Top 5s – Bayern Munich change kits
By Simon Treanor
- This series got underway last week with Celtic and now it’s the turn of Bayern Munich. See here for Simon’s blog where you can play Championship Manager 01-02 with the players and teams from 1989-90
So, Bayern’s new away kit is out and it’s… well it’s okay – somewhat familiar to fans of Swansea and Real Madrid perhaps, but not bad, certainly compared to some of the dreary examples of the past few years (I’m looking at you, 2019-20).
Nonetheless, it feels like a missed opportunity – I’ve always been of the view, as has MOJ I believe, that three colours on a kit are better than two, particularly with away kits, where clubs have more freedom to deviate from tradition, but this has been rare in recent Bayern change strips.
Bayern have had some superb away kits through the years, and I’ve been charged with making a top five, but they’ve had so many good change strips that I’ve decided to cheat. I just can’t decide. Instead I’ve decided to put them into four categories, choose a best of each and then a best overall. The categories are: plain white, multi-coloured, black/blue, and white+. All will be explained later and I hope to God white+ isn’t the name of a political party somewhere.
Plain white – 1989-91
Bayern’s traditional away kit is a simple reversal of the home colours: white with red trim. But, while that was almost all they wore until the 1990s, it’s barely been seen since then.
There have been lots of white away kits since, but with red often replaced by grey, maroon or orange, or supplemented with blue.
Now, plain white with blue and red trim would probably be my ideal Bayern away kit, but it’s only really been done twice, with the Teamgeist pattern in 2006 and with diagonal pinstripes in 1987.
I’m going to pick from the classic design though, and choose 1989-91, its last appearance until the 2008/09 third kit*, a very smart almost-exact replica.
* Unless your name is Emil Kostadinov
Multi-coloured – 1993-96
The need for three kits per season has meant that Bayern, like most clubs, have worn a wide array of different colours.
This began in earnest this century, but there are some notable earlier examples – a Brazil-style kit worn in the 1980s, plus the grey and maroon outfit of the late 1990s that carries such happy memories. Since then, we’ve seen gold, cream, grey, maroon, and turquoise shirts, with varying degrees of success, but for my pick I’m going back to the 90s and the yellow and green kit from 1993-96.
I’ve always liked the ‘Equipment’ design, which looks even better with three colours. There hasn’t been a yellow Bayern kit since, and it’d be nice to see a modern tribute.
Blue/Black – 2011-12
Blue is a contentious colour in the world of Bayern home kits, but with away shirts less so.
Wherever blue has been used on a change strip, it’s been a darker shade, presumably because the lighter blue seen on the badge and on some home kits would look too much like 1860 if used as a primary colour. Therefore, it makes sense to categorise it with black here, and both colours have been seen regularly since the 2000s.
There have been a number of smart, fairly plain, kits in both colours – it’s hard to go wrong with either really (although I do wish they’d stop using orange as a trim colour), but for my favourite, I’m going to go for one that adds a little more.
The multi-toned stripes of the 2013-14 strip are very pleasant, and it was nice to see the 1997-99 home kit resurrected in its proper role – as an away strip – in 2017-18. For me, though, it has to be the 2011-12 third – the small red and white band across the chest just adds so much. It’d be even better in navy, but that’s a different kind of article.
White+ – 2014-15
The white+ category covers anything that has a white base but with any embellishment that isn’t just trim.
This can include stripes, hoops, or, in the case of last season, mountains. The first example is probably the Equipment stripes of 91-93, although you could argue that was adidas’s version of a plain kit back then. The turn of the century brought two kits with a lot of red on, which may have made sense for the first season, when Bayern’s home kit was navy blue, but didn’t really serve their purpose after that.
More recently, there have been some really smart designs, and I’m torn between two in particular, from consecutive recent seasons.
The 2015-16 away has a really nice motif with a chest band of various shades of red and grey, but the one that came before, with its subtle shades of blue, maroon and grey has to go down as my favourite.
Overall – 1996-97
My favourite Bayern away kit of all, though, is another that fits into the last category: the 1996-98 away, as seen in the 1996 Uefa Cup final.
It fits so many of the criteria for a Bayern away kit that I’ve just made up: more than two colours, these three colours in particular, and a neat but interesting design.
Itself a tribute to an historical kit, It hasn’t been resurrected since – and won’t be this season, clearly – but we live in hope.