Empty interior of Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena View from up high in the Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich (image by HerrAdams via Wikimedia Commons)

To outsiders and newcomers to European football, there seems to be just one, maybe two, clubs in Germany. Many people know of Borussia Dortmund, but everyone knows Bayern Munich. Here is Groundhopper Guides’ introduction to Bayern Munich’s history, stadium and home city.

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Introduction to FC Bayern München

Known as FC Bayern München around the world, most English-speakers know Die Bayern (The Bavarians), as Bayern Munich. They are the most successful club in German football history, having won a record 31 league titles, including the past nine Bundesliga titles dating back to 2013.

The largest club in Germany, and the third highest-earning football club in the world (behind Barcelona and Real Madrid), Bayern Munich is valued at $4.2 billion with an annual revenue of $703 million. There are more than 4,500 officially registered fan clubs for Bayern Munich around the world.

The club crest might be one of the most recognized in the world, as it has the team colors of red and white surrounding the white and blue flag of Bavaria.

Bayern Munich team picture from 1900

The very first Bayern Munich squad in 1900. (Image: Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Bayern Munich History

Founded in 1900, Bayern Munich started winning team trophies right from the beginning. They joined the newly formed Kreisliga, the first regional Bavarian league, in 1910-11 and claimed top honors that initial season. By 1920, it had over 700 members, and was the largest football club in Munich.

The first national trophy claimed was in 1932, the German championship, after defeating Frankfurt in the final 2-0.

The rise of Adolf Hitler put an abrupt end to Bayern Munich’s development, as the club president and coach were both Jewish and left the country. The club struggled for years and was in financial trouble and on the verge of bankruptcy at the end of the 1950s.

The Bundesliga was formed in 1963, but Bayern were not promoted until 1965. In that initial season, they finished third in the league but won the domestic cup, thus qualifying for (and winning) the following year’s European Winner’s Cup. They achieved the first league title in 1969.

Since 1970, Bayern Munich have captured 29 Bundesliga titles, 16 in the DFB-Pokal Cup, eight German Super Cups, and six Champions League titles in addition to other European and worldwide awards.

Exterior of Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena in red

Allianz Arena in one of its seemingly endless color schemes. (Image by dronepicr via Wikimedia Commons)

Bayern Munich’s Stadium, Allianz Arena

Since the 2005-06 season, Bayern Munich have played their home games at the spectacular Allianz Arena. It is widely known for its exterior lighting, the first stadium in the world with a full color-changing exterior.

It is the second-largest stadium in Germany (behind Dortmund), with a seating capacity of 70,000. For international matches, it ranks third, also behind the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

When the stadium originally opened, neighboring club 1860 Munich held a 50% share, but due to financial troubles, Bayern Munich purchased their shares for $12.9 million. The new agreement said 1860 Munich could still play its home games at Allianz Arena until 2025, but in 2017 Bayern Munich terminated that contract and are now the sole tenants. 1860, now in the third tier of German football, play in the 15,000-seat Grünwalder Stadion.

Although Allianz, a financial services company based in Munich, has the stadium naming rights for the first 30 years, when hosting FIFA and UEFA events it can’t be referred to as Allianz Arena because they are not an official tournament partner. It is commonly referred to as Football Arena Munich during these events.

The venue was home to six games during the 2006 World Cup and four games of Euro 2020. It will serve as the venue for the 2025 Champions League final.

Before Allianz Arena opened, Bayern Munich called Munich’s Olympiastadion its home for 33 years.

Bayern Munich Rivals

Bayern Munich is one of three clubs in Munich, and after seeing all of their team trophies, we are not sure if you would consider any cross-town foe as a rival. But 1860 Munich was a very successful club in the 1950s and also was picked to start the Bundesliga in 1963. When the two clubs meet it is called the Munich derby, and it surely gets the attention of both groups of supporters.

Also in Bavaria, 1. FC Nürnberg and Bayern Munich’s history of playing against each other dates back to the 1920s. Their games each season are called the Bavarian derby.

A more recent history of a strong rival is Borussia Dortmund, who have competed with Bayern in the Bundesliga, but also in the Champions League, Supercup and DFB-Pokal. Dortmund have been the only real, consistent threat to Bayern’s dominance in recent decades.

In the Champions League, Bayern Munich have had some classic matchups with the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid over the years. In fact, Bayern and Real Madrid have played 24 matches, and the Real fans refer to Bayern as the Black Beast.

Books about Bayern Munich

Here are a couple of books on Amazon that will help you learn more about the club:

The City of Munich

The third-largest city in Germany, and the 11th-largest city in Europe, Munich is nestled in the heart of Bavaria and well known to tourists. When you think of Bavaria and Munich you probably think of steins of beer, Oktoberfest and scores of warm pretzels and brats. The city has tons of that, but the architecture is almost second-to-none, especially the New Town Hall and Marienplatz in the center of the city.

Marienplatz in the center of Munich, Bavaria.

Marienplatz has been Munich’s main square since 1158.

Located on the Isar River, historical data dates Munich back to 1158. The city was heavily bombed during World War II but has restored most of its traditional cityscape.

Munich was named the world’s most livable city in 2018, and is home to many multinational companies such as BMW, Allianz and Siemens just to name a few.

A fairly high percentage (37.7%) of its population is of foreign background.

The city hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics, and was one of the host cities for both the 1974 and 2006 World Cups.

How to watch the Bundesliga on TV in the USA

The 2020-21 season was the first with ESPN+ being the U.S. home to the Bundesliga. The network will once again broadcast 306 matches during the 2021-22 season.

Watch the Bundesliga on ESPN+ in the US.

Getting Tickets to Bayern Munich

The club sells tickets directly on their website.

Buy Bayern Munich Tickets from Groundhopper Soccer Guides

Groundhopper Soccer Guides is an official reseller of Bayern Munich tickets and hospitality packages. Check out this page for more information, or just fill out the form below and we will be in touch!


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