Herbert Hainer: Oliver Kahn has everything
Herbert Hainer speaks in our major interview about the passing of the baton from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to Oliver Kahn as CEO. The president explains the reasons for the change on 1 July and discusses the German champions' approach to the future. Under Julian Nagelsmann, "the goal must be to shape a new era full of success," said the supervisory board chairman.
Interview: Herbert Hainer
Herbert Hainer, what are your thoughts on the transition from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to Oliver Kahn as CEO of FC Bayern?
"It was a transition that all of us had planned for a long time. One and a half years ago, Oliver Kahn was integrated into the management board at an early stage to prepare for his new role as chairman of the board. In the past few months, Karl-Heinz has transferred his areas of responsibility more and more, and this was the final handover of the baton."
How and when did you decide to bring it forward by six months?
"We all agreed that the end of the season was the ideal time for the handover. A new chapter begins with Julian Nagelsmann, and this change was logical. All decisions have an impact on the new season and beyond. So it made sense for Oliver Kahn to take on responsibility now. Incidentally, I did the same thing at adidas and finished five months early after my successor had been trained."
What does this end of the Uli Hoeneß / Rummenigge era mean for FC Bayern and the new club management?
"It's a huge turning point when two personalities who have made the club great for decades are no longer responsible. But they themselves initiated this transition a long time ago, and we're all firmly convinced we're ideally positioned for the future. Oliver Kahn is the right person to take over from Karl-Heinz. He has the FC Bayern gene in him, has shaped the club as a player, developed his personality after his career, gained his experience in the commercial field and will manage FC Bayern München AG as the new times require. The club is facing new challenges, as time goes by, and Kahn has new answers."
Will there be a change of style at FC Bayern - is the club losing its family feel?
"No, definitely not. I already said in my inaugural address as President that FC Bayern will never be a company that also plays football. We are all measured by this."
„"The aim is to strengthen the squad across the board. However, the quality is so high that we don't need any big transfers."”
How have you experienced Kahn and his development over the past 18 months?
"From my collaboration with him, I can say he has accepted FC Bayern in all its facets and has prepared very intensively for this major task. It was wise and right not to want to take over everything from the start, but to implement the transition step by step together with Karl-Heinz. Now is the time for him to move into the front row. And anyone who has seen him in negotiations over the past few months, such as with Julian Nagelsmann, knows that he is someone who expresses his point of view very clearly and always has a clear line. Kahn has everything."
What roles will Hoeneß and Rummenigge play in the future?
"Uli is still involved as a member of the supervisory board and is an important point of contact for all of us. He will always remain connected to his FC Bayern. Karl-Heinz does not want to hold an official position any more, but we would all be very happy if we always have an advisor in him with whom we can exchange ideas at any time. As with Uli, his opinion is important to us."
Handling transfers is difficult at this time. How do you rate Hasan Salihamidžić's work?
"Basically, we all make decisions together. So I find it unfair for criticism to focus on a single person. In addition, it has to be said that this squad has won seven trophies in the past 18 months, more than ever - and that with exciting football. That clearly speaks in favor of the transfer policy and the sporting management."
Are other transfers feasible - and if so, how big?
"People should not underestimate the effects of Corona, even if we have done comparatively well financially so far, there will be significant marks. With the exception of Dayot Upamecano, no more large transfers are possible for us this summer. We signed Omar Richards and seven players are returning who were on loan. The aim is to strengthen the squad across the board. However, the quality is so high that we don't need big transfers. The mix is right."
How long will the effects of the pandemic last?
"For a long time to come, in all of football. So far we've only seen the tip of the iceberg, and that won't be caught up in twelve months. When I hear some transfer rumours and sums, I seriously ask myself how the clubs want to finance this, especially since many are burdened with high mountains of debt. Football urgently needs more sense. It cannot go on with so many clubs living beyond their means."
What do you think of the rumours about Robert Lewandowski that keep popping up?
"Robert is the best striker in the world. He still has a a two-year contract here, and I can well imagine we'll keep him longer."
Rummenigge even thinks Gerd Müller's 365-goal mark is possible…
"At the moment he has 277 goals... If he stays healthy and stays on with us, it's possible. I trust him to do everything. Robert is an absolute godsend for us."
What expectations does FC Bayern have of Julian Nagelsmann?
"Julian Nagelsmann is one of the most sought-after coaches in top international football. At just 33 years of age, he has proven he can develop top-level teams and stands for football that inspires fans. We have had him on our radar for a long time and we're very happy he's joining us."
What you can say to the fans about him?
"He is an absolute football expert with innovative techniques and an open approach. I also think he's cool as a personality. I like the way he deals with pressure, the way he talks to his players and that he can laugh at himself from time to time. Our first contact was a text message from him late one evening. He wrote that as the Champions League was still on that day, he assumed I was still awake and he could get in touch. I found that refreshing."
How difficult will ut be for him to follow a coach as successful as Hansi Flick?
"Julian has enormous qualities and can look ahead with optimism even after our great successes - and that's how I rate him as a man. He's looking forward to the exciting task of aiming for the highest goals with great players. You don't have to look in the rearview mirror. At FC Bayern there is only ever one direction: forward. It must now be the goal to shape a new era of success. The prerequisites for this are very good. Incidentally, he also has a football style that FC Bayern fans want to see. After his appointment, I received only positive feedback."
He is younger than Manuel Neuer among others - will he assert himself as an authority? Munich is a tough place for coaches, with all the player personalities…
"I don't see a problem there. We've heard he works optimally with both experienced and young players. We're convinced of his personality."
He hasn't won any trophies yet…
"…which means he's hungry for trophies. And the fact he was so close will push him even more. He now has the great chance to take the last step up the podium with us."
„"We won't participate in the transfer madness in international football so we need strong youth work."”
Does Nagelsmann have to rely on talents from the Campus more than ever?
"It's our philosophy to selectively attract international stars - and at the same time to accelerate our training even more. The Campus has been bearing fruit for a year or two, and we want to expand that further. We won't participate in the transfer madness in international football so we need strong youth work. Of course, we're hopeful for Julian Nagelsmann, who showed in Hoffenheim and Leipzig that he supports young players and brings them to the top level."
How important is it to have strong identification figures in the first team?
"Players like Thomas Müller, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger with their Bavarian or even Munich roots represent the highest level of emotion for FC Bayern. But even a guy like Jamal Musiala learned early on at the Campus what it means to play for FC Bayern. We have to keep going down this path and we have some promising talent to hope for. Musiala showed the way, and we're optimistic about the development of Chris Richards, who we loaned to Hoffenheim, where he became a regular at the age of 19."
Is the goal for the reserves to be promoted again immediately?
"Yes. The relegation after the title the year before was a disappointment. We want our talents to compete at third division level. So we're striving to bounce back immediately."
You once said your dream was the treble of men's and women's football plus basketball. That could happen this season. What do you think?
"(smiling) Dreams come true at FC Bayern. And we will never stop making our dreams a reality."
Coming up: the second part of the interview at fcbayern.com:
FCB president Herbert Hainer on the return of fans to the stadiums, the social responsibilities of FC Bayern and his assessment of the European Championship, with a total of 13 players from the German record champions.
As well as the men, the FC Bayern women also become champions this season: