MLS announces Bayern Munich as opponent for 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Portland's JELD-WEN Field
When the Portland Timbers announced in July that their own JELD-WEN Field would play host to the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, club owner Merritt Paulson promised an opponent that was the biggest global soccer name to ever play in the Rose City.
Bayern Munich certainly fit the bill.
Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that the reigning champions of Europe will take on the MLS All-Stars on Aug. 6 at JELD-WEN Field, marking the first time that the best of MLS will take on a German Bundesliga side in the league’s summer showcase.
“The AT&T MLS All-Star Game is one of the premier soccer events on the North American sports calendar,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “We are pleased that Bayern Munich, one of the most prominent and successful clubs in the world, will be part of our All-Star celebration. This will be the first MLS special event in Portland since the Timbers joined the League in 2011.
"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. We look forward to showcasing this phenomenon to the rest of the world.”
The game – which will be televised live on ESPN2 and UniMás in the United States, TSN and RDS in Canada, and in more than 130 countries worldwide – marks the 11th time in the event’s 19-year history that an international club will take on the All-Stars.
Bayern Munich are the third club with a European championship under its belt to take the All-Star stage, following Chelsea (2006 and 2012) and Manchester United (2011 and 2012).
“It’s an honor for us to be the first German club to play the MLS All-Star Game,” Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola said in a statement. “MLS is experiencing great development and we are very much looking forward to compete against the best players of MLS.”
The All-Stars have a 5-3-1 record against international competition in the game after a 3-1 loss to Italian Serie A side AS Roma this past summer in Kansas City.
Bayern captured the 2013 UEFA Champions League title by emphatically taking down the pre-tournament favorites FC Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate in the semifinals, before winning the final 2-1 over Borussia Dortmund. It was the fifth European title for Bayern, but their first in 12 years.
The Champions League title was one of three trophies secured during the 2012-13 campaign, as Bayern also added their 23rd Bundesliga title and the German Cup. In late August, Bayern defeated Europa League champions Chelsea FC in penalty kicks to win the 2013 UEFA Super Cup – their fifth official title this year.
Bayern could add another title later this month, as the club begins play at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco on Dec. 17.
Bayern currently boast a lineup of international superstars, such as Franck Ribéry (France), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Mario Mandzukic (Croatia) and Javi Martínez (Spain), together with German national team stalwarts, such as Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mario Götze and Thomas Müller.
The club is currently unbeaten in the Bundesliga and in first place this season with 41 points.
The match marks the first MLS All-Star Game held at the 20,674-seat JELD-WEN Field, which was remodeled ahead of the Timbers’ MLS expansion season in 2011. The Timbers have sold out every regular-season game since their debut and two postseason games there last month.
The MLS All-Star Game will be the first major league all-star event of any kind played in the Rose City.
“We are very pleased to welcome Bayern Munich – easily the biggest club to play in Portland,” Paulson said in a statement. “The inclusion of Bayern Munich to the 2014 AT&T All-Star Game complements an already historic, world-class event for the city of Portland and Major League Soccer.”