Last season: 2 finals, 2 losses. Last 2 seasons: 0 trophies. Not very “Mia San Mia” as the Bayern Munich faithful like to believe. Two seasons of disappointments, failures and near misses has led to a transitional summer in Bavarian land. Not only have changes taken place in the dressing room, but also at board level. We take a look at a summer of introspection and self assessment for the most successful club in German history.
The changes in personnel can only help as much when the winning mentality has abruptly gone missing. In recent times, Karl Heinze Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness have spoken out regarding overconfidence hurting the club and how a dose of humility might do wonders for a club so resourceful and a team so talented. The fans showed their displeasure, by booing and whistling the team in a 3-2 win over Netherlands in a friendly at the Allianz Arena. This after a spirited performance in the Champions League final had been deemed insufficient to land a first European crown in more than a decade now.
As Borussia Dortmund look to strengthen their grip on Bundesliga and German football as a whole, Bayern Munich must not only raise the bar in terms of performances, but also instill cohesiveness and team ethic, something that has been visibly absent in recent times.
First, Brazilian defender Breno was arrested and asked to serve a jail sentence for arson, causing unrest in and around the club. Recently, Uli Hoeness the Bayern President was widely criticized for supporting the young defender. Then, reports of a bust-up between Ribery and Robben were rife towards the end of the season which lead to a fine for the Frenchman.
The often misquoted and overused phrase by the fans, “Mia San Mia”, translating to “we are who we are”, can be heard reverberating around the Allianz Arena on match days. Ironically, that is something Bayern Munich, as a team, have failed to be in the past few seasons – themselves. A restoration of identity and belief is important, a challenge that has seen the arrival of Dortmund legend and former Ballon d’Or winner Matthias Sammer at the club.
The arrival of Sammer has been received very well, especially after his exploits as technical director of DFB. Bayern Munich were aware of his availability and moved quick to get him on board. Sammer, with his intellect and vast footballing knowledge, was the main man behind the post 2006 revolution in German football.
Sammer’s appointment was hardly surprising as he replaced the hugely unpopular Nerlinger. Nerlinger was heavily criticized for Bayern’s failings in recent times. Though most of those criticisms have been harsh as the former sporting director tied numerous players to long term contracts at the club, injected a more youth-minded setup and also acquired some impressive talents. But his transfer policies were absolutely diabolical to say the least. The failures at luring Coentrao, Reus and Arturo Vidal and the disappointments of Rafinha and Petersen, meant Nerlinger was on borrowed time. Soon the club released a statement saying the club and Nerlinger didn’t share similar goals for the club, and thus the divorce.
Matthias Sammer, after his successful spell as director of German Football Association, was ready to make the jump. The former German international has been a leader on and off the pitch, and could bring a performance oriented winning mentality at the club. Der Kaiser quoted only recently, “Sammer is a leader, you’ll find none better than him. He has always driven his teams forward. We don’t have anyone like that. Sammer will revive FC Bayern Munich because the players will believe in him. First, it was Jurgen Klinsmann who came in between us and then it was Louis van Gaal. Thankfully it has finally worked out”. The delight is obvious.
Bayern Munich in the transfer market