We honestly don’t know what the drivers of the FCB team bus, a 480 horsepower MAN Lions Coach L Supreme, have to say about it, but it’s a fact that Michael Lauerbach, Sandra König and Armin Kriz will drive the stars to more league matches than ever before. That's because there’s an unprecedented Bavarian flavour to the 50th Bundesliga season.
This Saturday’s trip to Fürth is a relatively short 175 kilometres. Augsburg, 70 kilometres away, and Nuremberg at 170 kilometres are the other intra-Bavarian journeys. “We should set up a Bavarian championship,” quipped Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, reflecting on the largest-ever total of clubs from the state in the modern top flight.
“I’m looking forward to it,” continued Rummenigge, “first of all, these are short trips. And second, the state will benefit from the high number of derbies.“ Former Bavarian First Minister Dr. Edmund Stoiber, who is the long-serving chairman of the FCB Advisory Board, agreed. “Our state will be very well represented, and we can be proud of that.”
Six state derbies
The men from Munich face six Bavarian derbies this term. “And especially away from home, we’ll be pushed to the absolute limit,“ Stoiber told fcbayern.de, “we had a foretaste in Augsburg last season, where we were lucky to win.“
Bayern beat Augsburg 2-1 on that occasion, and also defeated Nürnberg 1-0 in Franconia, FCB’s first win there in five matches. The most recent match against Greuther Fürth was a tight affair too: in September 1998, the second division side took the Reds all the way to penalties in the DFB Cup second round. Oliver Kahn ultimately saved a Petr Skarabela spot-kick to seal a 4-3 win.
Laying down a marker
On Saturday, the sides meet in the Bundesliga for the first time. “We can take nothing for granted. We’ll have to be totally focused,“ Rummenigge warned. “Fürth will throw themselves into it. It's the biggest game of the season for them,“ Stoiber ventured.
The politician said he would be rooting for all four Bavarian clubs, “although when they play Bayern, I’ll naturally side with Bayern.” That will be the case this Saturday, where Stoiber urged FCB to “lay down a marker: we’re up for it, and we’ll do whatever it takes to win the league!“