Bayern München’s Sammer of Change

The last time we saw Dortmund vs Bayern before  Sunday’s SuperCup clash was about three months ago in Olympiastadion in Berlin in DFB-Pokal Final. A full strength Bayern München team was demolished by Klopp’s Dortmund side,inspired by Lewandowski’s hat trick in the second half. Things got worse for Bayern when they were beaten by Chelsea on penalties in München in their dream Champions League final, a match where Bayern dominated yet failed to finish their chances. In June, eight Bayern players went to Euro 2012 with the German National team in Poland-Ukraine where seven of them were regular starters for Die Mannschaft and saw Mario Balotelli’s two goals handing over another semi final spot to the Germans. Arjen Robben had a season to forget, missing two crucial penalties against Dortmund and Chelsea and then finishing without a point in Euro 2012 with Netherlands. The other star player Frank Ribery only managed a quarter final spot with France in Euro 2012.

The disappointments were huge, but then came the time to move on. Bayern bolstered their team by signing Dante from Borussia Mönchengladbach, Mandžukić from Wolfsburg, Shaqiri from Basel, Pizarro from Bremen, Tom Starke from Hoffenheim, Weiser from Koln, Lukas Reader from Schalke as well as promoting young talents Patrick Weihrauch and Emre Can from the club itself.

The SuperCup clash showed a more confident Bayern München taking a 2-0 lead within the first 12 minutes, Both Robben and Ribery looked fresh and produced dazzling moments from the wings, Mandžukić made his dream debut, and the golden boy of World Cup 2010, Thomas Muller, showed his class with a well struck goal. Bayern’s defence showed resilience till the last-minute to hold on to the lead. Overall a very good team performance from the four-time Champions League winner. Let’s not over emphasize the SuperCup clash, because it was just a curtain raiser for the upcoming season and both teams had a number of key players missing, however the SuperCup clash made an impression that Bayern are back in the business of winning trophies by ending their two-year trophy drought. Moreover with this win Bayern not only added a trophy in their shelf but also ended a five match losing streak against Borussia Dortmund.

Everyone is working hard at Bavaria from their management, player, coaching staff to restore pride this season, to develop the winning mentality, to conquer Germany and Europe in the coming years. If there is one man who can contribute significantly to the team and management to achieve those things in near future, then my money is on one of their new signings.

Hold on for a minute, I am not talking about any players but Bayern München’s new Sporting Director who never actually played for Bayern but had most successful years in Germany with rivals Dortmund. Yes you are right; the man who can help Bayern to salvation is Matthias Sammer.

Sammer’s Winning Ways

One of the best players Sammer coming from East Germany:  Sammer, who like Beckenbauer and Matthuas played in a number of position throughout his career; Sammer the player whose heroics guided Germany to their last major international trophy, Sammer the player who was an integral part of Dortmund’s back to back titles in 1994-95 and 1995-96 and also lifted the champions league a year later with the same club.

Most of us remember the Dresden native from Euro 1996, where he played a vital role playing every minute of the tournament and also scored the winner against Croatia in the quarter final. But Sammer’s journey towards legacy started long before. The midfielder/sweeper guided East Germany to a third place finish in FIFA youth championship in 1987, where his team was beaten 2-1 by Yugoslavia. (Davor Suker, who played for Croatia after the country’s independence later in the 90’s scored the winner after Sammer’s equalizer to deny the East Germans the chance to meet their West German counterpart in the Final in Santiago, Chile). Sammer was one of the stars of the tournament; he wore the number 10 jersey for the team scoring 4 goals in the tournament including a hat trick against Colombia.

matthias sammerIronically nine years later, Davor Suker equalized for Croatia in the quarter final in Euro 1996, with Sammer scoring the winner in 59th minute. Germany eventually won the tournament by beating host England in the high voltage semifinal and securing the championship with Oliver Bierhoff’s golden goal against the Czech Republic. Sammer won the Bundesliga title with Dortmund for the 2nd time that year and was named the European player of the year. An early retirement due to serious knee injury was a tragedy for this football maestro who could have played an important part for Germany in 1998 World Cup where Germany were comprehensively beaten in the quarterfinals by Croatia.  Sammer retired after playing in 291 matches for Dynamo Dresden, Dortmund and Stuttgart, and a brief stint at Inter, scoring 84 goals and earning 23 caps for East Germany and another 51 for the reunified national team.

Sammer only played in one World Cup for Germany, the 1994 edition held in the United States. Sammer played all three group matches and the the round of 16 match versus Belgium. Germany were knocked out in the quarter final by Bulgaria,which Sammer did not play in The influence of Matthias Sammer cannot be denied as the history of his accomplishments speaks for itself.

Sammer returned to Dortmund in 2000 as manager, and he led BvB to the Bundesliga title in his second season in charge. That same year Dortmund became runner-up in the UEFA cup. He later signed for VfB Stuttgart but left the club after only a year. Sammer was one of the key figures who paved the way for young generation in German International Football since his appointment as the technical director of German Football Association (DFB) in 2006. After the end of his contract with DFB he signed for Bayern as the Sporting Director.

Bottom line, Bayern has hired a true champion as their sporting director, a man who is a perfect fit to guide Bayern to a trophy-filled future. Sammer can help Bayern to regain its reputation as one the Europe’s finest clubs. His first mission was to stop Dortmund in the DFB SuperCup and Sammer, Heynckes and the team did that perfectly. Bayern looked more confident in the Super Cup against Dortmund even without influential figures such as Schweinsteiger and Gomez, taking chances as if football was a matter of life and death. It’s the way football is played at Bayern. The 12th men (the fans) are always there for the team. Now with Sammer as the sporting director Bayern fans can only expect good things in the future because,  as legendary Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said, “Sammer hates to lose”.

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Tousif is a football writer based in Bangladesh and is a massive fan of Germany National Football Team.

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