Bixente Lizarazu:  “I am very impressed with how much love there is for soccer and FC Bayern Munich.” (Bayern Munich Photo)

QUEENS, N.Y. – World Cup champion and former Bayern Munich standout Bixente Lizarazu journeyed here from his native France to learn how crazy American soccer fans are of international soccer and of his favorite German side Saturday afternoon.

Lizarazu joined fans at the newly opened Upper 90 Soccer Center to watch the Bundesliga clash between Germany’s biggest clubs — Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich and he wasn’t disappointed for a number of reasons.

First of all, Bayern won the match, 4-1, to keep the side on track towards its goal of capturing the Bundesliga crown. Second, he and more than 300 fans gathered at the viewing party to watch the battle between the two UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. The event was hosted by FC Bayern Munich and adidas Soccer.

“This is the first time I’ve watched the Klassiker in New York with fans and it has been an amazing experience,” Lizarazu said. “Being in the city for a few days and meeting lots of people, I am very impressed with how much love there is for soccer and FC Bayern Munich. I can’t wait for my next trip.”

A defender for FC Bayern Munich from 1997 – 2004 and again for the 05/06 season, Lizarazu made 182 appearances in one of the club’s most successful periods. He helped the team win six Bundesliga titles, five DFB Pokal Cups, a UEFA Champions League title and an Intercontinental Cup.

Lizarazu also played for the French national team from 1992–2004, winning the 1998 World Cup and Euro Cup in 2000 as part of France’s Golden Generation.

The former French international wasn’t the only one who walked away happy Saturday.

“This was a terrific event,” Bayern fan Gerhard Hagn said. “I love watching the games and usually watch them with my son at home or at a bar. We got to meet Bixente, take pictures and watch the game together so it was a fantastic experience for everyone in the family.”