Created on 17-06-2008 at 00:00 AM
More than two years ago, Christian Nerlinger quit the professional game and set out on a long-planned second career, but when Jürgen Klinsmann suddenly rang his former Munich team-mate – they won the UEFA Cup (1996) and Bundesliga title (1997) together – and offered him a job, Nerlinger instantly accepted.
“It’s a huge chance for me to be part of an exceptionally interesting new phase,” he explains. On 1 July, the 35-year-old takes up the position of team manager at the club which handed him his Bundesliga debut in the early 1990s. “I have fond memories of the Säbener Strasse,” Nerlinger told fcbayern.de recalling his successful trial at the age of 15: “I remember it as if it were yesterday.“
Nerlinger confesses to “strong emotional ties” to Bayern. “This is where I grew up. I wouldn’t have taken a job with any other employer in the world at this stage of my life.“ Nerlinger is currently studying international business relations at Munich Business School and had no immediate intention of returning to the game – until Klinsmann made contact.
“Jürgen’s call came as a complete surprise. He was very well informed about what I’m up to at the moment. We chatted for a while but he came pretty swiftly to the point and asked if I’d like to work with him,” revealed Nerlinger, who had previously applied to Uli Hoeneß for an internship. “Obviously, it’s terrific for me that a full-time position came up as a result.“
Point of contact and link man
The position of team manager is a newly-created post at the club. “It’s not particularly common in Germany, but it’s existed in England and other countries for some time,” explains Nerlinger, who left Munich in 1998 and played for Borussia Dortmund for three years, before spending the following three season gaining valuable overseas experience in Glasgow with Rangers. He came back to Germany with Kaiserslautern but was forced to end his playing career in December 2005 with injury.
The man capped six times by Germany describes his new role as “co-ordinating everything relating to the team and the coaching staff away from sporting matters. I’m the first point of contact and a channel for every request. My responsibilities also extend to helping the players with their personal development.“ Klinsmann is known to place great value on this area of human resource management.
Studies to continue
Nerlinger’s own personal development plan envisages him finishing his course of study despite his new occupation, “although I’m aware it’ll be a heavy burden for me.“ The Dortmund-born former international, who became a father for the first time seven months ago, requires around nine months to complete his diploma.
“After my career, I went in search of a new challenge in the academic sphere. It was a vital step for me personally, and a good decision with the benefit of hindsight,” Nerlinger declares. He expects similar success from his return to Bayern. “I’m proud I’ll be there right at this very moment in time.“