Munich (dpa) – Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will be the personal home game as head of FC Bayern Munich. On September 25, after the match for the European Supercup against Sevilla FC, the CEO of the German record champion will be 65.
At the age of 66, he wants to pass “the baton” to ex-national goalkeeper Oliver Kahn (51). The deadline of December 31, 2021 is set in stone for him. “I am not one of those people who consider themselves irreplaceable,” Rummenigge said in an interview with the German news agency, in which he also spoke about his plans for the past 15 months. On the agenda are “three things in particular”.
What does the number 65 mean to you? answer
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: You retired when you were 65. Now you just get a year older. I’m not making a fuss about this birthday. I’m not going to throw a big party. When we get back from Budapest – ideally with the trophy – I celebrate the evening with my family. That’s how I did it before my 60th birthday. I flew to Italy with the whole family. We spent a nice long weekend there. That was amazing. The family is sacred and very important to my wife and me.
A year from now, when you turn 66, you want to step down as Bayern boss. What’s on your agenda for the past 15 months?
Rummenigge: Three things in particular. Firstly, that we stay on track in terms of sport. We have been there for eight years. We have just achieved something extraordinary with the triple. Now it is important to maintain this great success so that there is something to celebrate again in 2021. The second major goal concerns Corona and the economic consequences of the pandemic: FC Bayern Munich is also facing a financially challenging year. We have to face this situation to get away financially with a black eye, just like last season.
Blue eye means?
Rummenigge: Due to the games with no spectators in ticketing, sponsorship and merchandising, we had a double-digit income deficit. The same goes for all professional clubs. Borussia Dortmund has reported a loss of EUR 43 million. But the pain for all football in Europe will be even greater this season than it was last season, regardless of whether the clubs are Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Mainz 05 or Eintracht Frankfurt. It will affect everyone financially.
And what is the third important item on the agenda?
Rummenigge: A big personal concern for me is Oliver Kahn’s further education. When I hand over the baton to him at the end of 2021, it should be seamless. It is important that he combines his ideas with my experience, which I then gained 20 years as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and that he is so fit that Bayern Munich remains just as successful on track as I am happy in my entire time. was allowed to experience.
Could a situation arise for you precisely because of the Corona crisis in which you would reconsider or postpone your plans to withdraw?
Rummenigge: No! When the sun is shining, my work is pleasant, personal and fun. You must demonstrate management skills when a crisis occurs. We are a rehearsed team here on the Board of Directors, we tackle it together and hopefully come out of the corona crisis with a black eye this season.
Is December 31, 2021 the deadline?
Rummenigge: Yes. Incidentally, there is no other scenario that I have in mind, not even to quit my job in advance.
A FC Bayern without Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge seemed unthinkable until recently. Hoeneß retired from the front row ten months ago. You will soon. Could the caesura be astonishingly silent?
Rummenigge: It must be the goal of a club like Bayern Munich that what follows is also of high quality. I think the duo Herbert Hainer as president and successor to Uli Hoeneß and Oliver Kahn as my successor will continue to hold the Bayern Munich flag in a positive way. I’m not worried about that at all. Besides, I am not one of those people who think they are irreplaceable.
Is it really that easy to let go?
Rummenigge: I’ll tell you the following story: I saw Franz Beckenbauer here in 1977 when he left the club for New York. Everyone thought it was now with Bayern Munich. There was also irritation for a few months, but then it went on. What does that tell us? If Bayern Munich can replace a Franz Beckenbauer, this club can do it all. A few years ago I also resigned from the European club association ECA. Here too I noticed that after ten years you have to let go and trust a young person.
But is that comparable to stopping at Bayern?
Rummenigge: Of course, the emotions are greater at Bayern Munich. I’ve been here practically since I was 18 years old. In 1991 I came back to the club as vice president. And when I quit, I was CEO for 20 years. What I will miss is the inner nervousness in the stadium during the games. I always knew we would win and we would have a great weekend. When we lose, it becomes restless. Then in the next game everything has to be reorganized with the coach and the team. But it is part of life that at some point you have to let go and trust your successors.
To what extent does the current sporting high facilitate the unrest at management level? And what role does Hansi Flick, the builder of the Triples 2020, have in this?
Rummenigge: Management must create the conditions that enable you to be successful. And the team and the coach should try to play football successfully under these conditions. When Hansi took over as head coach in November, it was a stroke of luck for Bayern. It was as if someone had turned the light back on. How he did it is à la bonheur. We can count ourselves lucky. And Hansi is a great guy.
How did he make FC Bayern number 1 in Europe?
