MUNICH: Bayern Munich may not have won the Champions League last season but the record champions of Germany have reason to celebrate – as fans heard at their annual meeting.

The last year saw Bayern accumulate a record turnover of €528.7m and register 251,315 members which means they can now claim the world’s largest membership ahead of Portugal’s Benfica (235,000).

Bayern were also, according to highly satisfied chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge  “virtually world champions” because of their contribution of players to the Germany side who landed the crown in Brazil in June.

The one key figure missing from the agm was former president Uli Hoeness who is servng a three year six month jail sentence for tax evasion last year.

In fact, as his presidential successor Karl Hopfner pointed out, it was hoped that Hoeness would be freed on day release in the spring and would be able to take up a role in the club’s youth department administration.

Mention of Hoeness drew applause and some cheers from the 3,000 members present.

Saturday’s match against Hertha in Berlin meant that absent from the agm were any of the players as well as coach Pep Guardiola and sporting director Matthias Sammer, whose contract was recently extended until 2018.

Chief financial officer Jan Christian Dreesen reported that Bayern were now built on a more solid sporting and economic foundation than ever before.

The club reported a record net profit of €16.5m and Dreesen added: “In addition, we are a world leader with €405m in equity – plus the remaining debt of the Allianz Arena has been paid off early.”

The financial improvement occurred despite an  increase in the wage bill from €202.8m in 2013 to €215m.