Created on 2020-02-07 at 17:30 PM
Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have shaped the last five decades at FC Bayern more than anyone, first on the pitch and then in the boardroom. For the new book ‘Thank You for 120 Years of Passion’ to mark the club’s anniversary, the pair speak in a double interview about the history and values of our club. Here is an excerpt:
Interview with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeneß, how do you make sure that Bayern Munich remains Bayern Munich?
KHR: “Obviously, our commercial development has been dramatic, particularly in the last 10 years. I nevertheless believe that a football club must remain primarily a football club. And if it turns into a football-playing brand or a football-playing corporation, our fans wouldn’t stand for that.”
UH: "We can’t and don’t want to close our eyes to our financial development, but we must never forget where we come from.”
Can it be said that ex-players are better at passing on the DNA of a club?
UH: “Ex-players simply speak the language of the players. If you want to tell a Franck Ribéry what he’s done wrong today, it’s difficult when you have to admit you only played for TSV Böblingen yourself.”
KHR: “Franz Beckenbauer is also a good example of that. He never thought small after ending his career. In 1994, we won the title – and Franz was president and coach at the same time, which probably wouldn’t have happened anywhere else. And then he said: “Now we need international success too.” So, we invested in the team, signed players like Oliver Kahn and Mehmet Scholl. Two years later, in 1996, we won the UEFA Cup against Bordeaux. It never goes from 0 to 100 immediately, though. But it doesn’t go from 100 to 0 either.”
Indeed, Bayern Munich are always associated with this relentless craving for success.
KHR: “We’ve always had driven people here at the club: Uli of course, Franz, probably me too. We wanted success.”
Hoeneß and Rummenigge played together at FC Bayern.
That absolute will to win is part of FC Bayern. How do new players take on that quality?
KHR: “You have it hammered into you within four weeks here.”
UH: “We often used to get players from Karlsruhe, Frankfurt or Berlin, clubs who found themselves in mid-table or even in the relegation battle. So, you wondered whether the new boys might settle for a draw in away games. With us, however, every attack really is an attack. And when you’ve scored the first goal, you want to score the second and third. The new players need to get that into themselves first.”
A family who stand together in defeat and celebrate wins together: Is that what characterises FC Bayern?
KHR: “You have to say that much of that also bears the hallmark of Uli. He first introduced those family values here. The Christmas visits to fans or going to the Oktoberfest were all introduced by Uli. That didn’t happen when we were playing for the club. Mia san mia only really got going in the past couple of decades.”
UH: “The awareness wasn’t there yet. Football also had a very different status in society. People came to important games and enjoyed themselves, but football didn’t take over the lives of the players, officials and fans. It just wasn’t as full-on as it is today.”
KHR: “Just to add to that, since we’ve spoken about the great, influential figures at FC Bayern: During my 10 years as a player at Bayern Munich, I never heard the name Kurt Landauer.”
Our greatest heroes, best goals and most important decisions – the book ‘Danke für 120 Jahre Leidenschaft’ ('Thank You for 120 Years of Passion’ is published by Die Werkstatt Verlag just in time for the club anniversary. The book is available from the FC Bayern Online Store
One of the great presidents of FC Bayern Munich, who built up the club before and after the First World War. Because he was Jewish, he had to step down in 1933 and then emigrated to Switzerland. He became president again after the Second World War.
UH: “It wasn’t that long ago that we all got to know the history of the club. I also have to thank the young people, particularly in the south stand, who engaged so much with Landauer and said: “We’re a big club, so we’re also concerned with our history.”
Is that pride in the history part of ‘Mia san mia’??
UH: “Yes, and the social responsibility. ‘Mia san mia’ means that when you’re at the top, you also need to look down and help. And together we’ve done that over the last 10, 15 years. ‘Mia san mia’ is a philosophy that goes beyond the football field. Self-awareness, satisfaction and gratitude are also part of it. At lots of clubs, the name of the player is at the top of the shirt and then the name of the club is underneath the shirt number, which is half hidden in the shorts. With us, Bayern Munich is right at the top, two strong names that carry a responsibility that must be met. Minister President Markus Söder recently said at a reception at the state chancellery: “When FC Bayern does well, Bavaria also does well. There’s no higher praise.”
Hoeneß and Rummenigge worked side-by-side for many years as the strike partnership and led FC Bayern to the pinnacle of European football. Hoeneß resigned his positions in November 2019.
How do you picture Bayern on its 150th birthday?
KHR: “Well, the question is obviously whether we’ll still be alive.”
UH: “We don’t necessarily need to be there. Even if a crisis ever emerges, we will have people who can deal with it, who will do their job, and therefore we can be very confident about the foreseeable future.”
KHR: “I have great faith in the people involved. They’re the decisive factor, as I’ve learned here. We have good people who you can trust. They’ll do a good job. The quality of the management combined with the quality of the people will ensure that FC Bayern continues to be successful in the future.”
Also in the current edition of 51: Manuel Neuer on his role as captain of the record champions 👇