Rummenigge: You were the perfect mentor
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge thanked Uli Hoeneß directly: "You were the perfect mentor for me. Even when I was a new signing when we were players, when we shared a room. And later, in our second career behind the scenes, I was able to learn from you again." As Rummenigge said at the beginning of his address on Friday evening: "This Annual General Meeting means a big change in the history of our club." Hoeneß's farewell marks the end of an extremely successful era at FC Bayern.
But first Rummenigge looked back on sporting success in the last year. Despite being nine points short of Borussia Dortmund in between, FC Bayern claimed their seventh German championship title in a row. "Our team's extreme willpower and strong character made the difference once again," said Rummenigge, who called the fight for the championship title the "most emotional and thrilling fight in a long time." One week after the 5-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on the last Bundesliga matchday, FC Bayern beat RB Leipzig 3-0 to win the DFB Cup and seal the 12th double in the club's history. The chairman was less satisfied with the Champions League, where FC Bayern lost to Liverpool, who went on to win the title, in the Round of 16. "We want to do better this season, that's FC Bayern's ambition," said the former world-class forward.
Standing ovation for Ribéry and Robben
Rummenigge also thanked the players who left the club last summer. Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben were present and were greeted with a standing ovation. "Franck and Arjen shaped FC Bayern for a decade and played a crucial part in the most successful era in the club's history," said Rummenigge. The change over the summer was successful: "We rejuvenated our squad at the highest level." Sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić, who is to be appointed Board Director of Sport on 1 July 2020, played a key part in it. "He has visions for the team's development. I'm convinced he'll celebrate great successes with FC Bayern in the future," said Rummenigge.
After a patchy start to the new season, Bayern and head coach Niko Kovač parted company by mutual consent two weeks ago. "I'd like to expressly thank Niko and his brother Robert for their work, especially for winning the double. We wish them all the best for the future," Rummenigge said to the applause of the members. Hansi Flick took over as head coach. The chairman is confident after the 2-0 victory over Olympiacos and the 4-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga top match: "That was FC Bayern as we want to see it, as we know and love it." Rummenigge announced that Flick will remain head coach at least until the winter break. But the chairman also issued a warning: "We didn't get ourselves into trouble overnight. It's important we pick up where we left off after the successful matches against Olympiacos and Borussia Dortmund."
Rummenigge also stressed the outstanding work in the youth section. The reserves' promotion to the third tier was particularly important: "The third-highest German league is the ideal ground for our talents to mature under professional conditions." In addition, Rummenigge was "very pleased once again" with the performances of the FC Bayern women.
The club's social responsibility
The 64-year-old also addressed sustainability. The vision is for the Allianz Arena to be "completely climate-neutral one day." To come closer to this objective, a photovoltaic system will be installed. The club will also tackle electromobility. In addition, Rummenigge stressed the importance of the club's social responsibility. Among many other things, FC Bayern organised the exhibition 'Venerated - Persecuted - Forgotten' at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. "The past warns us. The present reminds us. The future obliges us. We aren't responsible for what happened. But we must make sure it will never be forgotten – and that it will never happen again," said Rummenigge.
The chairman thinks the club is in an ideal position for the future. Oliver Kahn will be an executive board member from 1 January. "Oliver will enhance our work. We'll cooperate well, and I'm looking forward to the cooperation," said Rummenigge, who sees an ideal successor to Hoeneß in Herbert Hainer: "I'm sure nobody will have to be worried about FC Bayern's future with such a great personality at the top."
In conclusion, Rummenigge addressed Hoeneß. In addition to the outstanding financial development of FC Bayern over the last decades, the chairman stressed Hoeneß's merits with regard to the club's philosophy. "Much more importantly, you've given this club a face that sets FC Bayern apart from all other top clubs in the world," Rummenigge said: "Dear Uli, you've kept the Mia san Mia machinery running like nobody else. There are two things that have always united us and will always unite us in the future: the love of football and FC Bayern's well-being." Before presenting Hoeneß with a photo wall of his career, Rummenigge said in conclusion: "We always were, and we will always be: your family. Mia san Uli."