Why Purists and Football Romantics Should Hope for a Bayern Munich Win Against Manchester City

Bayern Munich and Manchester City are two clubs that could hardly be more distinct from one another. Bayern’s rise as a European giant with a tradition steeped in history after generations of hard work, success and self ownership that led to the identity they possess today is a sharp contrast in comparison to the drastic and artificially-induced rise of nouveau riche Manchester City.

The current English giants were a largely inconspicuous outfit prior to the Arab takeover in 2008. The Manchester side spent time in the second and even third tiers of English football as recently as the 90s before eventually regaining their Premier League status in 2000. After a decade of bottom-table obscurity, Manchester City were finally blessed as the Abu Dhabi United Group took over the club in 2008. The takeover could not have come at a better time as The Citizens were in a financially precarious position under previous owner Thaksin Shinawatra whose assets were frozen as a result of his unfavorable political circumstances. The massive injection of outside cash by the mighty Sheikh took the lowly Manchester outfit to dizzying heights as four years of heavy splurging finally culminated in a thrilling Premier League title win at the end of the 2011-12 season. It was an overnight rags to riches story for the Citizens as their new Arab owners had successfully bought them their first ever Premier League title since 1968. Despite this thrilling rise of City, there seems to be a certain lack of authenticity about the club that so willingly sold its soul for riches.

Bayern, on the other hand, possess a strong identity due to its vast history replete with famous victories, honors and regional roots. Nestled in the heart of Bavaria in Munich, Bayern first experienced their first golden years from 1965 to 1979. It was within this period where the legendary trio of Sepp Maier, Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer arrived on the scene and formed ‘the Axis’. The Bavarians went on to create history by winning three Champions League titles in a row and also many other trophies. The golden era of the 70s was followed by the ‘Breitnigge era’ as current board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner lead Bayern to several more successes in the eighties. For all their past successes, Bayern most recently added to their illustrious history by becoming the first ever German team to win the treble. The feat was an astounding achievement and with the arrival of Pep Guardiola, Bayern seek to cement their spot as the best football club in Europe. What makes Bayern’s successes over the years all the more impressive is the fact that they have managed to grow into a European giant despite the stringent financial rules of the Bundesliga.

The 50+1 rule in Germany prevents foreign owners having more than a 50% stake in a club, and therefore vastly curbs the spending power of clubs due to the prevention of any takeovers. While the rule may seem to be a setback, it enabled clubs to grow organically due to the necessity of shrewd and sound financial management and reliance on youth development. Bayern were able to maximize their potential as they managed to retain their players and place them within the hierarchy of the club after retirement. The creation of this ‘family’ structure at Bayern has greatly contributed to the success today. Current Chairman Rummenigge and President Uli Hoeness were former Bayern players while other Bayern legends such as Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and Maier were all involved as coaches and possess a place in the Bayern family until this day. Bayern’s efficient model saw them become financially successful and self-sufficient without any foreign benefactor unlike the fortuitous path enjoyed by Manchester City.

Another consequence of Bayern’s structure is the reliance on homegrown talent. Bayern boast their own fair share of foreign stars but also contain the core of the German national team. Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and Holger Badstuber are all products of Bayern’s youth system. Aside from Kroos, the aforementioned players are Bavarian as well. As a result the first team squad retains not only a significant German presence but also has a strong local feel. Manchester City, in contrast, are hardly similar. Manuel Pellegrini’s starting lineup against Manchester United last week had only one English player on the pitch in the form of keeper Joe Hart. Aside from the fact that Manchester City are from Manchester, there was hardly anything even remotely English about the English side that so emphatically rolled over Manchester United last week. With the occurrence of such patterns in England’s top flight, the Three Lion’s struggles against the likes of Ukraine and Montenegro in the international arena hardly come as a surprise.

