Superfan Thomas Haeussler fan FC Bayern

Country roads - Portrait of a superfan

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Thomas Häussler travels a lot for FC Bayern. In late 2022 more than ever. '51' accompanied the superfan on his travels during six consecutive weeks of midweek games, from Munich via Barcelona to Gelsenkirchen. The journey is the destination.

Thomas Häussler is actually a tough cookie – at least that’s what he says about himself. But on the day after the last of 13 games in six weeks, he’s pretty knackered. Admittedly, the Lower Franconian did return from the away match at Schalke with a hangover, but a look at his car gives him a real headache. There’s a long scratch on one side of the vehicle. “Annoying,” Häussler grumbles. “Someone must have hit it when I was parking at the stadium.” But never mind. It's the football break now anyway. Time to repair the car, time to recover for Häussler. “It’s certainly been exhausting,” he says, reflecting on the last stretch of the year as a Bayern fan. “It’s been a marathon, really awesome.” But if anyone can endure it, it's Thomas Häussler.

Haeussler Chamions League trophy
Cup expert: Häussler has witnessed five Champions League finals live. In 2020 he was in front of the TV due to the pandemic: "That was daft."

The 56-year-old from Schweinfurt is a so-called "Allesfahrer", or superfan. He goes to every Bayern match, whether it's Champions League, Bundesliga, DFB Cup, Supercup or Club World Cup. He's even there at training camps and on every Audi Summer Tour. Why does he do it? "It just happened," Häussler says. The visits to the stadium, the travelling, the rhythm of FC Bayern – it all merges with his own life. "It's like an addiction," he explains. "I'll do it until I no longer can."

Watching a Bayern game on television is the worst. It does nothing at all for me.

Thomas Haeussler

Quick stopover for Mickie Krause

One morning in mid-October, Häussler drives onto the motorway. His car is actually a small bus, with room for eight people. He bought it specially. Seven people are on their way to Pilsen. 310 kilometres, a three-hour drive. “Something different again. I‘ve been to Madrid and Barcelona umpteen times before,” he says. He’s only been to Pilsen once, in 2013, also with Bayern. This time he’s staying for two nights, hoping to explore the city with his mates the day after the game. Particularly with trips in the Champions League, Häussler likes to see more than just the stadium. Similarly, two weeks later in Barcelona, it’s not just about football. He flies out to Mallorca on the day before, this time as part of a group of 14. Catch some sun by the pool and then off to the ‘Megapark’ in the evening to see Mickie Krause. Then it’s back to Barcelona the next day for a tour of the city and the game in the evening, before returning home the following day. All the organisation “is a bit stressful”, admits Häussler, but he’s a seasoned pro when it comes to travelling. He organises the hotels, flights, route plans and if necessary visas all by himself. At least he doesn’t have to stress about the tickets for the match, as he holds a season ticket for the Allianz Arena as well as an away season ticket.

FC Bayern superfan
Always keep going: Superfan Häussler attends every FC Bayern match, no matter where it is.

Häussler is constantly on the road. By car, plane, from one stadium to the next. Going from A to B is kind of his thing, professionally too. He works – of course – for a logistics company. He manages to reconcile his job and Bayern well, even if it hurts at times. “If you can celebrate in the evening, then you can work in the morning” is his motto. He says he doesn't want to be accused of letting his job suffer because of his passion for Bayern. And that's why he's back at work at six the next morning after a Champions League home game. “It's tough, but you have to get through it. I'm never sick either, that would be unfair to my colleagues.” He only takes time off for away outings in the Champions League (and training camp visits). He sometimes sacrifices his annual leave for his passion. What does his girlfriend make of it? “It’s not always easy for her,” acknowledges Häussler. “She’s not a big football fan.“ Nevertheless, she frequently goes with him. “That’s always nice. She doesn’t have to come to the stadium. Sometimes the girls prefer to go shopping.“

Departure: Travelling to Gelsenkirchen as eight. It's more fun in a group.

