As we touched on in the recent piece on Cork City, we like the fact that Bayern Munich like to mix things up with their home kits.
A quick perusal here (it hasn’t been updated since 2013, unfortunately – we would love to a Bayern version of CorkCityKits.com but tracking all of the variations could prove debilitating to our mental health) shows just how varied they have been. However, while they dabbled with striped shirts in the 1970s, for most of the 80s the look was solid.
As Spinal Tap might put it, the kit was ‘none more red’, apart from the necessary adidas trimmings in white and the club crest and sponsor.
The main kit worn in the 1990-91 season (we say main as there were quite a few derivatives) was a classic in this regard. That was to change utterly during the rest of the decade, however.
As we mentioned in our 1990-91 Serie A kits series, 1991 was a significant year in terms of kit design. Bolder and brasher was the order of the day, with adidas punishing the boundaries on whether kit elements were designs or trademarks. As well as issuing Bayern with their new aggressive template, they introduced blue to the kit (a more ‘traditional’ version was worn by Bayern’s amateur team). Austin Long of Soccer Nomad has a fairly sound theory that the blue was from the Bavarian flag, which is represented on the Bayern crest.
Two years later, and the design evolved, bringing with it more stripes and a further sprinkling of blue, this time on the sleeves as well. Incidentally, the same shorts were used, despite not being a perfect match for the newer stripe configuration.
Blue and red stripes was not a completely unknown look for Bayern as it has been seen in the 70s (and was revitalised in 2014 again), but the decision to pair the look with blue shorts and white socks in 1995 made for a very unusual visual. Pretty much exactly the same shirt, apart from a slight different in collar trim, would be given to Crystal Palace in 1996.
While a return to something more traditional might have been expected when another new kit was due in 1997, adidas instead continued to push the blue envelope, darkening it in the process. First seen on the final day of the 1996-97 season as Bayern celebrated winning another Bundesliga, one could have been forgiven for assuming that it was a change kit, so reversed were the colours from what would have been expected.
Of course, in Munich, blue had always meant 1860 rather than Bayern. For the stadtderby between the clubs during this kit’s lifespan, Bayern did turn out in red for their ‘home’ games at the Olympiastadion – a stock adidas design used by France and Rangers.
When the time came for another change in the summer of 1999, the logical step – following the pattern of recent offerings – would have been to ditch the red completely and have a blue and white kit, but instead Bayern were outfitted in what, in our view, became an instant classic, right down to the hooped socks.
The shirt following that in 2001 was a similar design but in a darker red and, apart from the 2014-15 kit and the red-and-white striped 2010-11 anniversary kit, red has remained dominant. We’ll always have the 90s, though.