Bayern Munich To Play MLS All-Stars
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The 2014 Major League Soccer All-Star game will be against legendary German club Bayern Munich, the reigning European and Bundesliga champions.
The All-Star game will be played in August at Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers. The MLS All-Star game has pitted league stars against top-flight foreign clubs for the past 10 years.
The match will conclude a weeklong tour of North America, Bayern’s first trip to the region in a decade. Also the reigning German Cup champion, Munich is currently ranked atop the Bundesliga and hasn’t dropped a league match.
The team’s itinerary for the tour, apart from the All-Star game, has not been announced.
“Becoming the first German club to contest the MLS All-Star Game is an honor,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said on the club’s official website. “MLS has developed very positively in recent years and we’re looking forward to taking on the league’s best players.”
Joerg Wacker, a Munich board member who overseas internationalization strategy for the club, said it is hoped the tour will attract new supporters to the century-old team. Bayern has won a Bundesliga-best 23 league championships and five Champions League titles.
“We want to bring our brand, our team and our philosophy to the West and to our fans here,” Wacker said.
The team last played in the United States in 2005, when they defeated Manchester United on penalties at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Bayern has been aligned for more than 50 years with Adidas, the German shoemaker that has its North American headquarters in Portland. The campus hosted a news conference Thursday to announce Munich’s participation.
“I knew that Adidas was pushing it and I knew that Bayern was amenable, so I had a pretty good idea,” said Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, who campaigned for the All-Star game.
Last season’s MLS All-Star game was played in Kansas City against AS Roma, which won 3-1.
Next season’s All-Star match was pushed back to Aug. 6 to make it easier on players participating in the 2014 World Cup, said Mark Abbott, president and deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer.
The All-Stars will be coached by Caleb Porter, who led the Timbers to a 14-5-15 record this season and a spot in the Western Conference finals. Porter was named the MLS coach of the year.
“One of the great stories in Major League Soccer over the last number of years has been the enormous fan passion, civic support and stadium atmosphere in Portland,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “We look forward to showcasing this phenomenon to the rest of the world.”
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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