The Reign Of Bayern Munich

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 12: Fans of Muenchen celebrate prior to the DFB Cup final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Olympic Stadium on May 12, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)

A win in Saturday's Champions League Final could kickstart a "Bayern Era" in Europe.

"In 2020 the Allianz Arena will be paid off. Then we will be the richest club in the world."

"We have a stadium that is worth half a billion Euros, an extremely valuable squad and a bulging fixed deposit account."

"When the financial fair play rules come in it will be a golden era for Germany's clubs."

Grandiose quotes coming from the Bayern Munich front office isn't unusual. Predicting performances and results? Yeah, it happens. Often. The above statements came out of the mouth of Bayern President Uli Hoeneß this week in a press conference leading up to Saturday's Champions League Final against Chelsea.

What? More? You want more?

Back in December, the club's CEO (and President of the European Club Association) Karl-Heinz "Kalle" Rummenigge called the actions of clubs like their upcoming opponents Manchester City "financial doping." Raphael Honigstein put it best in his piece for Sports Illustrated:

From Bayern's perspective, City is a convenient example of all that's gone wrong in modern soccer. Here's a club, owned by a sheik, spending crazy sums of money that it cannot regenerate itself. City just announced losses of nearly £200 million ($312M) for 2010/11, a record amount for the Premier League. Even though City insists it is on course to meet UEFA's complicated Financial Fair Play regulations (FFP), Rummenigge, the head of the European Club Association, suspects that the club is simply riding roughshod over the regulations in the hope to get away with it.

As far as Bayern is concerned, City has taken over where Chelsea left off when Roman Abramovich reigned in the spending and became distracted by a $5.5 billion law suit. The club has become shorthand for out of control, unsustainable spending and is now seen as the main factor driving wage and transfer fee inflation in Europe.

As Honigstein goes on to explain, as a club with members, Bayern must try to break even every year. The Bundesliga maintains a 50+1 policy that maintains that the club's members must own 51% of a club, and an individual investor can only own 49%. This prevents one wealthy person from disguising a club's financial mismanagement by pouring tens of millions of euros into the club.

The 2010-2011 season saw Bayern post their 19th consecutive year of recording a profit. During that time Bayern have won a total of 27 trophies. Bayern's revenue reached €321m last season which was only less than Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United. The next closest to Bayern was Arsenal --- at €70m less.

The television revenue the Bundesliga receives lags behind the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and Italian Serie A. As the Bundesliga continues its current rise in popularity, an increase of television revenue can be expected. This is the one spot on the ledger where the Bundesliga clubs can find more "easy" money in market to pull closer to their European rivals.

Bayern have also managed a way to balance the buying of foreign stars with having one of the best academies in Europe. Of the current squad the following spent part of their youth in the Bayern academy: Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba, Diego Contento, and Thomas Müller. With Alaba and Badstuber suspended for the Final, Bayern is expected to start the remaining five academy products.

If the academy can continue to churn out talent, and with a player like Emre Can in the pipeline, it doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon, Bayern can continue to straddle the line of producing world class players in-house and buying world class players from other clubs. Continuing to develop these players will be an important aspect of Bayern being able to retain their status at the top of the world powers.

Saturday's final will be the second in three years for Bayern. They lost the 2009-2010 final to Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. Thus far in 2012, they have exercised the demon of Jose Mourinho and the Bernabeu when they went to Madrid and eliminated Madrid on penalties.

Lahm and Schweinsteiger hoisting the trophy would validate the business plan put forth by Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga. Before the Champions League television funds are distributed, Bayern would bring in $30,300,000 for winning the Champions League. They would also become the first German club to win the Champions League since they defeated Valencia in the 2001 final.

Winning the Champions League is a momentous occasion for any club and their supporters.

Winning the Champions League against a club that is the antithesis for everything your club stands for is a memory that would never be forgotten.

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