Herbert Hainer: 'This "Mia san mia" continually drives us forward'
On 15 November, Herbert Hainer celebrates his first anniversary as president of FC Bayern. The club is on a run, but if you rest, you rust. Hainer jogs regularly - and during a run through Munich's Englischer Garten he looked towards the future with us.
Herbert Hainer is an early riser, but at the same time it's not far from his flat in Schwabing to the Englischer Garten - and because he's a passionate jogger, he looks forward to unusual runs through the park. He'll soon have been in office for a year at FC Bayern, and it could hardly have been a more successful one. At FC Bayern you always have to keep moving, so he liked the suggestion of taking stock while running past Munich landmarks like the Monopteros and the Chinese Tower. Hainer is wearing the FCB Teamline collection in red and black. When a group of schoolchildren discover him, one of them shouts at him: "Well, where do you play?" The president grins: "I take that as a compliment that they see me as a player."
It's no accident that Hainer cuts a fine figure; he tries to do sport every day, and that includes putting himself through torture from time to time. In the evening, after a long day, he heads out the door again, and who doesn't know the struggle with their inner self, he says. "But when you get back home, it always feels good." Usually Hainer also brings back a few ideas from one of these running sessions.
Hainer has prepared whole speeches in his head while jogging
"I'm not the type who switches off when jogging," says the chairman of the FCB supervisory board, "all sorts of things pop up on my radar: Professional, private, world affairs in general. I think about the next day's tasks, about things that are coming up. Sometimes he reaches for his mobile phone as soon as he's home to discuss something that came to mind while running. Or he takes notes before he jumps into the shower. He has already prepared whole speeches in his head while jogging.
While running, his thoughts revolve this time around his first FCB year. "It was incredibly moving, with many great moments and huge successes - but because of coronavirus, we have also had a state of emergency around the world for months now." FC Bayern is facing "economic challenges like never before", says Hainer, "but so far I am very proud of how our club is performing in this crisis. We're working together to deal with the situation - and we're also aware of our social responsibility."
Social commitment just as important as winning trophies
In sporting terms, FC Bayern is currently the benchmark: "But at the same time we're still informal and accessible. We initiated 'Reds Against Racism', supported Bavarian amateur clubs, took our basketball players to the Münchner Tafel (Munich food bank) and much more - all this is just as important for our club as all the trophies we've won."
The FCB president also jogged every day during the Champions League tournament in Lisbon. The morning after the 8-2 triumph over Barcelona, he was concerned about how much the fans had been missed the night before: "You don't often get to experience magical nights like those. And when you beat Barca 8-2 - a Barca team with Lionel Messi, mind you - your heart bleeds that no supporters were allowed to experience these emotions in person. When asked about his greatest wish for his second year in office, Hainer doesn't have to think for a second: "That the fans are allowed back into the stadium."
Hainer's promise: A president for everyone
Hainer took office with the promise of being a president for everyone, not just for the professional footballers. "Everyone in the club is very active, everyone wants to make a difference. You can feel the Bayern gene - in every department," he says. The development of the basketball players is very satisfying, the women's football team once invited him for a chat in the canteen on campus, and there the president also found the exchange promising: "We want to establish ourselves at the top of European women's football in the next few years, and it was very interesting to learn how our female players assess the situation." Hainer is certainly convinced that this team will make a name for itself.
At FC Bayern, every title won means you immediately set yourself a new goal. Hainer finds this in particular incredibly appealing. "We've now initiated a strategy process, because we have a lot to accomplish in the coming years," and he ticks them off: "The pandemic, the digital revolution, the financial challenges, and generally a sporting world in transition. At the same time, we must always keep our values and never lose sight of our roots. We will not leave this path, because I've experienced this in my first year here that every single employee embraces this family bond - and this is exactly why we will remain successful."
The jogging session is over, Hainer doesn't appear to be out of breath at all, and that's how FC Bayern as a whole should be seen, he says: "We like to always lead the way, to set the pace - this 'Mia san mia' continually drives us forward."
Photo credits: Dirk Bruniecki
You can read the detailed text (in German) in our club members' magazine '51'.