When thinking of Bayern Munich, one of the first words that springs to mind is ‘consistency.’ The Bavarian giants are the biggest club in Germany by some stretch, one of the powerhouses of European football, and perennially at the front of the queue when trophies are being handed out at the end of each season.
The level of coherence, uniformity and harmony that has led Bayern to becoming one of the biggest and most successful clubs on the planet, however, has not been reflected in their game day attire.
The Allianz Arena club’s home jersey has undergone a multitude of rethinks, redesigns, and reshuffles over the years, with the main colors sported by the team’s players often changing several times over the course of a decade before then returning to the original design.
Founded in 1900, Bayern initially registered its official team colors as white and blue, but they actually turned out in white shirts and black shorts for the first five years of the club’s existence.
At that point, a switch to red shorts was made. It is believed that the term ‘red shorts’ was thrown at the team’s young players at the time as a particularly unimaginative form of insult.
Shortly after, the Bayern shirt became a combination of white and a deep red. This remained the case up until the late 1960s and, to varying degrees, these are the colours that have predominantly formed the basis of the home jersey’s design ever since.
But within this color scheme, and with the odd variance from it, there has been plenty of fluctuation. The 1968/69 season saw Bayern turn out in red and blue stripes, for example, not dissimilar to how Barcelona are traditionally attired.
A couple of years later, red and white stripes were adopted. In 1973, a simpler red design was introduced, much closer to the arrangement that has been worn in recent seasons at the Allianz Arena.
The mid ‘90s brought a return to red and blue stripes for Bayern, before an all-navy jersey was released for the 1997/98 campaign. The following season saw a return to red but navy remained on the sleeves.
Aside from a throwback to red and white stripes for Champions League games during the 2009/10 season – in which, under the guidance of Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, Bayern almost won a league, cup and Champions League treble – red has been the dominant color for the Bavarians.
Keeping up? Luckily for Bayern, the constant changes to their playing attire has not hampered the club’s performances on the field. With 27 Bundesliga titles, they are by far the most successful club in German football history, while only Real Madrid (11) and AC Milan (7) can top their haul of five Champions League/European Cup triumphs.
Bayern’s rather unusual approach to kit design doesn’t end there, however. Supposedly in an aim to overcome a hoodoo held over them by Kaiserslautern during the 1980s and ‘90s, Bayern would wear a yellow and blue or green away kit when visiting the southwest German side. The colors were inspired by the Brazilian national team, and were worn to help reverse the club’s fortunes against this particular opponent.
It seems the more things change for Bayern Munich, the more they stay the same.
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