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Bayern 'oust Man United as top brand'

Champions League winners Bayern Munich have overtaken Manchester United as the most valuable brand in world football, according to a report released on Wednesday by London-based consultancy firm Brand Finance.

According to the report, Bayern are now valued at $860 million (669 million euros, £572 million), overtaking last year's top side United ($837 million) as football's most lucrative brand.

Spanish giants Real Madrid ($621 million) and Barcelona ($572 million) are third and fourth in the new ranking.

Bayern, who beat domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Saturday's Champions League final at London's Wembley Stadium, have seen their brand value increase by 51 million euros compared to last season, while United's value has dropped by 20 million euros.

"The challenge now for all Bundesliga clubs and the league itself is to see if they can export their domestic brand strength into global opportunities," said Brand Finance's CEO David Haigh.

Interest in Bayern from overseas fans has shot up this season, with one million Munich replica shirts expected to be sold in 2013, compared to 600,000 in the 2012 calendar year.

By comparison, Dortmund have sold around 350,000 replica shirts this season.

The report's figures were calculated using a formula based on future turnover attributable to the brand name and reflect Bayern's growing power, with the Bavarians poised to become the first German club to win the treble of European Cup, German Cup and league titles.

"It's a record year in terms of turnover, as we'll break the 400 million euros turnover mark for the first time," said club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"No German club has ever been close before. Propelled by our success on the field, we're breaking every record off it, too. The club is in great shape for the future."

Bayern face Stuttgart on Saturday in the German Cup final, having already broken or equalled 25 German league records en route to success in the Bundesliga.

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