Salihamidžić: 'We have to think more creatively'

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The coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult to plan, but Hasan Salihamidžić, set to join the FC Bayern board in July, knows what he has to do. The full interview is available in our club magazine '51'.

Interview with Hasan Salihamidžić

Mr Salihamidžić, what's your prediction of how the coronavirus pandemic will change football?
"Nobody needs a crystal ball to predict that our society, and thereby all clubs, will be severely tested over the short to medium term. Work on building a squad is always demanding even without the coronavirus. We have to think more creatively."

Before coronavirus, there came a point when you could call the international transfer market crazy -- do you think common sense will now prevail through necessity?
"The market took an absurd turn before coronavirus. I can only speak for FC Bayern and say that we have always acted reasonably, including in that overheated phase. We will continue to act like that in the future. The way we view football, the financial principles we follow and how we want to act on the transfer market will not change. And there are always opportunities in times of crisis."

A lot of people are predicting a new solidarity in football. Do you share that prediction?
"There's always been a culture at FC Bayern not to lose sight of people who aren't doing so well even when you're winning. Empathy, solidarity, support -- also for the European ideal that we are trying to continue to live and breath in these difficult times. Coronavirus will test us all like nothing else ever has. But, here at FC Bayern, we are ready to face the challenge."

Celebrating together on the pitch! Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidžić played for FC Bayern from 1998 to 2007. Together they won the German league title six times and the DFB Cup four times. On top of that, they won the Intercontinental Cup and the Champions League in 2001. Salihamidžić was one of the first players to get to Kahn when he made the crucial penalty save.

How do you and Oliver Kahn complement each other?
"Well, because we trust and support each other. As far as I can judge, Oliver feels very happy. He's noticed that there's a work atmosphere without equal here. We won the Champions League together in the FCB shirt -- and now I'd like to repeat that wearing my suit. Oliver thinks the same. We're competitive and that will never disappear. We want to make history."

Before working at FC Bayern, both you and Kahn were successful business people; does that teach you how to accept responsibility?
"You're talking about a very important part of our development. People know us as players and then perhaps as club ambassadors - but the most formative experience for today's job comes from the time where I built up a company. It was very similar with Oliver. We discussed questions of how you develop projects, manage staff, master financial challenges -- that was an important lesson before starting FC Bayern. It's not a game. It's an obligation to develop something that stands the test of time and doesn't fall at the first hurdle. FC Bayern have been a stable club and a flagship of German football for decades. It has to remain like that."

You take up your post as board director for sport on 1 July. What will change in terms of your duties?
"The first phase of my three years as sporting director was shaped by having to become familiar with the way the club worked. Then we began to improve and change things. My area of responsibility grew year by year. First team, youth, squad planning, all the support teams, scouting, transfer market, development of data analysis. It's an honour to be on the board now. But nothing will change for me in my new position from an operational perspective."


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