Bayern's commitment to Asia, including previous pre-season trips to Japan, Indonesia and India, will be further strengthened from 22 to 27 July when the men from Munich tour China. The Bavarians will play two friendlies while on tour. The first match to be arranged was the meeting with VfL Wolfsburg in Guangzhou on 26 July as part of the second Audi Football Summit. The second warm-up match has now also been finalised: FCB will take on local club Beijing Guo’an, currently third in the Chinese Super League, for the Yingli Cup 2012. The game will be played on 24 July (kick-off 7.30 pm local time) at the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing. The fixture was announced in Beijing on Monday at the Kick-off Ceremony by Paul Breitner, Zhiheng Zhao (Yingli Green Energy Senior Vice President) and Lu Zhang (Beijing Guo‘an deputy managing director).
At the initial press conference to launch the historic tour, FCB acting board member Andreas Jung joined Audi China president of sales Dominique Boesch and Wolfsburg assistant coach Pierre Littbarski to unveil details of Bayern's trip. “We'll be here with the entire squad, including our eight Germany internationals," Jung promised the 150 Chinese reporters and camera crews.
Brand awareness at 86 percent
“We're delighted our partner Audi has presented us with the opportunity to visit our many fans in China again after a long absence, and this in China's sporting capital of Guangzhou," continued Jung, “we're hoping for just as great a success as the first Audi Football Summit in Delhi at the beginning of the year, when we were cheered on by 35,000 fans for the match against the Indian national team." Bayern won that game 4-0.
When they play at the 80,000 capacity Guangzhou Olympic Stadium, and two days earlier in Beijing, Germany's biggest club are aiming to offer their Chinese fans a privileged and close-up view of the team. Basketball is the number one sporting discipline for the 1.3 billion inhabitants of the most populous nation on earth, but football is catching up fast. Overall, China is the fastest growing sports market in the world. Bayern boast brand awareness among the general population of 86 percent.
Third trip to China
July's excursion will be Munich's third visit to China. Back in May 2000, FCB beat Shenhua Shanghai 3–0 in a friendly in Shanghai, and returned in July 2007 for a 2–1 victory over Brazilian cracks São Paulo in Hong Kong. Six months later, in January 2008, the Chinese Olympic team faced Bayern at the Allianz Arena, a match won 7–2 by the home side.