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Bayern ahead of trend-setting test run in Champions League against Barcelona

FOOTBALL By Xinhua | September 14th 2021
August 14, 2020 Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller celebrates scoring their first goal with Serge Gnabry, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS

The 2021/2022 Champions League campaign has turned into a test run for Bayern Munich.

The 2020 treble winner seems to want to prove that international success can be achieved following an alternative concept.

The Bavarians kept out of the overheated transfer market and costly activities initiated by several leading European clubs.

Bayern's group opener against Spanish giant FC Barcelona this Tuesday might deliver the first hints of how successful the reigning German Champions concept can be.

In advance of the duel against Barca, former Bayern CEO and UEFA-Executive-Commission member Karl-Heinz Rummenigge demanded UEFA and FIFA take actions to gain re-control of the transfer market that in his perspective "got out of control."

The 65-year-old said the huge investments made by Premier League sides and Paris Saint-Germain under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, "are difficult to understand."

The Spanish La Liga losing its most valuable icons Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the former German international called an "own-goal," caused by an excessive spending policy.

Rummenigge renewed Bayern's commitment not to join an unlimited race leading to financial turbulences.

The 1974 world champion said chances of the Bundesliga to keep a star such as Erling Haaland, are rather small. Rummenigge is expecting a competitive race in the case of the Norwegian striker.

As Haaland can count on an exit-clause worth assumedly 75 million euros, the club paying the highest salary will cross the finish line first, Rummenigge is predicting.

He said a transfer of that size is close to impossible for Bayern, Germany's financially most potent side. "We won't join the line of applicants."

Rummenigge said, UEFA will take a close look at the recent activities, but a final judgment can only be made by summer 2022, "when all figures come to an investigation."

Bayern might have secured its exceptional position in the national league by crushing domestic rival RB Leipzig last weekend 4-1, crossing swords with Barca means to enter a higher stage.

Despite a reluctant spending policy, Bayern intends to stick to his claims to always reach the last four of the Champions League.

Despite its sense-making financial restrictions, the German Bundesliga must think about future strategies to face international challenges, he said. Rummenigge suggested leaving it to every club to decide to what extent doors for new investors open.

To address his new club's demands, coach Julian Nagelsmann only implemented small changes in his team's tactics. Youngsters such as Josip Stanisic (21), Jamal Musiala (18), and Alphonso Davies (20) made their way into the first team.

According to media reports, Bayern signed Croatian talent Lovro Zvonarek from Slaven Belupo for 1.8 million euros. The 16-year-old will stay at his home club on loan for another year.

Trying to deliver a satisfying start in this Champions League season, Nagelsmann can count on Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman. Both returned to training after slight injuries, while Serge Gnabry is side-lined due to an injury.

 

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