Rummenigge: Hansi does the job as if he had been a head coach for decades, with his experience, tactics, training management and most importantly his empathy. Fortunately, this radiates in and out. We now have to guide him properly to maintain that. Hansi has managed to reintroduce FC Bayern’s gaming culture that we used to enjoy under Pep Guardiola, Jupp Heynckes and Louis van Gaal. I’ve never seen all players really support such a philosophy. It is a great achievement that Hansi has had a lasting positive impact on the character of the team. The old Herberger phrase applies to us: one for all, all for one.
You already mentioned Oliver Kahn. He has been a member of the board for nine months now. How do you experience it?
Rummenigge: I experience him as a very good quality and loyal colleague, the cooperation is very harmonious. By the way, everyone feels that here in the boardroom.
Can he also be CEO?
Rummenigge: Yes. He has two good qualifications. He has had a football career that was a plus. And it should be my successor who has knowledge of football. Oliver did. In addition, after his active career he gained other important things, important knowledge. Because nowadays football has a lot to do with finances, marketing and networking. I’m not worried he will make a good CEO.
As you can hear, Oliver Kahn is eager to develop a new strategy. Which direction should this go?
Rummenigge: It will innovatively take into account the new football world. We are in the age of digitization. As FC Bayern, we have to face this world, which is changing faster than ever. The world will not change because FC Bayern wants to change it. We have to adapt to this world. And I also believe that the coming years will also bring financial challenges, even for FC Bayern.
You have been CEO since FC Bayern was transformed into an AG almost 20 years ago. How has the club changed since then?
Rummenigge: We can be very satisfied with the development of FC Bayern Munich AG. It was founded at the time to build our beautiful stadium. Our financial conditions were not as rosy twenty years ago as they were at least before the Corona crisis. The Allianz Arena is the key to everything we represent today. It was a spot. I hope that over the years as a CEO I have made more good decisions than bad decisions overall. I don’t like to pat myself on the back.
In business, the CEO of a company is usually a top earner. What does it look like in professional football? What is the position of the CEO in FC Bayern’s structure with well-paid stars like Robert Lewandowski or Manuel Neuer?
Rummenigge: I would say that football is comparable to the movie world in Hollywood. The head of the studio is not the highest paid person, but the actors. The protagonists are with us on the lawn. Incidentally, I have always been paid very satisfactorily at Bayern Munich. But I don’t like to talk about money. I am very fortunate to have been able to live a privileged life since I was 18 thanks to football.
What will come after December 31, 2021? Do you stay in the stands every week? What future for Bavaria are you planning for yourself?
Rummenigge: I have no intention of being on a committee. I don’t have a concrete plan yet for what I’m going to do on January 1, 2022. But I am not afraid of it either. Hopefully I will not get bored. I have a big family. As a player, I was a slave to the schedule. I will certainly watch matches regularly, because I have always enjoyed the stadium culture that we miss so much without spectators.
Can you relax and watch the games because you no longer have to think about the consequences of failures, such as a possible dismissal of a coach?
Rummenigge: I’ll take the fan’s perspective. And of course we once had a year here when we sat at the table a little sour. But we have been kissed by the muse of success at FC Bayern for 50 years. Maybe there is still Real Madrid in Europe, maybe even FC Barcelona, who have experienced this in this quality.
Can you stimulate new areas of responsibility outside FC Bayern? A position at the German Football Association? In the German football league? Or international again?
Rummenigge: I’ve always known what I can and can’t do. I am totally unsuitable for an office in an association. I need the game because it has always been the focus of my work. At Bayern Munich it was always important to me that football was number one priority and that finances were serious and solid. We have always achieved that in my 19 years on the board. Football must be central, that is the big difference with many clubs in Europe. When football is good, finances come with a certain automatism.
How did you shape the years in Italy when you played for Inter Milan?
Rummenigge: You made a big change in me. I went to Italy at a leisurely pace and returned as a changed person. My attitude to life has changed. The Italians live in the here and now, enjoy the day and don’t always live for tomorrow. The food, the culture, the climate, the people – Italy has a lot to offer. The best would be a mix of Italy and Germany. If you could combine the pleasant sides of both countries and cultures, it would probably turn out like some kind of paradise.
ABOUT THE PERSON: Born on September 25, 1955 in Lippstadt, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been CEO of FC Bayern Munich since 2002. Before that, he was vice president. The triple gains in 2013 and 2020 also fall during his tenure. As a world-class striker, he won several titles with FC Bayern and also played for Inter Milan and Servette Geneva. With Germany he became vice world champion twice and European champion in 1980.