For many people across the globe, the end of November brings with it an increasing sense of excitement as the Christmas period draws ever closer.
Members of FC Bayern München fan clubs are no different, even if their reasons are a little. Rather than waiting until 25 December for their presents, Christmas comes early for certain Bayern supporters, as for over 30 years the Bundesliga record champions have travelled far and wide to visit their fans, doing so this year on 29 November.
Fan club lottery
On Sunday, head coach Pep Guardiola, the Bayern first-team squad and members of the board, including president Karl Hopfner, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Matthias Sammer, spread out across Germany to greet their passionate followers.
Fan clubs are chosen by way of a lottery, with 27 of Bayern’s 4030 registered clubs winning the prize of a star visitor for a couple of hours at their Christmas party. There cannot be many other teams in the world that embark on such a huge undertaking to stay in touch with their fans.
Given the Bundesliga leaders’ packed match schedule, there is a limit to how far the club’s representatives can travel without neglecting their training routine, of course. Nevertheless, they willingly do whatever they can.
For instance, centre-back Jerome Boateng flew to visit a fan club in Potsdam, near Berlin; Robert Lewandowski travelled 165 kilometres to Weinsfeld; fellow attacker Thomas Müller headed east to Hauzenberg, near Passau; Arjen Robben was in Traunstein; Manuel Neuer in Neufahrn; Mario Götze in Bergisch-Gladbach and Sammer in Großpösna.
Depending on the size of the fan club, anywhere between 80 and 700 supporters could be present and the Bayern contingent readily sign autographs, pose for photographs, give speeches and, on occasion, cope with surprises: Javi Martinez came face to face with a sword swallower, while Guardiola took part in a ‘Maßkrugstemmen’ contest to see who could hold a beer stein in the air the longest.
Take a look at the pictures of some of the visits in the tweets below: