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FCB II in ten-day Indian adventure

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FCB II in ten-day Indian adventure

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:00 pm

The Bayern second team, now known as FC Bayern II, enjoy a deserved reputation as one of the best 'finishing schools' in German professional football. Now, the reserve team is flying the flag for Germany's most successful club in the crucial developing football market of India.

An FCB II party arrived in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) after a fog-affected 26-hour journey on Thursday lunchtime, and will stay in the sub-continent until 23 January. "It's a fantastic occasion," commented junior team head Werner Kern.

Back in December 2005, the FCB second team took part in and won the IFA Shield in India. This time, the U-23s will spend most of their stay in Kolkata, before relocating on 20 January some 600 kilometres to the north to Siliguri, a city of half a million in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Training and friendlies

The Munich party hopes to achieve a number of goals. Coach Hermann Gerland will continue preparing his lads for the second half of the German third division programme, taking advantage of the warmer climate in India. "They can work hard and build up their fitness," remarked Kern. In total contrast to the big freeze in Munich, FCB II will work out on well-tended pitches with an air temperature of 28 degrees.

The team will also contest three friendly matches. On 18 January, FCB meet a Kolkata Police Commissioner's XI, a line-up likely to include a large contingent of current India internationals. The following day, the Munich youngsters take on East Bengal Club, one of Kolkata's two major clubs. The programme concludes on 21 January with a match against a Siliguri representative team playing as the Lord Mayor's XI.

All the matches will be broadcast live on local TV and there has been strong demand for journalistic accreditation, fulfilling another of Bayern's goals. Gerland and his men are in India to promote the FC Bayern brand. "It's also an image-building exercise," confirmed Kern, "we want to represent Bayern in a positive and friendly way."

The presence of former goalscoring legend and current FCB II assistant coach Gerd Müller is sure to generate further headlines. Bayern also hope to cement their existing strong relationship with the Indian FA in further talks, also covering the FC Bayern Football Academy, to be located 150 kilometres from Kolkata in Burdwan.

FCB's partnership with India

Last November, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge personally participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the project. "The fact we've entered a contractual agreement for an academy symbolises the seriousness of Bayern's commitment to one of the world's biggest future markets," the club chairman commented.

Bayern wish to bolster their reputation as a reliable and serious partner for Indian football, continuing to support the development of the game on the sub-continent. The FCB II tour will further this aim, and also includes a number of charity engagements. Finally, the trip is intended as a horizon-expanding experience for the young players. "The lads should take in something of the country while they're there. We won't overdo it in training," Gerland revealed.

Sense of anticipation

Kern underlined the educational aspect to the tour. "The lads will return to Munich with amazing impressions and memories," the junior team director said, "we aim not just to nurture footballers, but also well-rounded characters."
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