While the path of the English game looks rather grave, the same cannot be said for Manchester City. Despite winning the Premier League title in 2012, a season of relative mediocrity and defensiveness under Mancini saw him getting sacked in order to make way for the more attack-minded Manuel Pellegrini. Under ‘The Engineer,’ Manchester City finally have their squad playing closer to their potential as their collection of expensive foreigners that dominated Manchester United in an emphatic 4-1 victory that was well worth the amount of their collective price tags. Despite slip ups against Cardiff and Aston Villa, this City side seem to have a penchant for raising their game at home and especially against top quality sides. While Bayern finally show signs of clicking under Guardiola, it remains to be seen whether the skilled yet tiny captain Phillip Lahm, a full back by trade, can maintain his fine performances so far in the unfamiliar role of defensive midfielder against the likes of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho.

A tantalizing clash awaits audiences across Europe on Wednesday evening. A club that has worked over decades to gain its reputation, create history and earn its fortunes square up against a rather ordinary entity that has enjoyed the great luck of inheriting its wealth and subsequent path to fame under hilariously fortuitous circumstances. The Steve Jobs and Paris Hilton of football are set to face off. Both have their fare share of riches. Both have their legions of fans. But the purists and football romantics will be hoping for only one winner on Wednesday night.

Editor’s note: For viewers in the United States, the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City and Bayern Munich will be shown live on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer 2Go at 2:45pm ET.

56 thoughts on “Why Purists and Football Romantics Should Hope for a Bayern Munich Win Against Manchester City”

  1. This article is complete garbage. Such a bias view. Who cares where City got their players? You are beating such a dead horse. Get over it. What I want is an entertaining game, bottom line. I want it to be free-flowing and interesting. And NO, I am not a City fan. So what you are also saying is that if someone wants City to win, they are not a purist and football romantic? How about the rooting for the underdog mentality? City is a definite underdog against mighty Bayern. Just awful article….

        1. Half the articles on this site are from bias opinions of fanboys. Do you comment on each of them that their article is garbage & awful? If not, why?

          I don’t agree with the authors opinions, but it is well written, his stated facts & statistics seem to be correct, and he has stated an opinion.

          I’m thinking your complaints may be misguided. Possibly you should voice complaint to the site’s administrator for posting so many op-ed articles. Myself, I have no problem with them.

          Good day.

          1. I have no problem with well-written articles that provide content which furthers the discussion of football. This is a marginal viewpoint which contains far too much hypocrisy and imbalance compared to what’s usually a good array of content on WST. It’s designed to have a controversial headline which will attract readers and hits, but I assure you I will not re-read this article a third time (I read it originally, then again to confirm that I hadn’t imagined it). I will return to the comments section to voice my legitimate displeasure, however, and I suspect I am not the only one, judging on the thumbs up and down of other comments and the opinions of other commenters.

  2. This narrative of City buying their title is so tired and worn out. All clubs buy talent. City was taken over and was completely rebuilt from the talent on the field to the academy off the field. The project succeeded ahead of time when they won the title.

    Has Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Barca, Real Madrid all not bought talent? I realize they don’t field starting 11’s full of transfers but you have to begin somewhere. I suppose people would rather let the big clubs just continue to dominate rather than be challenged unless it was done by means they can justify.

    I’ll never understand this soreness people have with City being jumpstarted by wealthy owners who have shown nothing but the best of intentions by building the club on every level.

    If you were a supporter of a Fulham or Sunderland or any of the lower clubs and had the club bought by owners like ours you’d be over the moon. It’s past time to find a new narrative.

    1. Aren’t Borussia Dortmund an Bayern an example of teams that have acquired cash by themselves and are successful under financial restrictions?

      Dortmund are the ultimate proof that you don’t need a Sugar Daddy and buckets of cash to succeed. This whole narrative about financial fairplay holding teams back is all nonsense.

      1. It isn’t nonsense. Dortmund has a MASSIVE stadium and have won a European championship and 7 or 8 Bundesliga titles or something? The fact they were on the outs due to poor financial management doesn’t mean they’re some newboy. They are historically successful and the size of their stadium allows for significant revenue creation.

        No completely mid table team will ever challenge for the top in the future because they will not have the ability to bring in enough wealth without significant outside investment. The rich will just get richer.

