Bayern Munich’s 3-0 opening Champions League victory over Red Star Belgrade should have been the main headline following Wednesday night’s game, but the limelight instead fell on president Uli Hoeness and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge following their unusual attacks on the DFB and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Stopped for an interview by Sport1 after the Champions League win, Hoeness didn’t hold back when asked his opinion on the bubbling issue as to whether Manuel Neuer or Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen deserved to be Germany’s number-one keeper.
“He [Ter Stegen] has no claim to play” Hoeness passionately decried. “For the keepers it is different than for the other players, because you can’t constantly switch. The hierarchy has to be clear and say: Manuel Neuer is the No. 1. He has been the best goalkeeper in the world for many years.
“I would have expected more support from the DFB. We always have trouble with the DFB. First the removal of our three players and now the same with Manuel Neuer. It’s not okay to allow a team-mate to go public on a topic he’s only supposed to discuss with [coach] Jogi Low.”
Uli Hoeneß on the Neuer/ter Stegen debate. pic.twitter.com/yKai3ODK30
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 19, 2019
What started as a moan from ter Stegen, resulted in a defence from Neuer, but now seems to have escalated into the Bayern leadership going into full on ‘attack is the best form of defence mode’. Clearly the decision to end the international careers of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Müller hurt the pride of a club of Bayern’s stature.
However, the ferocity and direct criticism of the DFB does seem a little misguided from the Bayern president as it is hard to see what the DFB have actually done wrong, except for staying out of a tiny verbal spat between the two goalkeepers.
CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge also got involved yesterday saying: “What I do not like in the story, is the behaviour of the DFB, there is never really clear language spoken in public. There is wavering, and it is partly carried out on the back of Manuel, I do not think that’s fair.
He went on to demand “a bit of gratitude for a man who has played 90 times for Germany and won everything.”
The twin attack from Hoeness and Rummenigge is reminiscent of this time last year when the duo lashed out heavily at the press for their treatment of the club. In mid-October 2018, Rummenigge lost the plot after Neuer was once again questioned following Germany’s defeat to the Netherlands.
“I don’t know if there are special laws for the media, but we will not accept this kind of reporting any longer,” Rummenigge told a press conference. “Today is an important day as we inform you that we will no longer tolerate this derogatory and derisive reporting. We will protect our coach, players and club. It is outrageous, disrespectful and polemical.”
At that time, Bayern were under pressure and seeking their first win in two months under new coach Niko Kovac, so the ‘them and us’ defensive mentality can be partly understood as a mechanism of pulling everyone at the club together.
The latest outbursts however come at a time when the club are up near the top, but with the emerging threat of both Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig to contend with. Is this just an irrational rant from Hoeness, or perhaps another example of the mind games employed by the Bavarian giants?
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