MUNICH - Bayern Munich tricked its fans into "liking" the team on Facebook, promising them a "spectacular new signing" Thursday if they logged on to the social networking site to watch the announcement in a news conference.

Bayern had said on its website that it would present a new striker at 2 p.m. local time, and directed fans to go Facebook to watch it live. Once they were logged in, the fans were made to "like" Bayern's page in order to view the proceedings.

But instead of learning who would be striker Mario Gomez's backup, they were instead presented with a promotion entitled "The New FCB Star."

"Dear fans, you probably already noticed that we did not sign a new player. This app is for our fans to show the importance of you for our club," Bayern said.

The move has lead to a backlash from fans, with thousands leaving uncomplimentary comments on the club's Facebook page.

Bayern, which leads the Bundesliga and plays Wolfsburg on Saturday, said the whole thing was "a bit of fun for our fans."

"Each Bayern fan is the 'spectacular new signing,' our 12th man!" Bayern said on its website.

Bayern's desire to raise its profile on Facebook follows the German national football team's announcement last month that it had reached 1 million fans on the site. The team's fan page is trying to compete with England's national team.

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