Bayern troubles warm hearts above the white sausage equator

April 23, 2007

Bayern captain Oliver Kahn after the defeat against Stuttgart

This was a great weekend for many German fans living above the ‘white sausage equator’, the notional line that separates Bavaria from the rest of the country.

Bayern Munich’s 2-0 defeat by VfB Stuttgart on Saturday means they are five points away from the Champions League places with four games left to play. Their title hopes are all but gone, and barring a series of surprises they will be consigned to the UEFA Cup next season.

Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer has derided the UEFA Cup as the “Losers’ Cup” and captain Oliver Kahn has said he has no desire to play in that tournament in what will likely be the final year of his career.

It’s a development that warms the hearts of the Bayern-haters around Germany, who are even united with a common song “Zieht den Bayern die Lederhosen aus” (Pull the leather trousers off Bayern) that they sing whenever the 20-time champions come to town.

Bayern have won six of the last eight Bundesliga titles and seven of the last 10. They’re seen by their detractors as being too rich, too selfish and with a nefarious habit of poaching the best players from the rest of the league to weaken their rivals.

Bayern have had disappointing seasons before, of course, but they may find it more difficult in regaining the upper hand this time, even if the club are prepared to spend a lot of cash. Attracting world class players to the Bundesliga is not easy at the best of times and if they cannot offer Champions League football next season it’s going to be even harder.

Erik Kirschbaum is a Reuters correspondent based in Berlin


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Bayern are still the best bet for a Bundesliga team winning the Champions League, so it’s a shame if they’re not going to be there. Prepare for Schalke, Werder and Stuttgart all to go out before the q-fs.

Posted by Rafa | Report as abusive

There are three reasons for Bayern’s way down:
1. Wrong roster strategy
For nearly two decades now, Bayern most and foremost purchased the best players of their national competitors. This guaranteed a national supremacy – but it definitely did not make Bayern competetive on a european level.
2. Wrong finance concept
Bayern ist wealthy, has no debts and a huge cash account. But Bayern is not an investment company. Instead of saving money, Bayern should have invested in top players. You cannot play with the big dogs in Europe AND save your money.
3. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Since “Kalle” took over as Bayern’s CEO, things got constantly worse. Bayern used to be the best run club in Europe, because they had so much know how in their management: Beckenbauer, Hoeneß, Breitner – all of them not only top experts, but all of them also former World Champions. No other club in Europe had this concentration of experience, therefore expertise and therefore authority.
But “Kalle” changed things. He never won the World Cup and now tries to compensate this by pushing the club – and he pushes too hard.
So Bayern’s way back up would be: Fire Kalle and heavily invest in European top players.

Posted by Alexander Fritsch | Report as abusive

I like the comment by Alexander Fritsch, and must add that it is tough to stay on top. Bayern is a giant, and there are giants in every league around the world. Staying on top is often much more difficult than rising. UEFA Cup may not be flattering, but it could be another trophy. Bayern is simply going to have to get back to work on the field next year and get the job done so they will be able to compete in the Champions League again, and hopefully correct the errors of the past.

Posted by JDJ | Report as abusive

So who do you think Bayern should sign next year? They’ve already done deals for Jan Schlaudraff, Hamit Altintop Jose Ernesto Sosa but who else should come? There’s been talk about Miroslav Klose and Rafael van der Vaart…

Posted by Kevinf | Report as abusive

I love this blog: there’s a wealth of information on both football and European cultural diversity. I find the concept of a white sauasage equator absolutely hysterical and I’m going to try to fit it into as many conversations as possible today.

Posted by lilly | Report as abusive

I dread to think how you’re going to get ‘white sauasage equator’ into everyday conversation. Any clues?

Posted by kevinf | Report as abusive

Perhaps it could be worked into an extra verse of Zieht den Bayern die Lederhosen aus?

Posted by Miss Football | Report as abusive