Bayern Munich has reacted angrily to headlines in The Sun and the Daily Mirror newspapers, after they published puns on Bastian Schweinsteiger's name on their front pages. Neither outlet is welcome in Munich next week.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was awarded a second yellow card in stoppage time during Tuesday's 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola was furious at the decision by Spanish referee Carlos Velasco, clearly signaling from the touchline that he thought United stalwart Wayne Rooney had dived. Replays revealed that Rooney had certainly not moved heaven and earth to stay on his feet, but also suggested Schweinsteiger was in the wrong.
The red card, and subsequent one-match suspension for Bayern's vice captain, means he will miss the Champions League quarterfinal second leg at the Allianz Arena.
Also absent on April 9 will be journalists from the British tabloids which on Wednesday captioned front-page pictures of Schweinsteiger with "You dirty Schwein" (Daily Mirror) and "Red, red Schwein" (The Sun). The Sun's front page caption was a step back from the earlier online headline "You Schwein!" published after the match. Bayern on Thursday announced that neither daily paper would receive accreditation for the second leg as a result of the "disrespectful and insulting" headlines.
"Schwein" in German is the word for "pig," and also a more generic derogatory insult. Because of the Germanic-rooted English word "swine," which serves an almost identical dual role, it is also one of comparatively few German words broadly known among English speakers. Both the Mirror and the Sun are renowned for inventive, and often provocative, headlines.
Mia san miffed
"In the Champions League in particular UEFA is calling for 'Respect' in a large, continent-wide campaign," Bayern said in a statement. "Every player carries this word on their jerseys at every match, all the participants of this competition are obliged to maintain this principle of respect."
Bayern Munich found perhaps unlikely support on Thursday from German journalists' organizations, which tend to fall on the side of press freedom when in doubt.
"These headlines are clearly below the belt and could not be printed in Germany - the press code would forbid it," said Hendrik Zörner, a spokesman for the DJV (German Federation of Journalists).
Schweinsteiger and Rooney engaged in a heated exchange, leaning in eye-to-eye but sharing only words, after the tackle. The German midfielder felt his opponent had sought to exaggerate the contact; Rooney also had a reason to want referee Velasco to stop the game, having played a sloppy pass straight to a Bayern player moments before Schweinsteiger slid in late.
The Bayern midfielder scored the Bavarians' only goal on the night at Old Trafford, leveling the score after Nemanja Vidic's opener earlier in the second half. Bayern remain bookmakers' favorites to progress in their mission to defend the Champions League title, but Guardiola and co. might have hoped for a more conclusive first leg result.
msh/hc (dpa, SID)