London - Emanating from London’s Tower Hill, a fire burns a deep, scarlet red. At its heart sits Thorsten Lamberty, a football fan in the truest sense, and chairman of the UK’s only official FC Bayern München fan club, Red Dragons London.

The affable FCB enthusiast was joined by up to 50 members of his fire-breathing clique, as well as a further 200 or so guests, for Bayern’s UEFA Champions League last-16 2-0 victory over Arsenal FC recently, and dedicates much of his time to spreading the FC Bayern mantra in the English capital.

'We found it hard'


“I always went to the Bavarian Beerhouse or watched games at home,” Lamberty recalled. “I noticed how many people were sat on their own quietly enjoying the game, so I thought why not found a fan club and enjoy the matches with like-minded people? Shortly after the Champions League final, I met Ilja Hauerhof [now a member of the board] and we decided to start an official fan club.”

His mind made up and Bayern the talk of Europe, the Red Dragons ringleader also recruited Erol Uray and Arno Bussmann to help his cause. “At first we found it hard to convince people to join,” he explained. “We struggled to get to the magic number of 25 people required to be officially recognised as a club. In July [2013] we finally hit the mark and filed our application with Bayern. It took them 10 weeks to process, but in mid-September we eventually made it. Red Dragons was born!”

'Have to be really dedicated'


Indeed, the blossoming guild has gone from strength to strength ever since. “We're doing extremely well,” Lamberty continued. “We now have 50 members and have received plenty of media and press coverage. Our club has been featured on [German TV station] ZDF, in the Official UEFA Champions League magazine, on [German TV channel] Sport 1 and in the newspaper Münchener Abendzeitung. You have to be really dedicated to run such a club, so it means so much to the members.”

As well as organising regular get-togethers at their darling Stammlokal, Red Dragons London also pride themselves on maintaining strong relationships with other clubs, spreading the Mia San Mia dictum whenever time permits. “Our members regularly travel to matches,” Lamberty smiled. “They usually take our flag, which has been seen inside [Borussia Dortmund’s] Signal Iduna Park, [Hamburger SV’s] Imtech Arena, and as far away as Khimki in the Ukraine, as well as many other arenas.”

'Bundesliga fans are way more active'


Such devotion is unlikely to come as much surprise to time-honoured supporters of the Bundesliga, but for Lamberty himself it is unquestionably the standout reason why Germany’s top flight has become so attractive to outsiders. “Bundesliga fans are way more active than English supporters,” he enthused. “When we were in Manchester, you could only hear the Südkurve. When Bayern were playing Chelsea [FC] last summer [in the UEFA Super Cup] even [Jose] Mourinho had to go out and fire up his own supporters!”

The idea of Arsenal’s professorial head coach Arsene Wenger having to do the same during next month's Champions League second leg at the Allianz Arena is not exactly beyond the realms of possibility, but for all of you out there not in a position to witness such animated scenes in the flesh, there’s always a seat at the Red Dragons’ warm-hearted Stammtisch - whichever side of the fence you happen to be on.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge reporting from London

Click here to find out how you can get involved with Red Dragons London