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Prestige friendly to boost brand awareness

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Prestige friendly to boost brand awareness

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:00 am

The flight from Doha to New Delhi only lasts two-and-a-half hours, but in reality, the emirate where FCB spent a week in training, and India, where the men from Munich take on the Indian national team in the AUDI Football Summit on Tuesday evening (local time), are worlds apart. The luxury and order of Qatar contrasts strongly with the bustling chaos of the subcontinent.

There is a wealth gap too. Qatari citizens boast a per capita income of approximately US$80,000, one of the highest in the world, but the comparable figure for India is approximately Rs.50,000, or around €775. There are, of course, incomparably more citizens: India's population is some 1.2 billion, compared to the relatively tiny state of Qatar at 1.7 million.

There was an understandable culture shock for the Bayern stars after they landed in the nation with the second largest population in the world at 4.30 pm local time on Monday afternoon, before transferring by bus at a crawl through the permanently jammed streets of Delhi in the direction of their team hotel.

The initial impressions were thrilling, fascinating and undeniably foreign, with a dash of surprise and even shock too. Poverty was ever-present, with dilapidated tin huts, open fires, folk openly living on the streets and drying their clothes there, skinny children, and cows running free: the cow is treated as sacred by Hindus.

Packed news conference

Once the men from Munich had checked in at their hotel, coach Jupp Heynckes and captains Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger addressed a news conference. An astonishing 150 local journalists crowded into the room. "We're looking forward to India," said Heynckes, "I'm very, very curious to find out about the culture." As Lahm pointed out: "We travel the world with Bayern, but we've never been here before."

After approximately an hour, the reporters' questions were all answered and the players retired to their rooms, before reappearing at 8 pm in the evening for an AUDI-sponsored dinner and reception in the ballroom of a neighbouring hotel. The dishes were local specialities, and the welcome speech was delivered by FCB board member and marketing director Andreas Jung.

Football tennis in the hotel

On the Tuesday morning ahead of the match against India, which is a farewell game for national hero and most-capped player Baichung Buthia, Heynckes supervised his men in a light workout at the hotel, featuring gentle stretching and a football tennis tournament, taken very much in a light-hearted vein.

Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller, Holger Badstuber and Jörg Butt were late arrivals for the workout, as the foursome had attended an AUDI sponsor's appointment at the Auto Expo, the biggest motor show in Asia. The players, hosted by Audi board members Thomas Sigi and Frank Drewes, spent around an hour posing for photos and giving interviews.

Important trip for the club

After that, all the players went for a rest and relaxation ahead of the evening kick-off. "The game was organised as part of our partnership with Audi. Our contract stipulates that we are available for one international match, and naturally we're happy to do it," explained director of sport Christian Nerlinger.

Indeed, the trip to India is extremely useful in more than one respect. Heynckes is treating the clash with the Indian national team as another important warm-up ahead of the Bundesliga restart fixture away to Mönchengladbach on 20 January. On the other hand, it makes enormous commercial sense, as Jung explained: "It's a positioning exercise for the Bayern brand in India and the rest of Asia."
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