Bavarian Football Works is a blog all about my favorite soccer club, German powerhouse Bayern Munich. It is categorized as one of SB Nation’s 310 blogs; SB Nation is one of the fastest-growing online sports communities. The founders of this “fan-centric network” pride themselves on developing grassroots sports blogs written by many well-respected native journalists. Their coverage extends across all major sports – baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and soccer – as well as niche athletics such as mixed martial arts, water polo, and cycling. That said, I chose to focus on Bavarian Football Works in order to bring some more [deserved] attention to the kings of Europe and to become more engaged in a community of fellow Bayern fans. Unbelievably, I only know one other close friend who is a fan of Der FCB, so it’ll be nice to discuss soccer in a hospitable environment.
BFW’s homepage contains a ton of information about FC Bayern and even match reports for FCB Frauen, the women’s team in Munich, and FCB II, Bayern’s reserve squad. Everything from Champions League previews, game threads, and results, to player training and injury reports to youth team analyses is contained on a single page. Embedded on the home page are also videos from SB Nation’s other blogs, trending soccer stories about other well-known clubs, and other articles about the club tactics, players, and coaching. BFW also contains two very unique outlets for fan discussion, analysis, debate, and link sharing. In their “Fanposts” page, anyone can create a new thread to discuss anything Bayern-related; Super Cup reactions, Summer Transfer Window thoughts, and even “An Explanation of the Stars Above Bayern’s Crest” have already been addressed. In this last piece (written by SCS100), the issue of how stars are added to soccer clubs’ crests is tackled. As a result of Bayern having won its fifth European Cup/Champions League title, many fans are expecting a fifth star to be added onto the 2014 version of their jerseys. However, the author cites that the addition of stars to German soccer crests has nothing to do with any competitions outside of domestic play; the system awards a star for 3 league titles, two stars for 5 titles, three stars for 10 titles, and four stars for 20 titles. Bayern’s history of excellence renders them the only team with four stars celebrating 22 Bundesliga championships. Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach are next with two stars (5 titles) and Werder Bremen (4), Hamburger SV (3), and VfB Stuttgart (3) each wear a single star. The majority of other leagues around Europe follow Italy’s model of one star per 10 titles; this list includes Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland. Outstanding exceptions to this rule include Manchester City, who wear “three stars in an attempt to look cool” and Panathanaikos who wears three stars to celebrate making it to 1971 European Cup final, 1985 European Cup semifinals, and the 1996 UEFA Champions League semifinals. Consequently, these teams are openly mocked by opposing fans for blatantly ignoring tradition and adopting counterfeit logos.
In another interesting piece, Ryan Cowper considers Gerd Muller’s record-setting feat of 68 goals for Die Mannschaft, Miroslav Klose’s equaling [and soon-to-be passing] of this record, and the future of German goal scoring. Cowper first mentions that Gerd Muller scored 68 times in only 62 international appearances, lending him a 1.1 G90 (goal per 90-minutes). This is a feat unlikely to ever be matched, similar to Ted Williams’ .406 batting average, Jerry Rice’s 22 touchdowns in 12 games, and Alan Shearer’s 260 goals in the EPL. Regardless, Miroslav Klose tied Muller’s mark last Friday, inevitably provoking some statistical comparisons. Klose, who has earned a line of 0.73 G90, is known to perform his best on the big stage. His highest G90s are in matches leading up to and during the Euro and World Cups, so his consideration as one of the premier scorers in German history is sufficiently warranted. Using the G90 values as multipliers, Cowper predicts the German striker will finish his international career with 80 goals, far surpassing Gerd Muller’s 35-year old record. Next, he begs the question: “who will be the next great German scorer?” After briefly bringing up Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez, he dismisses them due to their diminishing relevance on the global stage as their roles are filled by the up and coming German talent. One key player he mentions is 24-year old, Thomas Muller. Though his overall G90 is much lower than Klose’s (0.39), Muller is predicted to finish with 57 goals by age 31 and 79 by age 35 (if he makes it that far). There is no doubt that Cowper’s analysis is a classic example of excessive extrapolation and projection, but it also could mean “we could already be watching the next great German goal scoring legend at work for the national squad.”
Fanatics can also share other forms of media, including links, quotes, images, videos, and more on the “Fanshots” section of the site. One of my favorite posts includes a video of David Alaba showing off his foot, juggling, and shooting skills in a German television studio. The rest of the blog is separated into “Sections” where Bayern’s performance in the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB Pokal are tracked and where fans can read about transfer rumors. Basically, it is a more specific way to search for articles that would normally appear on the information-overloaded homepage.