Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Bayern Philosophy

A common stereotype about Germany's most successful club is that they buy their way to titles, steal the best players from other squads and make the league impotent to fight back. Many consider them to be the bundesliga equivalent of Chelsea or Manchester City.
But while the millions Bayern may have splashed out in buying the likes of Neuer, Gomez, Ribery or Robben, money alone is by no means the whole story behind Bayern's success over the years. A rather more unsung part of Bayern's storied history, is their ability to breed and stick with the talent that emerges from their own youth academy. It more often happens that Bayern field more homegrown players than any other team in the league. A routine five members of Bayern's starting eleven and nearly seven players from the entire squad cut their teeth in Munich's Grunwalder stadium, where Bayern's developmental squad play their home matches. Together Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm, Toni Kroos, Diego Contento, Thomas Muller, Holger Badstuber and David Alaba alone have an estimated transfer value of around 145 million euros. That's arguably worth more than any other entire squad in the league and only slightly less than what Bayern paid to acquire the rest of their squad.
Bayern's success is based on using their enormous wealth to add players of extreme worth to a core of already high value home grown players. In recent years the winner of the Salad Bowl has had a great influence of youth in their squad. Be it Dortmund in recent years with Gotze, Grosskreutz, Schmelzer, Sahin or a Stuttgart side with Gomez, Hildebrand, Tasci, Gentner, Khedira. (Wolfsburg being an exception).
Some of Bayern youth products to leave and make it big elsewhere include the likes of Owen Hargreves, Mat Hummels, Alou Diarra, David Jarolim, Paulo Guerrero, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Denis Yilmaz, Stefan Wessels Piotr Trochowski, Markus Babble and many others to name.
In the past, Bayern's policy was to bring in young talented players for cheap. The reason for Bayern's enormous wealth and its glory years of the 70's itself came from breeding talented youngsters. Be it Beckenbaur, Maier, Muller, Roth or Schwarzenbeck, all these players joined Bayern at the ripe age of the 16-19. These teenagers would one day form the core of a really good side that would go on to dominate the country and the world.
One may say that it has always been Bayern to break the banks, but the truth is that even during Bayern's most successful years, it was the other clubs that spent big. Tagged as the 'million mark side' Werder Bremen during the 71-72 season signed five established players. These players managed to score 37 goals between them. Bayern's Gerd Muller alone scored 40 goals in a record breaking season. Even Bayern's biggest rivals during the 70's, Monchengladbach purchased matured players in the likes of Ludwig Muller, Ulrik Lefavre, Henning Jenson, Allan Simonsen and many others. Bayern on the other hand signed relatively unknown youngsters in Uli Hoeness, Paul Britner or even a Karl Heinze Rummenigge. KHR was signed for a sum of 175,000DM. Inter later paid around 11 million although rumours say close to 18million.
Mario Gomez may be Germany's record transfer so far, but however if you look at the past it was the other clubs that spent huge. It was Cologne that broke the million mark for the Belgian Roger Van Gool in 1976, followed by Hamburg for Kevin Keegan in 1977, then Frankfurt Lajos Detari breaking the 5million Mark in 1987. Dortmund broke the 10million Mark for Heiko Herrlich in 1995 and Leverkusen were the first to pay more than 15million for the transfer of Lucio in 2000. While Bayern may buy players from other clubs In the same league, it pays more than the surplus requirement, as seen in the cases of Gomez or Neuer. Also acting as the good Samaritan to other clubs in any financial matters.
Bayern did not expand their empire by money, or atleast not buy money alone. Smart transfers, a good business management (Bayern were the leagues first team to appoint a business manager in 1966) and most importantly a coveted youth structure together led to their success all over the years. A debt free institution and a role model for many clubs to follow.

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