May 24 - German sportswear makers Adidas and Puma renew their rivalry when teams Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund go head to head in Europe's Champions League Final at Wembley. Ciara Sutton reports.
It's the first all-German Champions League final ever - Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund. But they're not the only ones limbering up for a battle. German sportswear makers Adidas and Puma will be renewing their decades-old rivalry. Adidas is the long-standing kit supplier to Bayern and owns a stake of around nine percent in the club, while Puma became the sportswear partner of Dortmund a year ago. But Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer insists it's healthy competition. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADIDAS CEO, HERBERT HAINER, SAYING: "For me it doesn't make a difference whether it is a Nike team or a Puma team. I mean obviously I would like to have two Adidas teams in the final, but unfortunately Real didn't make it." Adidas and Nike dominate the football market which is estimated to be worth over 4 billion euros. But Puma is playing catch-up, and a win this weekend would be a huge boost for business. It's been focussing on football in recent years, pulling out of sailing and European rugby, and ploughing money into sponsorship deals. And it seems German clubs could be the preferred choice for big brands. Bayern and Dortmund are the top two teams in the Bundesliga which boasts the largest crowds in Europe, is largely profitable and produces a crop of talented young players. Pierre Briancon is from Reuters Breakingviews. He says a focus on developing young players is the key to a club's success. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COMMENTATOR, PIERRE BRIANCON, SAYING: "Clubs aren't financial institutions that any Russian oligarch can just buy on a whim because he likes football or likes to take his girlfriends to the games. It is because it is deeply rooted in the community." Bayern and Dortmund both get more than half their income from sales of merchandise and sponsorship deals. So regardless of who wins at Wembley this weekend, it's a win-win scenario for German football.