In this edition of Club Crawl, the chairman of Rot-Weiß Brazil, Kathleen, took the time to share her club’s story and the challenges they are faced with to support Bayern from over 9800 kilometers away. Rot-Weiß Brazil is yet another great example of how FC Bayern unites people all around the world.
|Location||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Social Media||Facebook, Instagram, Twitter|
Tell us the story of how your fan club was founded and what the fan club means to you and your members.
It all started at FC Bayern Munchen Brazil (which was one of the first Bayern fan clubs in Brazil) in 2008. At that time it was really difficult to find people that supported European teams and most of us were watching the games alone. It was with the help of social media, Orkut, that we met other supporters. We started to organize meetings to watch Bayern games and that is how the FC Bayern Munchen Brasil fan club was founded. Most of the time the meetings were in São Paulo but sometimes in other cities, like Rio de Janeiro, due to members living around the country.
Over the years the group created a friendship that goes beyond watching games together. We have become friends that go out to parties, concerts and other events together. In other words, we became a family.
However, over the past few years, FC Bayern Munchen Brasil was no longer acting like a fan club. The chairperson and people who founded the fan club were not actively involved. We were without leadership and most importantly, we were not recognized by Bayern because the leaders never bothered to register the club. In the end, FC Bayern Munchen Brasil became more a website about the team than a fan club.
It fell to us, the people that are friends and love Bayern, to keep this dream of a fan club alive. We were still doing our match viewings and trying to attract new members but it was just by ourselves. After all of the things we went through, we finally decided last year that we wanted to do everything properly and start a new chapter. We deserved it. The process with Bayern was very long but in February Rot Weiss Brazil was founded. Our fan club is national and we are very proud of what we have achieved. Things are going great now and we are right where we want to be.
Fun fact. After we started this “new era” we inspired other supporters to do the same and now there are several other official fan clubs here in Brazil including Rio, Minas and Santa Catarina.
Where and how do you watch Bayern games? Do you have special traditions (e.g. chants, food, beer, etc.) that you follow on matchday?
We always watch games at O’Malleys, which is the one pub here that all European supporters unite to watch their teams. It is not possible for us to watch every game because of time restrictions and/or scheduling issue but we try to watch as many as possible.
We have some special traditions like when Bayern score all of us drink beer or when we win a title we do the famous “Bier-Dusche”. We also like to repeat the goal celebrations like at Allianz Arena, sing the famous chants and of course, some of us are superstitious and like to wear a lucky t-shirt.
What has been your best experience as a fan so far?
When Paulaner discovered the fan club and invited us to go to Paulaner Oktoberfest here. It was super cool and very great to be recognized by one of the major partners of Bayern.
Which event of your fan club are you most proud of?
Most recently it was the Champions League match against Real Madrid. Even though we lost the tie, the people in the pub were insane. We were at a disadvantage due to the large number of Real fans there, but we supported Bayern with such love, and sang our chants and screamed so loud that in the end, the fans of the Real were silent and everyone in the pub was congratulating us for our enthusiasm.
Regardless of the final score, I was very proud of this.
How often do you or your fan club members come to Munich?
Some of us are able to travel every year but for most of the club this is not possible and we need to plan a little a bit. The reality for us Brazilians is that it is not so easy travel to Europe (specifically because of money). Some of us try to get to Munich every 2 or 3 years but many of our members have never been. We have plans to make a club trip in 2024.
What do your family and friends think about you watching all those Bayern games early in the morning/late at night?
I can speak for all of our members when I say that we are very often judged by our families and friends. They don’t understand our love and some people don’t respect it either. Especially after the 7-1, things are a little bit hard when we talk about the club (the Brazilians are very spiteful about that match). Most Brazilians think it is bullshit you support a team that is not from Brazil. The irony being that when someone from another country says they support a Brazilian team, they think it is wonderful. They also say that we are “modinhas” (people that only do something because it’s popular or because everybody is doing it). It’s not always easy but we we have learned how to deal with it. We love Bayern, no matter what others think about it.
How did you become a Bayern supporter in the first place?
I was raised in a German neighborhood so I always had contact with German culture and basic information about German teams. However, it wasn’t until 2005 that I started to watch the Bundesliga. Ever since I was kid I have loved football and every time there was a World Cup, I would study the national teams and learn more about how football is played in the countries that compete for the championship.
The first time that Bayern got my attention was the team with Kahn, Ballack. Lahm, Lúcio and Makaay and I thought “This team has courage and willpower, I really like the way they play!”. From there, I started to watch more Bayern games and research more about the history of the team and the players. The more I learned, the more I was delighted by what I found and when I realized I was in love, I decided that Bayern was the team that deserved my support.
Which German cultural tradition is most embraced by your fan club?
Our fan club is not just about football. We love Bayern but we also love Germany and their culture. Some of us are from German families and they have had contact with both German culture and the language since childhood, but largely we are just big admirers.
I’m very proud to say that all the members have a passion for German culture and always want to learn more or pass on the traditions. The German community in São Paulo is big, so it’s easy get in touch with it. We always have events, parties, movie clubs, stammtisch and classes to go to. The fan club always tries to participate and support the members in any way possible. We also have people that are members of famous German clubs and because of that are more involved in the culture. For instance, I’m one of the members of Sociedade Filarmônica Lyra and dancing Schulz.
Stay tuned for the next segment of our “Club Crawl” series as we make our way around the globe to give Bayern fan clubs a voice.