New Delhi: Bayern Munich shall play India at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi on January 10 next year. This will be the fifth occasion when the Bavarians shall visit the country with their first appearance being in the 111th IFA Shield in December 2005 when their second string squad under Gerd Mueller won the competition.
Oliver Kahn played his final game against Mohun Bagan in May 2008 at the Salt Lake Stadium where more than 120, 000 fans assembled to catch a glimpse of the former German skipper.
In January 2009, the likes of Thomas Mueller and Holger Badstuber travelled to India and play a few games in Kolkata and Siliguri. Paul Breitner led Bayern Legends faced East Bengal Legends and crushed them 10-3 in November last year in an exhibition match organized to raise fund for street children.
Subrata Dutta, the vice-president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) stated that Bayern Munich versus India would create as much hype as what was witnessed when Lionel Messi’s Argentina faced Venezuela in an international friendly in September.
“Bayern have spoken of their interest to play in India. They shall get their first team and the match will be played at the Nehru Stadium."
“It’s a known fact that India is a big market for everyone. All the clubs now want to include India in all their plans.”
“There are several German companies who sponsor them and by bringing Bayern to India, it’s a unique opportunity for them to establish their brand in this market as well,” Dutta said.
The most successful German club have already started ‘FC Bayern Youth Cup India ‘which is an open football scouting programme which aims to provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for hundreds of young and budding Indian footballers to be selected to represent India at next year’s FC Bayern Youth Cup India in Munich.
Earlier this year, Thomas Mueller acknowledged the increasing number of Bayern fans from India on the club`s official Facebook page.