Hasan Salihamidžić, FC Bayern

Hasan Salihamidzic: 'You have to be able to endure resistance at FC Bayern'

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© Photos: Julian Baumann

What is important when building teams that are supposed to meet the highest standards? Board member for sport Hasan Salihamidzic talks in an interview with FC Bayern members' magazine '51' about inner conviction, attitude, resistance and a climate in which you have to be able to say things openly.

Interview with Hasan Salihamidzic

Hasan Salihamidzic, at the cover shoot for ‘51’ you stacked building blocks... What is the most important thing for putting together a stable football team?

"The most important thing is to have a good foundation on which everything is stable and nothing wobbles when there's resistance. You have to be able to endure resistance at FC Bayern."

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What must the foundation consist of?

"At FC Bayern, the foundation is usually formed from Germany internationals, then strengthened with top international players and supplemented with top young players in order to stimulate competition and also have squad players as alternatives. And we always need young players from the FC Bayern Campus, because talent from our own ranks is what we all want most, as they have already absorbed the club's identity early on."

At our shoot, you first built up in height....

"Shouldn't I? This is FC Bayern, it's always about the highest goals here. But in reality, of course, it takes time to put a squad together like that. The coach plays an important role here because he has to manage everything on a daily basis, both in sporting and human terms. Each of these top professionals always wants to play. It's a big challenge to balance everything in such a way that everyone is happy, but there is still healthy competition. We want to inspire the fans with attractive football - and in the end we also have to win."

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Supporting pillars are elementary. Let's build the ideal FC Bayern player: What is the decisive character trait?

"An FC Bayern player must be convinced, of FC Bayern and also of himself. We need professionals with a strong character, who bring everything to the table in terms of football and who fit in with our family club. They have to be guys who are greedy and stay greedy. We need winners, and winners with empathy, because at the end of the day, a team is all about cohesion. We analyse our team in every detail during a season, and at the end there is one question: which guys do we need in which positions? If you take the transfer market period this summer as a basis, you can see that we paid particular attention to mentality this time."

How much courage do you actually need as FC Bayern's board member for sport when making decisions?

"You definitely can't be afraid to make decisions. That also requires courage, but that's what I find interesting about my job. I'm always ready to stand up for my decisions. Sometimes a plan works out, sometimes it doesn't. That's the way it is in football, where even with all the meticulous preparation, there are always imponderables involved. Above all, you have to be careful not to make mistakes a second time. If you're prepared to learn, you'll continue to develop. I'm still learning every day, and every new experience makes it easier to make decisions."

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Board member for sport Hasan Salihamidzic is the master builder of the Bayern squad.
How much risk can you, must you, take in your job?

"Risks can never be completely ruled out, but we do everything we can to keep the probability of risk as low as possible. That's why we prepare transfers meticulously. We have a very good scouting department that compiles the necessary information for us. All decisions and judgements are reviewed several times before we agree on a player. We've continued to improve this process over the past few years. This summer you could see that very well. On the other hand, football is also so interesting for all of us because it lives to a certain extent from the fact that the impossible, the unforeseen happens. That's what makes football emotional."

How difficult is it to build the changing room so that the mood is right?

"Keeping an eye on that is an essential part of our daily management. We have a lot of conversations to be close to the team and to be able to identify currents and moods. In addition, there is an almost daily check: who's playing, who's not playing, who's satisfied, who's perhaps less satisfied at the moment? That is a dynamic process. And it's completely normal that with 20 ambitious players there are three or four who don't get to play and might therefore be dissatisfied. It's very important, especially for the coach, to moderate this properly, because everyone has to be in top form in the spring."

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What is the best way for FC Bayern to score points in transfer negotiations?

"Perspective is a key word. Every professional wants to be at a club where he can play at a high level for many years and win titles. Nowadays, a top player analyses in advance exactly what conditions are available to him. Our advantage is that our team is very well structured in terms of age. On the other hand, we specifically focus on players who can play several positions. That way we can broaden the quality of our squad. We have 19-20 outfield players plus three goalkeepers - so every newcomer knows that there will be a lot of competition, but in the end everyone will get enough playing time. At FC Bayern, all the conditions are in place for a player to have a successful career. We offer what's most important to top players: a perspective of success."

How important is the identity of a club to players these days?

"FC Bayern stands for history, continuity in leadership, social responsibility, success and cohesion. Top players appreciate that. It's well known that FC Bayern not only works professionally, but also does everything to make the players and their families feel at home in Munich. I remember well from my own playing days that this family atmosphere at FC Bayern is anything but a matter of course. We don't just talk about a special cohesion here, but we also live it. I think we always manage very well here to give every player a good feeling about being in Munich and playing for this club."

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You also frequently meet with players for dinner. Is such a tool increasingly important in this day and age - especially at a family club like FC Bayern?

"I try to build a relationship with all the players - and one in which you can be completely open with each other. I have to be able to tell a player to his face that he played badly without him taking it personally. Conversely, the player should always have the opportunity to tell me what bothers him. I'm in favour of a healthy, honest discussion. By the way, I also tell the players what they do well, how important they are for the team and how satisfied we are with their development - if that's the case."

How do you see the interaction between you, Oliver Kahn and Herbert Hainer?

"The three of us form a very good unit and I'm pleased that Herbert Hainer is standing for election again. Our processes have become very well coordinated. My team and I try to find out what our squad needs, and then I discuss that with Oliver first. As soon as we agree, we discuss the budget with Herbert Hainer and Jan-Christian Dreesen. We have short lines of communication – that's important. The transfers this summer are the result. We have all been decisive - both in terms of purchases and sales."

Has your view of events on the pitch changed again since you've been sitting in the stands? And how is the Salihamidzic in the stands? Do you follow things emotionally or are you more the analytical observer?

"For an even broader analysis, you have a better view of the big picture. How I follow the games up there depends entirely on how they go. Basically, I'm very optimistic and relaxed, but when things get tough or we don't play well, tension builds. Then it's hard to keep me in my seat. But I try not to make too much noise for the sake of the people sitting next to me. It was unusual at first, but so far I've only had good experiences - I haven't lost my closeness to the team as a result. That's the crucial thing for me."

You can read the extended interview in the latest edition of members' magazine '51'


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