German giants FC Bayern Munich will face the Indian national team in the “Audi Football Summit” on January 10, 2012. The match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi will be another highlight in the long and strong association between the Bundesliga outfit and Indian football.
Bayern Munich started their Indian chapter in 2005, when the 2nd team took part in the 111th IFA Shield 2005 (read the article “Flashback 2005”). The Germans visited India for a second time in 2008 as part of an Asian Tour, which was dubbed as the “Oliver Kahn Farewell Tour”.
The legendary Germany and Bayern keeper announced his retirement from football and the Asian Tour at the end of the 2007/08 season marked his final appearance as a professional footballer.
Bayern Munich travelled to Indonesia to play the national team in a friendly match, before they continued their journey to India to face Mohun Bagan AC. Bayern won the match 5-1 against Indonesia with Jan Schlaudraff (3x), Toni Kroos and Breno scoring for the visitors.
The Bayern team missed the services of several internationals due to the UEFA EURO 2008, but they were still able to field a strong squad on their Asian Tour 2008. The Bavarians led by captain Oliver Kahn and the experienced duo of Mark van Bommel and Zé Roberto arrived in India on May 25, 2008.
The team landed at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata and was welcomed by many football-crazy airport employees.
The team went on to the ITC Sonar Bangla Sheraton Hotel and were greeted by euphoric fans in the “City of Joy”. The team management and coaches attended a first press conference on the same day with over 30 photographers, 20 TV cameras and around 100 journalists attending the function.
“This is a first taste of the enthusiasm we can expect here! Kolkata will be a new experience for all of us and we can expect more than we already did in Indonesia,” midfielder Andreas Ottl told at arrivial.
The whole Bayern squad continued their first day on Indian soil with a visit to the opening ceremony of the Kolkata Police Friendship Cup 2008. Later they collected some impressions of the city, while doing a boat trip on the Hugli River. The first day ended with a dinner hosted by Bayern’s sponsor Lufthansa.
The Bayern contingent continued their stay in Kolkata with a training clinic for kids on the second day. The clinic was organised by Bayern’s sponsors Adidas and Lufthansa. The day concluded with another banquet.
The hype and enthusiasm around Bayern’s visit to Kolkata found its climax in a historic match at the Saltlake Stadium, Kolkata on May 27, 2008. The mighty Germans took on I-League side Mohun Bagan AC to bid a farewell to Oliver Kahn.
Oliver Kahn said goodbye to football in front of a capacity crowd of 125,000 as FC Bayern Munich trounced Mohun Bagan AC 3-0. The Mohun Bagan supporters were joined by a number of Bayern fans who had flown in from various parts of the world to see the Bayern stars in action and to honour Oliver Kahn in his last professional match.
Jan Schlaudraff drew the first blood for the touring outfit in the 18th minute. A defensive howler by Anand Vasim let the ball fall free in front of Schlaudraff who made no mistake in finishing things off. Mohun Bagan keeper Sangram Mukherjee unwittingly contributed to Bayern Munich’s second goal in the 37th minute. He handled the ball outside the penalty area and gave away a free kick to the visitors. Former Brazilian international Zé Roberto produced a stunner off the effecting free kick with the entire Bagan defence left stranded and the goalkeeper hardly getting any time to move. Six minutes into the second half, Toni Kroos led a ball from the midline into the right for Christian Lell, who led the final pass to Schlaudraff from the edge of the box. The striker coolly netted in past three Bagan defenders to make it 3-0 for his team.
The historic moment of the match happened to be in the 56th minute when Oliver Kahn left the pitch with the entire stadium of 125,000 fans up for standing ovations to the German legend. It was an emotional moment for the keeper, his club and all fans, which came to the Saltlake Stadium to witness one of the all-time legends of the game calling an end to his illustrious 20-year career as a professional footballer.
Oliver Kahn was felicitated during the half-time of the match, when he received certificates and mementos from the governing bodies of state and national football. The German superstar was also conferred an honorary life membership of Mohun Bagan AC. Further he received a replica of a football studded with 8640 diamonds.
Oliver Kahn used the occasion to thank all fans and the city of Kolkata for hosting his final match as a pro footballer. “Thank you Kolkata. I feel honoured to be here and play my final match in front of this large crowd,” Kahn told the attendees.
Uli Hoeness, Bayern’s commercial manager in those days, told after the match: “I’ve never expected this here in India! The excitement was incredible!”
“I think Oliver Kahn will remember this day for a very long time,” Hoeness added.
“I’m very happy for Oliver that he got the farewell he deserved here in Kolkata. It was a really great finish,” Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told.
Netherlands captain Mark van Bommel, a former FC Barcelona player, didn’t expect such an powerful atmosphere in India. “I have played in Barcelona, but the spectators here are more emotional. I’ve never seen such an atmosphere,” van Bommel told.
The next feature will be “FC Bayern Munich in India – Flashback 2009”!
Mohun Bagan AC 0-3 FC Bayern Munich
0-1 Jan Schlaudraff (18′), 0-2 Zé Roberto (37′), 0-3 Jan Schlaudraff (51′)
Mohun Bagan AC
1-Sangram Mukherjee (90′ 21-Chirodeep Chattopadhyay); 17-Rahul Kumar, 20-Rakesh Masih, 29-Anand Vasim, 5-Habibur Rehman Mondal (71′ 2-S Naveen Kumar); 7-Lal Kamal Bhowmick, 6-Sielphaw Henry Gangte (60′ 8-Tapan Maity), 25-Saglosem James Singh, 16-James Lukram Singh; 11-Ishfaq Ahmed, 9-Pachau Lalam Puia (64′ 12-Branco Vincent Cardozo)
Unused Subs: 18-Karan Atwal, 23-Lalramlula, 32-Anit Kumar Ghosh
FC Bayern Munich
1-Oliver Kahn (56′ 22-Michael Rensing); 30-Christian Lell, 16-Andreas Ottl, 35-Breno, 43-Uwe Schlottner (82′ 45-Diego Pizarro); 17-Mark van Bommel, 15-Zé Roberto (77′ 42-Taygun Kuru); 44-Viktor Bopp (68′ 47-Gianluca Simari), 39-Toni Kroos (74′ 40-Dominik Rohracker), 20-José Ernesto Sosa (46-Diego Contento); 19-Jan Schlaudraff
Unused Subs: 29-Bernd Dreher
36′ Sangram Mukherjee (Mohun Bagan AC)
76 Jan Schlaudraff (FC Bayern Munich)
84′ Branco Vincent Cardozo (Mohun Bagan AC)
84′ Breno (FC Bayern Munich)
Subrata Sarkar (India)
Kashi Nath Sen (India), Rathin Mukherjee (India)
Minangshu Bhattacharya (India)
Sumanta Ghosh (India)