MAN Truck & Bus
Something that is considered normal for FC Bayern Munich - which has been driving a MAN vehicle since 2008 - and is part of every home and away game, will be an absolute highlight for 1. FC Düren. MAN is surprising the amateur club for the game of its life and providing the German Oberliga fifth division team with a MAN Lion's Coach L as its team bus so that the team can take the journey from North Rhine-Westphalia to Munich with a powerful 500 horsepower (368 kW).
"We at MAN are extremely happy to be supporting the team of 1. FC Düren in the game of their lives," said Pietro Zollino, Head of Communications at MAN. "Everyone is aware that David is competing against Goliath here. That's why we are particularly proud to ensure equal opportunities, at least for the arrival of the two teams," he adds. "With this team bus, 1. FC Düren will not have to hide from FC Bayern Munich.
An individual design for the MAN Lion's Coach has been developed in recent weeks in close coordination with the club. It then took more than 100 working hours to intricately apply the design in the club colours with approximately 110m² of film. This means that the team bus of the winner of the Middle Rhine Cup does not need to hide away from that of the Champions League winner. The commitment of Dirk Ruhrig, the sports director of 1. FC Düren, who had hands-on involvement in applying the design to the coach, shows how delighted the Düren team is at the action taken by MAN.
"We are extremely excited about the MAN campaign," says Ruhrig. The entire club has been feverishly awaiting this match in the Allianz Arena for weeks and the team bus will certainly provide additional motivation for his team. "Everyone involved put their heart and soul into the action and the results are really impressive. Our players will leave the team bus with a lot of self-confidence," he says
Finally, the blue-yellow team bus drove to the training ground of 1. FC Düren and drew great attention among the players and coaching team who knew nothing about this surprise. Before training, MAN symbolically handed over the keys for the new team bus to the club. MAN will thereby ensure that the two teams are on a level playing field at least on the journey to the game. The ambitious goal of 1. FC Düren? To at least perform better than Schalke 04 or FC Barcelona!
Wolfgang Spelthahn, President of the 1st FC Düren, is also visibly thrilled and is looking forward to the journey in his own team bus. "The whole region stands behind our team and is eagerly awaiting the match of the year," says Spelthahn. The team bus is an absolute highlight and the game is something very special that the entire club will remember forever, he adds.
How proud the entire club is of its driving gem was evident in the days between the bus handover and the journey to Munich. The team bus quickly became the main attraction and the most popular photo motive of the whole city. Whether youth teams, sponsors or fans, everyone wanted their very own memorable shot with the Lion's Coach. President Wolfgang Spelthahn was so taken with the team bus that he personally drove the bus through the region in and around Düren and proudly presented the 3-axle newcomer. Anyone in Düren who had not yet been feverish about the game against FC Bayern was carried away by the euphoria. As a result, the odd fan expressed quiet hopes for the big surprise against FCB and the dream of the big cup sensation became a bit more tangible.
While the team bus drew all glances of the city, the players of 1 FC Düren conscientiously prepared themselves for their game of life in training. At dawn on October 13th, the time had finally come. After the obligatory corona test of the team, the bus was loaded and the 470 HP engine started for the trip to Munich. After all the players had taken their seats, no one wanted to swap the comfortable seat in their own team bus for a trip by plane or train. The boys visibly felt comfortable in their new "living room" and enjoyed the ride with card games, movies or a round of Mario Kart. In the evening the team finally reached the state capital Munich and was impressively welcomed by the red shining Allianz Arena just outside the city gates. A first goosebump moment for the players and a small foretaste of what to expect on Thursday evening when they drove up to the stadium in their blue and yellow team bus a few hours before the duel with FC Bayern Munich.
In the evening of October 15th, things got serious for the players of the 1. FC Düren. The team bus made its way from the team hotel to the stadium. The mixture of euphoria and nervousness on board the bus was literally tangible and the closer the shining Allianz Arena came, the more the tension grew. Past all the red and white banners and flags showing the numerous titles of FC Bayern, the bus drove deep into the Allianz Arena.
Up until the moment the doors of the team bus opened, MAN was able to ensure equal opportunities between the 20-time DFB Cup winner FC Bayern Munich and the winner of the Mittelrhein Cup, 1st FC Düren. Both teams drove to the Allianz Arena in an MAN Lion's Coach. A situation that the players of FC Bayern experience at every home game will remain in the memory of the players from Düren for the rest of their lives. With broad chests and motivated to the tips of their hair, both teams got off the bus and disappeared into the changing rooms.