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Karl Hopfner celebrates his 60th birthday

Perhaps it was luck. Or a coincidence. Or destiny. For who knows what would have become of Bayern, if Karl Hopfner hadn't bought a copy of the Süddeutsche Zeitung on that fateful day in October 1982. If he had been stuck at home with the flu, for example. If he hadn't seen the crucial announcement which started everything.

Bayern's deputy chairman will be celebrating his 60th birthday this Tuesday. He has been working for Germany’s most successful club for 29 years, almost half his life, and has played a large part in making FC Bayern the club it is today: The national gold standard, and a top international club. Franz Beckenbauer says: “FC Bayern would not be what it is today without Karl Hopfner. Even with Uli Hoeneß. Even with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.”

As Uli Hoeneß points out: “Karl Hopfner is one of the people responsible for putting Bayern in the strong financial position it enjoys today. He is not given enough credit for his part in Bayern's successes of the past 20 to 30 years.” DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach honours Hopfner as “just as important for FC Bayern as the actual sportsmen, who are the focus of the public eye due to the nature of their job. He is the great strategist, the finance expert, the organiser and administrator working behind the scenes – a great professional for FC Bayern.”

Always a Bayern fan

Hopfner never played football professionally and had in fact never joined a club as a young man (Hopfner: “My parents wouldn't let me”), so his decision to align with FC Bayern in the first place was “sheer coincidence” (Hoeneß). It all started with an announcement in the local newspaper. In autumn 1982, FC Bayern München e.V. posted a job advertisement for the position of managing director. Hopfner, 30 years old at the time, and having “always been” a Bayern fan, immediately took up the offer. “It was just too tempting,” explains the former senior executive of a family-run building supllies firm. He had previously started an apprenticeship as an industrial sales representative, and completed a business studies degree after finishing school.