Robust Bayern Munich stay in profit

Bayern Munich, champions of Germany for a record-breaking 10th consecutive season in 2022, have also underlined their commercial resilience in making a profit throughout the pandemic years. Bayern are the only German club to make a profit in each of the past three seasons, in 2021-22, their pre-tax profit was € 12 million. In 10 years, Bayern’s most successful era, they have won 19 major trophies, but they have also built a corporate model that is much envied around football. The value of Bayern Munich has quadrupled in recent years.

Bayern’s president, Herbert Hainer, explained at the AGM the club stands on three pillars: sporting success; economic stability; and social commitment. The pandemic does not appear to have caused any of Bayern’s key areas to collapse. “We continue to be absolutely stable as a club overall with all departments. Even more than that, we have made profits every year and continue to set standards as a club. Our club is a role model throughout Europe,” he said.

Bayern Munich’s income totalled € 639.9 million, an increase of 2% on 2020-21’s € 630 million. The club said they had come through the past difficult year very well, a period characterised by high gas prices, inflation and the continuing hangover of covid-19. “This is a strong result,” said Bayern’s Chief Financial Officer Jean-Christian Dessen. “We never spend more than we earn and we are completely debt free.”

This is quite evident in Bayern’s transfer activity. In 2021-22, they spent just € 57.7 million, but their outlay in 2022-23 has so far totalled € 137.5 million, although they recouped € 104 million in sales. Among the big fees was the € 67 million paid for Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus and € 32 million for Liverpool’s Sadio Mané. On the either side of the ledger, Bayern received € 45 million from Barcelona for goal machine Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern are now 100% owners of the Allianz Arena and they have 295,000 members making them the biggest membership club in the world. The Bayern campus has now been fully paid off and the site has already appreciated considerably. The portents are good for further growth, despite the difficult backdrop, and Bayern anticipate group revenues to rise to € 770 million in 2022-23.

Bayern have received some criticism for benefitting from a sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, notably at the 2021 AGM. Bayern receive some € 20 million a year from the airline, which represents 10% of their sponsorship and advertising income. The club has said it will discuss the issue after the forthcoming World Cup. Oliver Kahn, Bayern’s CEO, commented that the club is discussing the issue with its stakeholders: “If you want to change something, you have to meet people, talk to them and exchange ideas… you have to listen, understand and explain. We’re doing that within our partnership with Qatar Airways.”

Bayern remain one of the world’s most proficient clubs when it comes to commercial activity and overall, their earnings from this stream totalled more than € 375 million in 2021-22. Overall income from matches totalled € 160 million while media revenues from domestic fixtures totalled € 100 million. Bayern’s wage bill was € 324 million, which equated to 51% of income.

Bayern’s position in the game has meant that sponsors are happy to maintain and broaden relationships with the club. For example, Bayern’s shirt sponsor, Deutsche Telekom, has been involved with them for 20 years, the T logo becoming synonymous the country’s most successful football entity. Similarly, Bayern have extended their partnership with Proctor & Gamble for a seventh year.  This is spearheaded by the club’s “stronger together” initiative which promotes mental health. As part of this, P&G donates € 500 for every Bundesliga goal scored by Bayern’s men and women first teams.

Three huge icons of German corporate life, Audi, Allianz and Adidas, all have 8.33% stakes in Bayern. But Bayern is not just a German brand, it is very much a global club and offices have been opened in the US and Asia. Bayern almost acts as a conduit for Deutschland AG to break into new markets.

Bayern’s domination of German football shows no sign of letting up, despite the loss of key players. They have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League after winning their first four group fixtures and they have lost just once in 10 league games. They are second in the table, four points behind Union Berlin, but nobody would seriously bet against them adding another Bundesliga title to their trophy cabinet.

UEFA Champions League Preview: Shaping things to come

AS THE pressure grows, some teams may have to start making plans for the Europa League. All four of these groups are quite open in terms of the first three placings. It should make for an interesting conclusion to matchday four.

