- Language Tips
Some of the heroes of Euro 2012 will play before their Chinese fans this month as several of Europe's top clubs have confirmed friendlies in China.
Premier League trio Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United announced their China tour schedule some time ago, and Bundesliga teams Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg confirmed their timetables in Guangzhou on Friday.
The German sides will play the 2012 Audi Football Summit at Guangzhou Olympic Sports Center on July 26 and three other games with Chinese clubs.
Bundesliga giant Bayern Munich, with 22 domestic league championships and four European Champions League titles, contributed eight players to the German team, which was one of the title favorites at Euro 2012, but lost to Italy 2-1 in the semifinals.
Andreas Jung, deputy executive board member of Bayern Munich, promised the club will bring all of its German internationals, including national team captain Philipp Lahm, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, forward Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez, to Guangzhou 12 years after the club's last visit to China, when Bayern beat Shanghai Shenhua 3-0 in Shanghai.
"We'll be here with the entire squad, including our eight Germany internationals," Jung said. "China for sure is not only a big country, it is also a very important football market, so after 2000, the last time we were here for a match, we are very happy that Audi has helped us to have a platform to play in China again.
"We think China is a very important country because the Bundesliga is also shown here on TV and we know we have a lot of fans in China. Therefore we must give them the chance to see the players live," Jung said.
Like many other European clubs, playing summer friendlies is only the first step in the club's commitment in China. Bayern has already extended its Youth Cup to this country, which aims to provide opportunities for children from disadvantaged areas who have outstanding skills to show their talents in Munich.
"We have planned several things and want to come more than one time. We are looking for a long-term plan in China," Jung said. "We also held a Youth Cup here for the first time this year. We are thinking of staging many more activities in the Chinese market."
Bayern will play Chinese Super League club Beijing Guo'an in Beijing on July 24. Wolfsburg has a busier schedule. It will meet Changchun Yatai in the north and Shanghai Shenhua in the east in three days following the Audi Football Summit in South China.
Wolfsburg assistant coach Pierre Littbarski said the tight schedule provided a great opportunity for the club to test its new signings.
"It is the beginning of the preparation time (for the coming Bundesliga season) and we have signed some players, so it's a great opportunity for the coach to see the players," Littbarski said. "It's quite a tough schedule, but our coach actually likes these tough matches under difficult circumstances.
"It's a great opportunity for us to build up a little relationship with China. I saw someone from the supporters' club of Bayern Munich here, and our target is to have also somebody sitting in the green of Wolfsburg."
July 24: Bayern Munich vs Beijing Guo'an, Beijing
July 25: Manchester United vs Shanghai Shenhua, Shanghai
July 26: Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg, Guangzhou
July 27: Manchester City vs Arsenal, Beijing
July 28: Wolfsburg vs Changchun Yatai, Changchun
July 29: Wolfsburg vs Shanghai Shenhua, Shanghai