Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer has ignited the debate in Germany as to whether Bayern Munich II should be allowed to gain promotion from the Dritte Liga and compete in the second tier of German football.
Bayern II claimed an historic first-ever Dritte Liga title this season under trainer Sebastian Hoeneß, but will not enjoy promotion to Bundesliga.2 as the current DFL regulations prohibit a reserve side/ B team/U-23 side from competing in the second tier.
Hainer has suggested this is detrimental to the players development and harms their chances of progressing into the Bayern first-team. “A performance athlete strives for the maximum — and wants to move up if he can move up. I think that we definitely should think about that in Germany. It’s understandable that two teams from the same club cannot play in one league. But, for example, in the first and second league — why not?” he told the club’s magazine 51.
“More and more talents are knocking on the door to the pros, our work with the youth is becoming more and more a source of young players — at last, since David Alaba was the last who made the jump over ten years ago.”
Bayern’s argument is that current young talents like Lars-Lukas Mai and Angelo Stiller are not ready for the first team yet but would really benefit their development by playing in the second tier. An option would be to allow them to leave the club on loan, but then they are away from the Bayern bosom and not part of the club in the true sense of the word. The danger is also that these loans see the players disappear permanently as has been the case with Marco Friedl, who is now a Werder Bremen player.
If you are a Bayern fan and focussed solely on the good of your club and the continuation of their unbridled success, then you will see a lot of sense in Herbert Hainer’s suggestion and will be looking forward to an increased flow of home-grown players into the first team squad.
All other fans will be totally against allowing Bayern II into the Bundesliga.2 and will just see the move as another way of the Bavarians dominating the leagues, gaining a larger slice of the financial pie and stockpiling players to the detriment of the rest of the country. As it stands the current Bayern II squad has value of some €16.1 million. Their nearest competitors are Ingolstadt, whose squad value totals €7.95 million.
Fans will accuse Bayern of egoism. Not content with dominating the Bundesliga for eight consecutive seasons and hoovering up talent such as Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, Benjamin Pavard, and Alexander Nübel, they now want to extend that dominance to the second division.
Bayern fans will argue that Chris Richards (as an example) would develop just as well with Bayern II in the second tier as he would if his proposed loan to Union Berlin goes through. It all depends which side of the Bayern line you stand.
B teams are also excluded from playing in the DFB Pokal since a rule change in 2009. There has been some precedent for two teams from the same club meeting in the cup with Bayern playing their reserve side in 1977, while both Kaiserslautern (1997-98) and VfB Stuttgart (2000-01) have been drawn against their reserve teams.
The situation exists in Spain whereby a second team can play in the second tier, but that hasn’t been an issue since Barcelona B were relegated from the Segunda in 2018.