        1. “No completely mid table team will ever challenge for the top in the future because they will not have the ability to bring in enough wealth without significant outside investment.”

          Dortmund WERE a mid table team prior to 2008.

      2. No it is not nonsense. You have a non existent grasp of the reality of European football.

        Since the vast amount of money that has come into the game it is by and large, the same teams who perform well in the Champions league. That is not because god ordains that they always do well, it is because they have money from already being successful. No other team will break into this cosy little cartel without money to play great players. But they will not be allowed to do this. Thus the top teams stay at the top and the rest do not have a chance to join them.

        Please stop showing yourself up.

  3. Interesting piece though I must say Bayern has a very unhealthy sense of entitlement which includes taking players from every other German club once they become a challenge and helping to concoct rules that protect their hegemony and eliminate the possibility of threats. From my vantage point Chelsea’s victory over Bayern in 2012 was a victory for football and the concept of openness we embrace. Under the rules Bayern’s brass has advocated the same 5-7 clubs would dominate Europe and European leagues every single season. How interesting and “fair” is that?

    1. Concoct rules? What rules? Bayern haven’t concocted anything. The Bundesliga’s financial rules were set in stone from its inception. Bayern failed to get other talents from domestic rivals like Marco Reus, Lars Bender and Arturo Vidal. And when they do succeed in getting certain players, then they get labeled as stealing. But when Dortmund buy Reus and nearly half their squad from other domestic German teams, no one blames them for ‘stealing’ talent, do they?

  4. Interesting article. A club that has just won the CL and their own domestic title buys the best player from their closest rivals – a team that finished 25 points behind them and who they also beat in the CL final – and this is football romance? They then do exactly the same again 12 months later – another victory for the purists!!

    1. See this is the criticism that Bayern has been facing which it totally unfair. Borussia Dortmund bought more than half their team from fellow Bundesliga sides, whereas when Bayern Munich do the same they become evil monsters? Gladbach got Marco Reus poached from them by Dortmund, but we never here people complaining about that now, do we?

  5. I am in no way in favor of massive cash dumps that bring clubs to the top of their leagues, but the way Bayern Munich have acquired many of their players isn’t much better.

    Everyone should look into the unspoken truths about the acquisitions of manuel neuer & Mario gomez, as prime examples.

  6. Idiotic, ill-informed article. All the top clubs buy the best players that is why they are at the top. Including Bayern stealing many best players from other german clubs in dubious circumtstances. Manchester City have invested 300 million into superb facilities to develop home grown and other young talent from an early age in house. That is the clubs whole raison detre right now. You seem ignorant of the facts. Fair play will stop any other clubs other than those already there from reaching the pinnacle of the game. The opposite of an even playing field for all. Please dont peddle any more of the biased rubbish.

    1. Aren’t Borussia Dortmund an Bayern an example of teams that have acquired cash by themselves and are successful under financial restrictions?
      Dortmund are the ultimate proof that you don’t need a Sugar Daddy and buckets of cash to succeed. This whole narrative about financial fairplay holding teams back is all nonsense.

        1. I’m sorry but your the one who doesn’t have a clue. You talk about Bayern ‘stealing’ players while more than half of Dortmund’s squad are acquired from other German sides, same as Bayern. Don’t see people complaining about them. Anyway i’m done commenting here. Too many City fanboys

  7. This kind of article really infuriates me. It’s this kind of elitist garbage which is why Liverpool, Manchester United and other fans find it so hard to get off their high horse when things don’t automatically go their way.

    Yes, Bayern are steeped in tradition, and that’s great for Bayern fans. Good on them. But to suggest that the same teams who have been winning everything should continue to win everything BECAUSE they win everything? Absolute, utter, total trash.

    In the pre-money days when teams climbed and dropped down the leagues much easier than they do now, no-one dominated the landscape like the top teams in the major leagues do now. So if money is the only way new teams can enter the landscape and present a serious threat to the established order of things? I’m all for it.

    On a final note, as I’m sure you’re aware, the way Bayern poach players from teams that pose a threat has been noted by fans and other clubs alike and is an altogether different kind of unhealthy method of achieving success, so let’s have a little less hypocrisy.

