Bayern make history announcing Audi Cup field via live 3D holographic video
Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer is famously quoted as saying "without Gerd Muller's goals we would still be sitting around in a wooden shack on Sabener Strasse," explaining the Bavarians transformation from Munich mediocrity to the footballing powerhouse of today.
Fast-forward five decades from the good old days of those quaint timber huts. We are at what is normally a gymnasium inside Bayern's state-of-the-art facility, transformed into a futuristic scene from Star Trek to announce August's Audi Cup preseason tournament in Munich via live holographic video conferencing technology.
The effervescent Jurgen Klopp, aka Captain Kirk, soon outed himself as a keen Trekkie, while accepting the tournament invitation on behalf of Liverpool in a vivid orange training top. "I'm from a generation that loved watching Star Trek Enterprise (as it is called in Germany). It definitely feels like I am being beamed to Munich," he said with a beaming smile, looking very much at home in his surreal surroundings and seriously impressed by its reality and quality.
As for the summer tournament itself, Klopp believes the Audi Cup "holds a high sporting relevance" for the Reds. "We will have a month of training behind us then and want to see where we are. That's done best by playing against the best in the world," he added.
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, fresh from losing out to noisy neighbours Real once again in the Champions League semifinals, almost managed to conceal this week's disappointing exit, insisting "we are very happy to take part."
Accepting Atletico's first invitation to the Audi Cup, the Argentine brushed off reports he was about to say adios to Spain and is set to stay on for another crack at the Champions League with Los Rojiblancos next term. "I'm sort of here now and I'll also be here in Germany too in August," he said.
Meanwhile, Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti played the straight man with aplomb, welcoming his Liverpool and Atleti colleagues virtually. Although even the "King of Cool" must have felt like raising an eyebrow at the space-age setup. The Italian maestro, aka Captain Carlo, was the only coach live in the house and again the odd one out in his dark suit, as guest stars Klopp and Simeone were both beamed in club training gear via 3D hologram. This cutting-edge technology relayed the beaming trainers live to the audience in 3D without any need for special glasses -- or even the ones Klopp often tends to break anyway in his celebrations.
Christian Guenthner, Audi spokesman for "Sports Communications" told ESPNFC. "We believe it's a premiere in the world of sport. Jurgen Klopp and Diego Simeone saved 5,300 kilometres of air travel and some 15 hours of travel time, but could answer journalists' questions in real time along with Carlo Ancelotti," he said.
Judging by this news conference extravaganza, Bayern certainly have travelled a long way too and are light years away from those wooden shacks and their humble beginnings on Sabener Strasse.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.