My first kit was a Lothar Matthäus one. It's incredible to meet him here," enthused Nolan, who lives in Houston and gave his heart to FCB as a child. For his son, there was no choice.
United by colours
"I've not been to the Allianz Arena yet, so I had to come to this," says David, who flew from Cincinnati. With them in the queue for the photo opportunity is Brendan Morgan. They've never met before, but they have a lively chat about the one thing that connects them. Morgan comes from Alabama and even set up a Bayern fan club there. "I knew there are lots of Bayern fans in the USA, but it's very impressive to see just how many there are," he says.
The supporters then gave it everything during the game against Real Madrid and roared their team onto a magnificent 3-1 win, with Lewandowski's goal delighting young Nicholas. The Reds made the right decision by stopping in the Texas city. Already upon arrival at the hotel, numerous fans waited and warmly welcomed the German record champions. FCB now have 150 fan clubs in the USA and thanks to the Audi Summer Tour, these members have the chance to experience their team up close - and spread Bavarian songs through the streets.