Häussler never travels alone. He’s always got friends to go with him. There was just one exception to that. “Last year in Berlin,” he explains. “Driving 440 kilometres on your own is no fun.” It’s not just about watching football, but especially about experiencing football together with others. Only then does it become a celebration. For Häussler it’s always been like that. In April 1981, he visited the Olympiastadion for the first time aged 15. He still remembers it exactly: Bayern against Liverpool, 80,000 spectators, Rummenigge scored the equaliser shortly before the end. “That was crazy,“ he still raves today. A Rummenigge shirt with the number 11 on the back, which his dad gave him for Christmas, was his most prized possession back then. “I wore it day and night.” He still has it, “although it doesn’t fit anymore“, he grins. The same goes for the denim jacket with the big Bayern badge on the back, with which he pilgrimaged to the stadium for years. Häussler, a Bayern fan since birth, has kept everything. All the jerseys from the last 30 years hang framed at his home. He even had a Champions League trophy made for him, in England. “It’s a replica, but it looks like the original. Everyone likes being able to hold it in their hands.”

FC Bayern fans superfans
Red network: “Bayern has given me a lot of friends,” says Häussler. All around the world.

The smallest in the Polo

When you call Häussler, you know right away that you’re talking to a big Bayern fan. Instead of the usual "tuut, tuut", you hear the "Star of the South". He has countless photos stored on his mobile phone: him with Franz Beckenbauer, Hansi Flick, Xabi Alonso. Of course, Häussler is also in a fan club, “Gulp Dittelbrunn ‘82’”. “There are only 35 of us because we only want members who go to the games,” he says. “We are not a regulars' club, we want to go to the football, we want to go to FC Bayern. In the past, seven of us went to Munich in a small Polo – because I was the smallest, I always sat in the back on the floor. Unimaginable nowadays.” It was in the fan club that his hardcore devotion began. At some point – it's impossible to say exactly when – it became normal for him to always be there. He only missed one game in all these years. “Wolfsburg away, in the depths of winter. We got stuck on the motorway near Kassel, everything was iced over. So we watched the game in a pub.” Out of necessity, because Häussler can’t actually stand watching football on television. “It’s the worst,” he says. “It does nothing at all for me.” It lacks the atmosphere, the communal feeling of being out with your mates. During the pandemic, he was forced to watch the behind-closed-doors games on TV. “I had no other choice,” he says. “Watching a Champions League final on TV, that was daft. Luckily we won at least.”

I'm already looking forward to it starting again in January.

Thomas Häussler

Reeperbahn and Cape Town

Luckily Häussler has largely had experiences which he looks back on fondly. 2001, for example: first there was the dramatic finale in the Bundesliga, when Patrik Andersson fired Bayern to the title in stoppage time (“We tore up the Reeperbahn that day!”), then a few days later the Champions League triumph in Milan. “You were tipsy for a week,” Häussler says laughing. He also talks enthusiastically about the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Again he was in attendance, like he is at all major tournaments involving the German national team. “South Africa was awesome. The country, the nature, the national parks, Cape Town… In three weeks we visited all 10 World Cup stadiums.” Over time, he’s made contacts almost everywhere in the world. “I’ve met so many nice people and made friends. Bayern is just a massive family.”

Fans FC Bayern Schalke
Up in the stands: Schalke was Häussler's last trip of 2022. In January it will all start again.

It’s now mid-November. Häussler travels to Gelsenkirchen with seven friends, a 370-kilometre journey each way. After merrily celebrating the 2-0 win at Schalke, they’re back in Schweinfurt at two in the morning. Häussler has clocked up 13 games and almost 10,000 kilometres in the space of six weeks. When it started in late September after the international break, Bayern were fifth in the Bundesliga table, five points off first. Now the club are four points clear at the top. It’s been like a rally – with superfan Häussler, who used to sit on the floor in the Polo, sat in the boot. He went through every bump, every up and down. Now he’s having a breather. “I am glad there’s a break now. I don’t often say that, but I am exhausted.“

He won’t be back to it until January – Häussler is giving the World Cup a miss this time. During the tournament, he’ll be on a cruise from Tenerife to the Cape Verde Islands. It’s more important for him to spend some time with his girlfriend. “But I'm already looking forward to it starting again in January.”

© Photos: Sebastian Lock

In part 1 of the Fan Stories, Bayern fan Toni tells of his nicest experiences at the Allianz Arena and what the fascination of Bayern Munich means to him personally:

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