    ‘Football purists and romantics will only be rooting for one team on Wednesday’. Bull. Don’t tell me who I should support. This article is well-written but unfortunately the content is absolute garbage and although it will generate discussion and page hits, I personally don’t think it should be tolerated, because it’s pure, unadulterated sh*te.

      1. Affirm, although it could do with a comma here and there.

        Having re-read it for a third time (and I found that difficult to do, believe me), I may correct myself – it’s not BADLY written, but my emotions over the content may have blinded me to the way it’s been crafted.

  8. What an ABSOLUTE LOAD OF TOSS!!! Munich are the biggest bullies in Germany, and should be HATED by purists. Mario Gotze anyone? Why do you think everyone loved seeing them lose the Champs League final IN THEIR OWN STADIUM!!! LOL.

    Manchester City bought the Premier League title JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER TEAM BEFORE THEM. This is a business. Having a huge loyal fanbase and a fantastic stadium made City a very attractive opportunity for a rich investor. City deserve all the success they earn by having put themselves in that position.

    Now City are to blame for England’s national team woes? Are you having a laugh? Where are all of England’s world cup victories from the seventies and eighties, and nineties before the influx of foreign players in the premier league? You know, when Liverpool and Man United were the kings of english football? BOLLOCKS! English players are not good enough, and it’s not City’s fault. It’s the people talking about players like Phil Jones being “World Class” who set England up for failure.

    Anyway, this article is a total shambles, and perpetuates the bias toward the bullies of Europe including Munich, Madrid, Man United etc. I’m sure purists would like to see some new blood challenging the boring elite. For proof just remember the Sunderland fans doing the Poznan when Aguero scored to snatch the title away from United. City did football a favor that day.

    1. All good, except for the “English players aren’t good enough” but. They have & have had some great players, the FA & managers are the ones who have failed. Good managers get good performances. It’s not about new coaching & tactics at intl level it’s about ego management.

      These players get enough coaching at the club level.

      The FA appointing the wrong manager & having the wrong perpetration us why we haven’t been as successful as we have wanted.

      Outside of that your fine.

  9. While I find it amusing to mock City, the club is steeped in history, and for you to brush off that history and claim they were nothing before petro investment is absolutely incorrect. Especially when you state your position / opinion on Bayern’s golden years and how they started in the 70’s, like there was no football before then. Football was created in England 150 years ago, not in the 70’s, so when talking about “football purism” that has to be a factor.

    It’s an opinion piece, but one I see is written without any real knowledge about man city, their actual history and the incredible players they have had. You should’ve educated yourself far better with cities history, before you so glibly mocking and comparing the two clubs histories.

    I also don’t see any real mention of Bayern’s controversial wealth management history.

    For those reading this that didn’t know, The Bundesliga has only been in existence since the 60’s a decade in which City won the league twice and the European Cup Winners Cup, in its day a great competition.

    Have your debate, and while City has not been as successful as Bayern Munich football club (or chess team) you shouldn’t dismiss city’s heritage presenting your argument. I don’t know how you can say argue for football purism when your position discounts all that.

    As for Football purism, lol what a joke, I’m sure Rinus Michaels is laughing somewhere.


    1. Hahahaha… and look what happened. The exact opposite of what you hoped. But to be honest, was anyone really surprised?

      Bayern are a class above City. Nuff sed. Munich 3, Oil Money 1

  10. “The current English giants were a largely inconspicuous outfit prior to the Arab takeover in 2008”

    Shocking…just shocking city inconspicuous since 1880 lol…I’m sure manure fans will find that fun, even if it is absolutely wrong…

    Surely making statements like that have to be backed up? I can’t get over that…such poor knowledge.

  11. This is incredibly poor from this site. I used to be a frequent visitor, but the influx of garbage articles is borderline extreme.

    I’m pretty sure I can find better football analysis anywhere else.

