Oliver Kahn: We want a combination of tradition and progress


Oliver Kahn began his first speech as CEO of FC Bayern München AG by talking about his first day in the job at Säbener Straße. “It was a feeling of coming home. Now I get to report on two financial years at once on my debut.” The annual general meeting did not take place last year because of the pandemic. The 52-year-old, who has been CEO since 1 July 2021, spoke first about the sporting aspect.

Treble “more than unique”

Kahn on Robert Lewandowski's chances for the Ballon d'Or next Monday.

“In 2020 we won the treble for the second time in FC Bayern’s history. That was more than unique,“ said Kahn, who recounted a lasting experience after the triumph against Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon. “When I walked across the pitch and saw the huge joy of the boys, I thought something was missing. The mood was almost spooky. For all the joy of the title, it was a celebration without family, celebration without friends. The heart, you dear fans, was missing.“

Kahn pays tribute to title-winning team

The Bayern legend also paid tribute to the ninth Bundesliga title in a row in his speech: “There are children who know no other champion than FC Bayern. When I tell my son that I didn’t win the title sometimes as a player, he says, ‘Then you were a loser!’ Even if many people are angry about our titles, I have to say that this dominance is not our problem.”

Four legends leave with 92 titles

“We’ll miss you not just as players but also as people,” Kahn said of Thiago, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez, who all left in the summer. “Thank you for everything you have done for this club.” Those players won a combined 92 titles during their time in Munich, ensuring their legendary status. Another on his way to that level is Robert Lewandowski, whose 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games last season has – according to Kahn – “set a record that will never be broken again, except by himself.” The Pole is “the best striker in the world” and Kahn would be “deeply disappointed if he did not win the Ballon d’Or on Monday in Paris. No one deserves it more than him.”

Kahn on Bayern's international standing.

So much for the past, the former goalkeeper then turned to the economic present: “We are a top club. We are where we belong in the UEFA club ranking, which is first place. At the same time, we are financially independent and healthy. No multimillionaire or investment group decides on our success. We are admired for that all over Europe.” The CEO also warned that the sporting and economic success of the present are no guarantee for the future.

“Stay ahead under our own steam”

Although the champions of England, for example, earn twice as much as the Bundesliga champions, there was no reason to join the European Super League. “That would be the end of football as we know and love it. We’ve developed a strategy on how to stay ahead under our own steam.” He said the management team wanted a “combination of tradition and progress” and in the future not be the club with the most “lifestyle but the most attractive and successful in terms of sport.” That will cost money, but not so much that the club cannot afford it.

Kahn on Bayern's approach for the future.

Kahn is also looking forward to the future in sporting terms: “We’ve extended the contracts of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, who are boys with the Bayern gene in them. We are very happy to be going into the future with them. We’ve also got a coach who gives young players a chance. What immediately impressed me about Julian Nagelsmann was how quickly he inhaled and exemplified that typical Bayern identity.” In addition, he said, the team could be champions for the tenth year in a row, becoming the first team in one of Europe’s top leagues to do so.

Finally, Kahn addressed a word to his colleagues. “I would like to thank the supervisory board, namely president Herbert Hainer and honorary president Uli Hoeneß, who have supported me with their hearts and minds. Of course, my thanks also go to my colleagues on the executive board for their good and trusting cooperation. Thanks also to Karl-Heinz [Rummenigge] for putting up with me for a year and a half. But thanks also for letting me look over your shoulder and giving me many important insights.”

The CEO finished his inaugural speech with direct words to the fans: “The last two years have been tough. I am very grateful for your constant loyalty and passion and that you always expect the best from us and are always behind us. We will continue to go our own Bayern way. Stay healthy.“

President Herbert Hainer also addressed the AGM: