Oliver Kahn's emotional Bundesliga farewell
Most fans inside the Allianz Arena had held it together so far, but the tears started to flow in the 88th minute when the fourth official raised his board to show the Bayern player with the number 1 was coming off. It signalled the end of a legend. Der Titan was bowing out from competitive action. There was a friendly in India in the summer and his official testimonial, but Oliver Kahn’s career was over when he left the pitch in his final Bundesliga game on 17 May 2008.
Special shirt swap
Bayern were 4-1 up against Hertha Berlin, the title celebrations were ready and Matchday 34 was entering its final minutes. Visiting striker Valeri Domovchiyski wrote his name into the history books as the last player to score a competitive goal against Kahn. Referee Markus Merk, who was himself overseeing his last Bundesliga game and would exchange shirts with Kahn after the game, then signalled a substitution. The Allianz Arena rose to its collective feet and applauded as the number 1 departed the field in place of Michael Rensing.
Liberated and spurred on
Kahn had already announced his retirement at the start of the season, which was also a relief to the captain. “That constant pressure to be number 1 is gone,” he said at the start of the campaign, adding that he felt “liberated and spurred on”. That was in fact how Bayern played. Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side won the domestic double in 2007/08. In the UEFA Cup, FCB made it to the semi-finals after a stirring late comeback against Getafe.
Back home again
It was the final curtain on a career that had seen Kahn win the Champions League, UEFA Cup, the Bundesliga eight times and the DFB Cup six times, as well as becoming a European champion with Germany. The three-time World’s Best Goalkeeper was given a special personal lap of honour at the double celebrations inside the Arena. And the fans were right with their banners that said, “We’re not waving our flags in goodbye but as thanks until we see each other again”. That’s because Kahn returned to Bayern in January 2020 as a board member.
Back at Bayern, the new board member is faced with several fascinating challenges. Speaking to FCBayern.tv, Kahn answered the most important questions regarding the Bundesliga’s resumption this weekend: