Heated Debate On ‘Bayern-Luck’

Bayern Munich's players celebrate during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig in Munich, Germany (Xinhua/Philippe Ruiz)

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti and Bayern Munich are in the midst of a heated discussion in Germany about bad manners at football matches. It is a debate animated by the widespread superstition that Bayern often pulls out wins at the last possible moment, a myth known as “Bayern-Dusel,” or “Bayern-Luck”….reports Asian Lite News

Bayern Munich’s players celebrate during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig in Munich, Germany (Xinhua/Philippe Ruiz)

The Italian coach claims he was attacked by a Berlin fan spitting at him after Bayern’s late equaliser which was scored in the sixth minute of overtime. The 57-year-old responded to the attack by showing his middle-finger which could be seen on a TV feed. Ancelotti is now facing an investigation by the German federation and most likely will be fined for misbehaviour, reports Xinhua news agency.

Bayern have long been accused of benefitting from unfair decisions on the part of referees, involving things like additional overtime and overwhelming luck.

In addition, media are reporting that referee Patrick Ittrich was also attacked by a “man spitting at him” in the arena of Hertha BSC. But Ancelotti can at least count on the moral support of most of his coaching colleagues in the Bundesliga.

“I can understand him fully. Sadly enough we see borders violated today more easily. But that is not a problem exclusive to football; it is a societal issue,” Moenchengladbach’s coach Dieter Hecking said.

“We should start to discuss the behaviour of many players wasting time on purpose,” Hecking added.

Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl was more circumspect: “I am not sure how I would react. And I am rather the calm type.”

Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke came to the defence of Ancelotti. “There is a point when it is enough. Who likes to be attacked like that?”

The incident has caused a widespread discussion in the world of German football about the responsibility of coaches and professional players to act as a good example for youngsters and fans.

Augsburg Director of Sport and 1990 World Champion Stefan Reuter says he understands Ancelotti’s reaction, but that the Bayern coach still has a responsibility to set an example. “Carlo Ancelotti knows it was not the right reaction. And he knows we all should rather be an example for good manners. But when someone is spitting at you, it is hard to stay calm.”

The most likely outcome is that Ancelotti will be fined several thousand euros but won’t be banned from any games.

Emotions at the Berlin arena got out of control after Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored the late 1-1 after five minutes and 56 seconds of overtime. Shortly before the 90th minute, overtime decisions of the referee were shown on a board to the crowd and the teams. In Berlin, five minutes were announced, which indicates the minimum of extra time. According to German rules, the referee can add more playing time when substitutions or injuries interrupt the original overtime.

While overtime in Germany was rather unusual until this season, that is not the case in all of Europe. English Premier League games have an average overtime of 6.2 minutes, Italy’s Serie A 5.1 and La Liga in Spain has an average overtime of 3.9 minutes. In advance of the current season, clubs, coaches and players were informed that the referees will be working with more overtime from the start of the 2016/2017 season.

According to the German football-magazine Kicker, the actual amount of overtime played in Berlin was only 2.5 minutes, as the additional five minutes were interrupted several times by substitutions and injuries.

“I am sorry, but to play more than five minutes (of overtime) is a bonus for Bayern,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai complained.

Though there is no hard evidence that “Bayern-Dusel” exists, fans of other clubs insist it is a factor. Three games in 2017 so far have validated this feeling. At Freiburg (2-1) Lewandowski scored the winning goal in the second minute of overtime. In Ingolstadt Arturo Vidal scored in the 90th minute and Arjen Robben made it 2-0 in the first minute of overtime.

Bayern claims to be the team with the most ambition and best mentality. “To score late goals is a case of mentality. We just don’t give up until the last second,” Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said.

“At a certain point luck is ability,” Bayern Munich assistant coach Hermann Gerland remarked,

The complaints about “Bayern-Dusel” grew rapidly in 2001 after Bayern Munich won the German Championship with a goal in the fourth minute of overtime making it 1-1 against Hamburger SV, while FC Schalke 04 were celebrating their first German title (assuming Bayern had lost after 90 minutes) after a 5-3 win over Unterhaching. While Schalke’s game was finished and fans were celebrating, the game in Hamburg went into extra time. Schalke was afterwards called the “champion of hearts.”