  12. That is one of the most misinformed articles I’ve read on this site. Can we stop this romantic thing? You want romance in football go watch amateur football. To be able to paint Bayern Munich as a romantic team to root for, the David to Manchester City’s Goliath, the great old club fighting against the new bad club, make you look really like a fan who’s just started watching football this past decade. Seriously!

    The irony with the title of your article and what you’re trying to convey is that it could be said about your attitude about today’s game: You’re a fan to whom football greatness and romantic only matter if you’re winning trophies year after year. To you a 100-year old club is nothing if it doesn’t have the kind of success that the like of Bayern has been having for decades now.

  13. Just ask Jurgen Klopp what he thinks of Bayern. In the Bundesliga they are considered the bullies always raiding the other clubs for players. Because of their financial strength they are able to pay more wages and players find that just as attractive as the club’s history.

    City are also able to pay higher wages to players which is what attracts top players to them as well. City may not have won as many trophies as Bayern but they too have a storied history, perhaps not known to many outside England.

    I see no difference in what both clubs do to conclude that Bayern are to be applauded for how they do things and not City.

    Sorry, but this is a very, very poor article. I defend your right to publish it but it should be worrisome that you haven’t done your homework properly. It’s OK to have an opinion as long as it is accompanied with facts or even some anecdotal evidence.

      1. so the purists are VERY happy. I can assure you. City’s Oil Money can never buy Bayern’s history. That is something that we will always cherish despite how many more Sugar daddy clubs sprout around Europe. Monaco, PSG, City, all fake

        1. No City fan wants another team’s history. Especially not Bayern’s history. You can keep it. Especially the part when you choked up a Champs League final to United. Bottlers.

    1. hahaha… don’t let that fool you. Bayern sent a second string team to that tounrament. Their real youth team plays in the German fourth tier.

  14. Bayern Munich are the German Manchester United. German football fans will tell you similary they are followed by glory hunting b@$tards.

    I have to be honest and say I find this type of article self righteous and nauseating. This is no different unfortunately.

  15. Remember the Jerome Boateng transfer saga? Days after attacking City and Chelsea for destroying football, Uli Hoeness essentially demanded City hand Boateng over to Bayern at whatever insulting price Bayern offered because he was German. City had paid Hamburg market value the previous season but Bayern was so accustomed to bullying other German sides for top German players. They did this with Bremen RE: Klose, Stuttgart RE: Gomez, Schalke RE: Neuer and attempted to do it with Dortmund RE: Hummels.

    Jurgen Klopp is the best thing that’s happened to German football. He’s stood up to Bayern and forced them to pay market value for his players and stopped them from just taking his players.

    1. Also like how you failed to mention how Bayern could not ‘take’ Bender, Vidal and Marco Reus. Bayern have failed several times to get domestic talent. But whenever they do, we have to hear the same old story about how the are the big bad bullies.

      The fact of the matter is half of the starting line up came for free from their own youth academy, whereas City , with their petrodollars, outspent nearly every other European club this summer and still got crushed last night. Total karma.

    2. Another thing Kartik isn’t mentioning, rightly so, as there is no written proof of it, but it is widely speculated that Bayern like to dangle their advertising monopoly like a carrot when dealing for players within Germany. Their tv viewership is so much bigger than any other team that they can threaten to poach another teams major sponsor by undercutting the rate, give them ad space in the allianz, and it is considered more profitable for the advertiser due to the exposure.

  16. I should mention that Bayern did eventually pay market value for Boateng but that was only after City dug in.

  17. As far as I understand it football romantics are most concerned with the status quo. All of the oldest teams (those teams have the “most history”, right) should be successful because they’re so old.

    Romantics say, if you suddenly come into money you should absolutely not spend it. That would be bad. But if you have history, well then you can buy anyone you want, especially the best players from your closest competition. Then spending money is okay.

    Romantics like the best players in one country staying at the most successful and most popular team in a given country. All English players should play for ManU, all French players should play for Lyon or Marseille (not PSG, they have money), all Portugese players should play for Benfica. That way you can pat yourself on the back for all your homegrown national team talent. And if other teams are less popular or have less money, well sucks to be them, maybe they should get more history. Or something.

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