2002 Bayern Munich European home shirt started a partnership that outlasted Lahm

FSC Approved – 2002 Bayern Munich European home shirt

Heading into the 2021/22 season, the football world is mourning the loss of Pirelli as Inter Milan’s sponsor.

Sponsors endure something of a curious relationship at the best of times with the footballing world, but every so often a company comes along and finds favour with fans on account of their longevity and/or aesthetic quality. Pirelli were one such sponsor, adorning a plethora of great Inter shirts without getting in the way of proceedings.

Though few sponsors, if any, could match up to Pirelli’s standard, another partnership in Europe bears resemblance to the great combo. Bayern Munich and T-Mobile have been together for almost 20 years, and we’re taking a closer look at one of the first Bayern x T-Mobile shirts in today’s edition of FSC Approved.

In what is one of the more interesting traditions teams have, Bayern made use of a European home shirt for their 2002 Champions League campaign. The choice to use an alternate home and/or away shirt for European competition is something of a dying art, but in the early 00s Die Roten ran out in a classic red strip, in comparison to the maroon home shirts they were using at the time.

For the maroon shirts, the classic Opel sponsor was used as it had been since the turns of the 90s, but for the red European shirts a new name entered the fray: T-Mobile.

The red European home shirt possessed all the classic features of early 00s adidas, with deeper red side panels in a mesh style and classic three stripe detailing that ran all the way along the length of the sleeves. As with many of the shirts at the time, the overall fit of the shirt was quite baggy almost as if it was an overflow of the 90s where loose shirts were on the rage.

This combination of a loose fit combined with the timeless adidas features gave the shirt 2002 Bayern Munich European home shirt of a casual look, though despite its quality the team sadly took the casual idea a bit too far, finishing bottom of a tricky Champions League group that included AC Milan, Deportivo de La Coruña and Lens.

There were glimmers of hope however. During the European campaign, a certain Philipp Lahm made his first team debut. It would be Lahm’s sole appearance before a two-year loan spell at Stuttgart, but when he returned he laid down a position that would remain right through until 2017.

Throughout that entire time, Bayern have been sponsored by T-Mobile. The configuration of the sponsor has undergone various iterations, including the original “T-Mobile”, “T-Com”, “T-Home” and for the past decade, a single “T”, but it’s presence on Bayern’s shirts has been a comforting staple.

It says a lot about T-Mobile that they outlasted Lahm, but they’re showing no signs of slowing up with nearly 20 years at both the Olympiastadion and Allianz Arena. If I was betting man, I’d expect them to break the 26 year Inter x Pirelli milestone.


What is FSC Approved?

What makes a football shirt good? It’s a purely subjective question, right?

Whilst there are indeed a lot of subjective elements when it comes to shirts, there are still factors to consider. Sometimes, a design is notable for its unique aesthetic. The colourway, pattern or construction may have gone where no shirt dared to go before it, or it might simply be a particularly good utilisation of a classic approach. Other times, a legendary player elevates a design to immortality, even if the design in question would’ve been hard to pick out of a crowd before.

FSC Approved logo

Our series FSC Approved will be a lovingly curated list of shirts that deserve to be in the conversation as good, possibly even great football shirts, no matter who you support or what your taste in shirts is. Old classics, new contenders, if it’s FSC Approved it’s as close to a certified banger as you can get.

Phil Delves

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