Although their on-field performance has been generally phenomenal in recent years, Bayern Munich have rather lagged behind in their public relations performance. Just as their image as giants among European clubs has reemerged, a number of rather disastrous and often self-inflicted blows to their image have harmed the club.
Earlier this year, longstanding Bayern chairman Uli Hoeness was jailed for tax evasion. The club generally did well to frame their sales of fan favorites Mario Mandzukic (whom Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggested to FAZ (h/t Goal.com) might be unwilling to compete for a starting spot) and Toni Kroos (whom Pep Guardiola told mixed media (via Goal.com) Bayern did everything they could to retain) in a favorable way. However, some have postulated that offering €7 million (according to Bild) annual wages to Kroos was not nearly "everything" Bayern could do and that Guardiola leaving Mandzukic out of his DFB-Pokal final squad effectively made the Croat's mind for him.
Similarly, Bayern have done well to gloss over their having effectively forced Jupp Heynckes to retire by signing Guardiola before the veteran trainer had made a final decision (as reported by Markus Feldenkirchen and Juan Moreno of Der Spiegel) despite some objections from Bayern fans and neutrals alike.
However, there are some areas where Bayern's image remains hugely tarnished and continues to be soiled on a regular basis.
The club is widely regarded in Germany and abroad as one that preys on weaker Bundesliga teams, signing stars to weaken rivals by offering astronomical wages to impressionable young talents who in many cases can expect little chance of competing for regular minutes. Bayern's pursuit of Sinan Kurt and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's recent remarks about Marco Reus have only further cemented these impressions in recent weeks.
As if all the aforementioned wasn't enough, Bayern ended their USA tour on rather sour terms on Wednesday night, with Guardiola refusing to shake the hand of MLS All-Star coach Caleb Porter. The sole purpose of visiting the United States was to strengthen Bayern's image in the Americas, and every bit of good the club did until that point may have been erased with the moment that has been portrayed in American media as Guardiola being a sore loser and projecting his frustration with an individual opposing player onto the respectful Porter.
Bayern have come a long way in footballing terms in recent years, but still have plenty to do if they are to improve their image and gain the moral high ground. Let's take a look at what the club can do to improve its public perception.