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Culture

Makaay Boosts Bayern's Bid for Euro Glory

Bayern Munich pulled out all the stops to secure the signing of Dutch international striker Roy Makaay in an attempt to mount a more serious assault on the European Champions League this season.

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A former thorn in the side becomes a rose in the Bayern garden


It’s a well known fact that German soccer clubs have been experiencing financial woes in the wake of the television rights crisis that has plagued the Bundesliga for the past two seasons. As if to emphasis the point further, the summer transfer market in Germany was relatively quiet with the big clubs seemingly satisfied with their current squads as the season came closer to kick off.

Even the champions were spending thriftily on the eve of their title defense. That is until this week when Bayern Munich revealed on Monday that Dutch striker Roy Makaay would be joining them from Deportivo La Coruna in Spain for an undisclosed sum. The fee is rumored to be somewhere between Deportivo’s estimated €20 million ($22.61million) price tag and Bayern’s offer of €16 million, with some voices whispering that it could be the second most expensive in the league’s 40-year history. The 28-year-old could start repaying that financial layout when he makes his debut in the Bundesliga game at Hanover 96 on Saturday, August 9.

Euro hopes boosted by arrival

Makaay, who won the Golden Boot award for Europe's top scorer last season, after netting 29 goals in 38 league matches for Deportivo, joins the Bavarian giants in a four-year deal as they prepare to defend their standing as number one in the Bundesliga and steel themselves for another assault on the European Champions League. After the disappointment of last season’s short-lived European adventure, Makaay’s arrival is expected to strengthen the team as Bayern goes up against the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus Turin and Manchester United.

Michael Ballack von Bayern München

Bayern will be hoping for a better European challenge this year.

The irony will not be lost on the many Bayern fans who have enthusiastically welcomed Makaay to the club. Makaay was instrumental in setting the wreaking ball in motion on Bayern’s ill-fated and disastrous foray into last season’s Champions League campaign. As the main danger man for Deportivo, Makaay scored three times in the Olympic Stadium as Bayern opened their campaign with a 3-2 defeat to the Primera League team and consequently failed in their attempt to reach the second phase of the competition.

Deal completed in nick of time

Makaay will now be eligible for Bayern’s Champions League games as the deal went through before Deportivo played in the third qualifying round of the tournament which takes place on August 13. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said earlier in the week that if Deportivo registered Makaay for the Champions League, the transfer would have been called off; such is the club’s desire to build their European campaign around him.

Makaay’s arrival will also spark a competition for places in the team as the current first choice striking duo is made up of Giovanni Elber and Claudio Pizzaro. But as the club's supervisory board chairman Franz Beckenbauer said on Monday, "I am certain that we need a third top striker alongside Elber and Pizarro for a long season."

Beckenbauer wields his influence

FC Bayern München AG

Franz Beckenbauer rates Makaay highly.

Beckenbauer was personally involved in persuading commercial manager Uli Hoeness to pursue Makaay, saying during the transfer negotiations that the club should meet Deportivo’s conditions if they wanted to capture the Dutchman’s signature. "Such a player would be an enrichment for Bayern and the entire Bundesliga. Whether we have to pay a million more is not important."

It’s no surprise that Makaay is such a coveted player. The Dutchman started his career at Vitesse Arnhem in his native country where he scored 11 goals in his first full season during the 1995/96 campaign. He almost doubled that tally in his last season in Holland before moving to Tenerife where he managed only 21 goals in his two years with the club. Things really took off when Makaay joined Deportivo in 1999.

Accustomed to honors

As well as scoring 79 league goals in four seasons with the club and nine times in last season's Champions League, Makaay also won the Liga title and the Spanish Super Cup in 2000 and the Spanish Copa Del Rey and a second Super Cup in 2002. Bayern will be hoping that Makaay’s expertise will help them to secure more honors at home and abroad.

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