Group A: Napoli – Ajax; Rangers – Liverpool

Napoli are in great form, unbeaten in Serie A , two points clear at the top of the table, and scoring goals for fun. Luciano Spalletti’s team won 4-1 at Cremonese last weekend, just a few days after winning 6-1 in Amsterdam against Ajax. They’ve scored 13 goals in their three Champions League games. Ajax were stunned by that home defeat but they bounced back with a 4-2 win at Volendam, but they are still in second place behind AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie. Ajax’s form has been a little patchy, which has been blamed on a summer of disruption at the club, which included the loss of coach Erik ten Hag. Rangers have another difficult game ahead of them when they welcome Liverpool, who may not be at their best but should still be too strong for the 2021 Scottish champions, who have yet to score a goal in the group. Liverpool have won two of their eight Premier League games but will be eager to get back on track before they face Manchester City in their next fixture. There’s been a lot of speculation about Liverpool’s supposed decline, highlighted by that heavy defeat in Naples in their opening group outing, but they have lost only two league games – hardly a major crisis at this stage.

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Group B: Atlético Madrid – Club Brugge; Bayer Leverkusen – Porto

You could say Bruges have been something of a surprise package in this group, maximum points after three games. After beating Atléti 2-0 in Belgium, they will find Diego Simeone’s team tougher at the Wanda Metropolitano. However, their form in La Liga at home has been inconsistent and their two league defeats have been on their own turf. Atlético have signed Antoine Griezmann from Barcelona on a permanent basis for € 20 million, a reduced fee after Barca asked for twice as much. Griezmann joined Barca from Atléti in 2019 but returned on loan in 2021. Prior to the permanent deal, Simeone was only using Griezmann sparingly due to the terms of his agreement with Barca. Bruges have a six-point lead over the rest of the group and a victory in Spain would probably secure top spot. Bayer Leverkusen host Porto and should be in a better frame of mind after their 4-0 win against Schalke in the Bundesliga.  Porto are still three points behind Benfica in the Portuguese Primeira and have lost just once in the league. They secured their first Champions League win when they beat Leverkusen 2-0.

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Group C: Barcelona – Inter Milan; Viktoria Plzn – Bayern Munich

Barcelona versus Inter Milan is a genuine clash of European giants. Barca coach Xavi has called it “a final” and there’s no doubting how important it is for the shape of the group given Inter won their first meeting in the San Siro. Barcelona will be without Jules Kounde, their summer signing from Sevilla, and the talk is that Xavi will play with a three-man defence. Barca are top of La liga although level with Real Madrid on points. They beat Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou at the weekend. Inter are in seventh place in Serie A after their 2-1 victory at Sassuolo. Romelu Lukaku is almost fully fit and may be included on the bench, but it seems probable that Inter will line-up with Edin Džeko and Lautaro Martinez up front. Viktoria Plzn, who have lost all three of their group games, host Bayern Munich, who are currently having problems with injuries. Alphonso Davies received a bad head injury in the 2-2 draw with Dortmund, a game that saw Bayern throw away a 2-0 lead. Bayern have a 100% record in the Champions League and have yet to concede a goal, but they are in third place in the Bundesliga.

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Group D: Sporting – Marseille; Tottenham – Eintracht Frankfurt

This tight group could open up a little after this fourth round of matches. Sporting face Marseille, with the French side desperate to pick something up in Lisbon. OM lost their first Ligue 1 game of the campaign when they were surprisingly beaten by Ajaccio despite Dimitri Payet scoring his 100th league goal. The defeat pushed them into third place. Sporting, meanwhile, won  2-1 at Santa Clara at the weekend but are nine points behind leaders Benfica. They look set to place a huge release clause on their 21 year-old midfielder, Manuel Ugarte who has attracted the attention of Premier League clubs, including Tottenham. Spurs, sitting third in the Premier League, host Frankfurt well aware that a victory would consolidate their position in the group. Antonio Conte’s team will be without Dejan Kulusevski, but Lucas Moura and Richarlison are set to be involved. Frankfurt received a blow in training when their on-loan winger Ansgar Knauff was injured. Another youngster, Luca Pellegrini has also been ruled out.

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