The long-expected announcement that Uli Hoeness will be stepping down as Bayern president, and that Oliver Kahn is being brought onto the club’s board, is going to set in motion a changing of the guard at the Allianz Arena.
After years of the Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge double act, Bayern are going to be moving forward with new faces in the positions of power.
One question being asked is: What does this all mean for sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic?
The statement released by Bayern Munich on Thursday was short and to the point. “Uli Hoeness will no longer run for the office of president at Bayern Munich’s annual general meeting on November 15, 2019. On Wednesday, Hoeness informed fellow members of the board, Prof. Dr. Dieter Mayer and Walter Mennekes, as well FC Bayern Munich’s advisory board. On Thursday, he announced his decision to the supervisory board of FC Bayern Munich.”
As well as the Hoeness revelation, it was announced that legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn will return to the club as a board member next year before taking over Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s job as chief executive in 2022. Rummenigge’s contract expires on December 31, 2021.
Once Hoeness stands down shortly before the club’s AGM in November, the former CEO of Adidas, Herbert Hainer, will replace him after he was recommended to the supervisory board by Hoeness.
All change at the top then for Bayern, but only the most optimistic of Bavarians will be thinking the transition will be a smooth and seamless one. This is after all FC Bayern Munich.
Ego v Ego
The main point of potential conflict could be over the future of sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. The former Bayern midfielder’s appointment to succeed Matthias Sammer in the summer of 2017 was not an obvious choice at the time and came about partly because Philipp Lahm didn’t want the job, and partly as a way to appease a slightly fractious relationship between Hoeness and Rummenigge.
Salihamidzic was a Hoeness choice and now his main ally at the club is departing, the road ahead might start to look a little gloomy. His contract expires next summer, and it is by no means clear it will be renewed after a tricky few months for the Bosnian.
Back in January 2019 there was a rather prickly encounter during ZDF’s SPORTextra show where Kahn was a guest alongside Salihamidzic talking through Bayern’s 3-1 win over Hoffenheim.
The ex-goalkeeper was keen to stress he was the ‘captain of Salihamidzic when they won the Champions League’, while the sporting director seemed to indicate his unwillingness to work with Kahn (or another sporting director) as his ‘superior’ at Bayern in the future.
To call Oliver Kahn a ‘big personality/ presence’ would be an understatement to say the least. The Bayern legend, who once attacked Miroslav Klose, almost decked teammate Andreas Herzog and bit Heiko Herrlich was never a retiring wallflower on the pitch, and it is hard to imagine he’d be any less colourful in a boardroom capacity.
Whether there is room for two such large egos at the club and whether the two can work harmoniously remains a big question.
If Salihamidzic had enjoyed a highly successful tenure in his current role, there wouldn’t really be a debate over his future, but that hasn’t 100% been the case. If you search for the hashtag #BrazzoOut on Twitter, you will quickly see that plenty of Bayern fans are extremely dissatisfied with the club’s sporting director.
The spotlight has increasingly been turned on Salihamidzic due to Bayern’s irregular transfer activity this summer. The first blot on the sporting director’s CV was the bungled attempt to sign Callum Hudson Odoi from Chelsea.
Bayern’s pursuit of the English youngster seemed to be on course for fruition with the club reportedly agreeing terms with the attacker’s agent. However, with Salihamidzic going public with Bayern’s pursuit, Chelsea took umbrage and refused to deal with the German champions.
Bayern had another public relations headache in their efforts to sign Leroy Sane from Manchester City with Pep Guardiola and the English champions receiving an apology from the Germans because of comments made in public about Sane.
“It’s important that we don’t talk about players who are under contract at another club. We have to apologize to Man City for the fact that their player is being talked about the whole time” Salihamidzic told Sportbild.
“We would be well advised not to say anything more about the matter, but rather to keep quiet both inside and outside. We have to put the matter to rest now.”
There have also been a few instances at press conferences when Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has interjected and interrupted Salihamidzic in what some see as a sign of a lack of authority on his part and lack of respect on the part of those above him. The transfer business over the summer has been seen as a little chaotic with the club reacting to events and producing ad-hoc solutions, rather than having a clearly designated plan.
Uli Honess defended Salihamidzic this week telling the press conference, “When things go well, they say it’s down to me and Karl-Heinz. When they go badly, it’s down to Hasan. That’s unfair.”
Bayern are changing things at the top with the Hoeness/ Rummenigge era coming to an end. It could well be that changes are made to the sporting director role as well and that could spell trouble for ‘Brazzo’ Salihamidzic.
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