'Women's football in Germany must shift up a gear as soon as possible'
The FC Bayern women, led by head coach Jens Scheuer, have reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the second time in the club's history. In our interview, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge offers his congratulations to the team for this success and their incredible run of 26 consecutive wins. In addition, the CEO talks about the steps necessary in the development of women's football in Germany for it to remain competitive on the international stage.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge - The interview
Herr Rummenigge, the FC Bayern women's footballers have racked up 26 consecutive wins - not even Hansi Flick's team has achieved such a long run of success so far. What do you think of this development?
Rummenigge: "Of course, we're all delighted. It's our goal and aspiration to be the benchmark in women's football as well, and we're on a very good path. I have fond memories of 2015 and 2016, when our two teams became German champions and celebrated side by side on the Town Hall balcony with our fans on Marienplatz. These pictures went around the world, it was a great sign that women's football at FC Bayern is also extremely successful and an important part of our club. We'd all like to experience moments like that again."
Jens Scheuer and his team have now reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the second time in the club's history after 2019 - how important is it that FC Bayern is also a major player in women's football on the European stage?
"I'm increasingly being asked about our development by colleagues from abroad, it's very much being registered. We've often expressed it in this way: Wherever FC Bayern competes, we want to be number one. However, I share the opinion of our head of department Karin Danner and our sporting director Bianca Rech that German women's football as a whole needs to shift up a gear as soon as possible. This is urgently needed in order to be competitive on the European stage. England started expanding its structures years ago, a lot is happening in Spain and Italy, and women's football has long been established in France. In order to take the next step in Germany, we should reposition ourselves analogous to men's football."
What could that look like?
"The development in men's football is a good example. When the professional clubs set themselves up independently in the DFL 21 years ago, the result was a sustained positive development. You have to be honest: Women's football has basically been a stepchild in German football up to now. And it's high time we took care of it the way it deserves to be taken care of. We have to develop women's football more sustainably than the DFB has been able to do in recent years. This isn't a criticism of the association, but it should now simply be seen as being in everyone's interest and as a task to make women independent together with the DFB, analogous to the example of men's football. However, having an independent structure would make more sense than being latched onto the DFL, otherwise the women would feel like a fifth wheel on the men's football wagon."
The DFB Cup semi-final at VfL Wolfsburg is coming up on Sunday. It's the absolute standout fixture in German women's football - what do you expect, what do you hope for from this encounter?
"I'm very impressed by the way our women's team approach and conquer every challenge. The sporting management has built up something with coach Jens Scheuer, the mix is just right as it is with our men's team with lots of Germany internationals as well as interesting signings from overseas. The FC Bayern vs. VfL Wolfsburg fixture has now established itself as the German women's Klassiker. Wolfsburg have been more successful in recent years, but we have ambitious goals - and we boast a tradition that no other Bundesliga team can match. Last year our women's department celebrated its 50th anniversary, which shows that our club was way ahead of its time back then. This is not about image reasons, or adorning ourselves with something, but has always been about equality in a continuously growing overall picture."