Given their propensity to make changes in the 1980s, three red shirts in a season for Bayern Munich probably doesn’t seem like a lot, but the club’s 2002-03 kit story does stand out as an oddity in the modern context.
The darker red shirt with charcoal sleeves (or ‘Maroc’ and ‘Raven’, as described by adidas) was in the second season of its two-year cycle as the first-choice strip domestically.
There was a new white change kit in the adidas style which had been premiered at the 2002 World Cup and the new Champions League shirt followed similar templates, in a more familiar shade of red with navy shorts, though a red set would be used against Deportivo La Coruña in a disappointing campaign which ended with elimination after the first group stage, with no wins in the six games.
In the Bundesliga, there was normal service though as Bayern regained the title, finishing 16 points ahead of second-placed VfB Stuttgart. That season, Bayern’s rivals 1860 Munich had a navy first-choice kit, which was deemed to clash with Bayern’s dark strip – light blue and white stripes were worn when they had ‘visited’ the Olympiastadion in September. When they played as the away team against 1860 in February, Bayern could have worn white against the navy but, as in 1997-98 and 1998-99, they opted to wear red against their rivals.
The Champions League kit would have seemed the best option but perhaps it was seen as unlucky after the poor European results, or maybe they had no set available in domestic configuration – as well as the different sleeve patches, in the Bundesliga Bayern had player numbers below the numbers, with the club name above them. Instead, the looked to the previous retro-styled European shirt, in which they had won the 2000-01 Champions League.
Now carrying the T-Mobile logo rather than that of Opel, it was worn with the white away shorts and socks (which featured guerrilla T-Mobile branding). The red-white-white look was unusual for Bayern, but it worked that day as Mehmet Scholl scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 win.