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Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: I want Pep Guardiola to stay

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FC Bayern Munich's living legend and current CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, opens up about his club in an in-depth interview, including his displeasure with the media, plans for next season's roster, and the danger of falling even further behind the other European leagues. Oh ... his coach may have been mentioned once or twice.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Kalle Rummenigge, already a significant figure in the history of the Rekormeister, both from his playing days, and his leadership as the chairman of the board, has become THE face of the club in the absence of Uli Hoeneß.  He sits down with the Süddeutsche Zeitung for a lengthy interview, to talk about his favorite topics: FC Bayern and German football.

Following is a translation of the entire interview, as posted online on the newspaper's website.

Süddeutsche Zeitung: Herr Rummennigge, when FC Bayern went ahead after seven minutes in the second leg against Barcelona, did you suddenly believe in a miracle?

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: Believed?  Maybe hoped.  My entourage in the stands is often emotional, I'm more of a realist.  The third goal against in the first leg was the decider.  That 3-0 allowed Barcelona to approach things in Munich in a relaxed fashion.

SZ: Coach Pep Guardiola said, what this team accomplished this season, is more important than what they accomplished last season - even though they won the Double and the Club World Cup.  Do you see it the same way?

KHR: I said before the season: Our goal, in a post-World Cup season that we know is tough, is to be German champions, and to play a good role in the other competitions.  We accomplished that, despite endless injury problems.  I am very satisfied with how the season went.

SZ: Not everyone around Bayern sees it the same.

KHR: I realize that the media lately only measures us against the Triple in 2013.  Something we've only won once in 115 years, which some people are forgetting.

SZ: People are questioning the tactics of the coach, after two semifinal ousters.  There are questions whether the team needed to defend so offensively after the 0-1 deficit in Barcelona, or the 1-0 lead in Munich.  Was a good position carelessly risked?

KHR: I don't participate in discussions like that.  We have a highly qualified coach, in whom I have full confidence.

SZ: But does he overwhelm the culture of Bayern sometimes with his offensive defending, which, despite all of the star power on offense, has always been a stable and tough Katsche-Schwarzenbeck club?

KHR: I've noticed, in some of the media, a distinct anti-Guardiola trend. That has absolutely nothing to do with the mood of the club.  We are very happy with this man.  I am in constant communication with our key players, and they confirm my opinion from day one, that the board can consider itself lucky to have a coach with such a precise plan.  Our team is happy with him too.

SZ: In the conflict between the coach and the former team doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, you sided with Guardiola.  After the 1-3 defeat in Porto, you were reported to have made the medical staff responsible for the loss.

KHR: We have locker room confidentiality, I can't give you any information about that, but I can say this much: Naturally, we weren't exactly in the best mood after that game.

SZ: Some of the injury situations appear somewhat mysterious.  Many readers called and asked: What's up with Franck Ribéry?

KHR: We don't only have locker room confidentiality, but also a medical confidentiality, and I ask you to please respect that in the case of Ribéry.

SZ: Ribéry hurt himself in the game against Donetsk, and we heard that it would be three or four days.  That was eight weeks ago.

KHR: Sometimes it's just not that easy with a diagnosis.

SZ: And Holger Badstuber?  He was diagnosed with a tendon tear, which he allegedly played with.  How did that work?

KHR: Holger had a tear in a different part of the muscle that had surgery, which happened in the home game against Porto.  If you knew the details of our medical records, then you would better understand the thoughts and emotions of our coach.  He had to pay a high price against Barcelona.

SZ: Some critics pin the CL elimination on the tactics of the coach.  How do you react to those that find it strange that the coach changes the system three times during games?

KHR: Exactly that argument is pretty interesting.  In Pep's first season, we had the discussion in the media that he can only play one system.  Ball possession, tiki-taka, whatever they call it.  Now people are noticing, whoa, sometimes he plays a three-man defense, sometimes a four-man defense.  That only shows one thing, that the coach is extremely flexible, and he thinks intensely about how to set the lineup.  He fulfills all the criteria that we expect from a good coach.

SZ: Were you surprised yourself, when your coach started with a risky three-man defense, and then switched to a four-man defense after 15 minutes?

KHR: Everyone saw that the three-man defense had a problem at that moment, so it's right that the coach switched it up.  That's not a weakness, that's a strength.  That is viewed somewhat one-dimensionally in Germany.

SZ: What do you mean?

KHR: I'll give you an example.  In Hannover, Guardiola subbed out Dante after 30 minutes.  In Germany, he was criticized for it, how can you show up the poor guy?  Do you know what Gazzetta dello Sport wrote?  They wrote: "Pep won the game."

SZ: What does that tell you?

KHR: That tells me that the game is viewed differently in different countries.  Here they discuss too many trivial things around the game.  In other countries the game is maybe viewed a little more strategically.  There, when a coach makes a change in the game, they see it as a strength.  I think it's right that our coach actively coaches.

SZ: Just recently there was a report that Manchester City wants Guardiola.  Immediately.

KHR: It's not a coincidence that Pep is one of the most coveted coaches.  Believe me: When Pep someday says "I want to do something new", you will have 15 top clubs standing in line.  Please don't forget, he won five titles in two years with us.  I think that might even be a record for our club.

SZ: Guardiola recently declared that he will be here next year, but he demonstratively hasn't committed himself past the summer of 2016.  Wouldn't you have to convince him to sign an extension soon, just to avoid unrest?

KHR: What do you mean "demonstratively hasn't committed"?  We have a clear agreement.  We agreed in January, that we would talk about his future in the second half of 2015.  That's not changing.  And he knows my opinion, I would like him to stay.

SZ: But can you really plan the future if you don't know who will coach the roster in the future?

KHR: Roster planning doesn't work the way it's often discussed in public.  I always hear that Bayern has to plan the roster for the coming years.  But we're not sitting here with a Playstation and playing FIFA 2015.  A proper roster plan is done for one season, not for three or for five seasons.  These five-year plans already failed in the Soviet Union.

SZ: Many experts say that the roster, with the over-30 players like Alonso, Ribéry, Robben, Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Dante, is slowly getting too old, and you have to make some transfers with the future in mind.

KHR: FC Bayern made a huge mistake once, back in 1991.  Back then, the whole roster was redone with younger players like Michael Sternkopf.  Klaus Augenthaler was sent into retirement.  And what happened?  The stable framework of players, who were German and World Champions, were gone.

SZ: So there won't be a rebuild?

KHR: Once again: We can't plan the team now, that's going to be in the 2018 Champions League final.  A roster has to work for one season, and that's why Pep is obviously involved in the planning.  Just like Jupp Heynckes was in 2012.

SZ: Does that mean that it will continue, with Dante, with Xabi Alonso, and Bastian Schweinsteiger?

KHR: We know, and everyone knows, what those players have done for Bayern.  Still, we're thinking about it.

SZ: Are you going to have to tell some of them, you are important, but you won't play as much anymore?

KHR: We will make our decisions with the necessary sensitivity.

SZ: Whose copyright will be on the future roster?  Do you decide, or does sport director Matthias Sammer?

KHR: This is not an individual decision here.  Matthias Sammer will work with Pep and our technical director, Michael Reschke, to come up with suggestions, that we will evaluate together.  I can reassure everyone who thinks we will turn over the key and only follow Guardiola's ideas.  Pep respects the culture of the club, he wanted to come here specifically for the tradition, and, of course, for the players.  Except for Thiago, he hasn't had any wishes.  We've experienced something different before.

SZ: You're referring to Louis van Gaal.

KHR: Right at the first meeting, he said, I don't need Lucio, I don't need Demichelis either, I don't need Luca Toni, and I don't need the newly acquired Gomez either.  I need van-Gaal players.

SZ: Edson Braafheid and Danijel Pranjic.

KHR: Yes, you understand?  That's exactly why I don't understand the tune people are singing.  Pep is completely different than van Gaal, there's no reason for this debate.  People want to put a hair in the soup, where there isn't one.

SZ: The debate probably starts, because there are so many Spaniards on the roster...

KHR: ...yes, but those transfers had only a little to do with Pep.  And look at the transfers: Bernat was a good transfer, Xabi Alonso was a good transfer, Thiago was a very good transfer, Pepe Reina, as a backup keeper, is world class.

SZ: Give us a little insight into your current roster planning.  Is there something going on with the reported names, like Griezmann, Verratti, Gündogan, De Bruyne?

KHR: If I was a rank amateur, I would answer that question.  In the next eight weeks, there will be at least 43 names that are going to be rumored, and I am determined to not comment on any of them.  I'm afraid that I will follow through.

SZ: On what kind of scale will you invest?

KHR: We will surely do something on the transfer market.  But we aren't under pressure, because David Alaba, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Holger Badstuber and Javi Martinez will return healthy and fresh.  I would have liked to see the games against Barcelona with our best lineup.  The only result that was unnecessary, was the defeat in the Pokal against Dortmund.

SZ: BVB hurts more than Barcelona?

KHR: Against Barca, we were at our limits with the limited roster, but against Dortmund, we failed to score the second goal.  That game cost me half a sleepless night.

SZ: The ex-Dortmund player Mario Götze is currently coming under heavy criticism.  The DFB already defended him, what is Bayern doing?

KHR: We are also obligated to support Mario.  You can't forget that the kid is still very young, he has to learn to cope with the expectations at FC Bayern.

SZ: It has been said that the player lacks the communication and support from the coach.

KHR: Mario came to us, because he absolutely wanted to work with Pep Guardiola.  We are all ready to help, but at the end of the day, the player has to take on the responsibility himself.

SZ: Is Götze on the market?

KHR: He has a contract with us.  And I am not aware of his agents offering his services to other clubs.

SZ: Götze cost 37 million Euros.  Will FC Bayern have to get used to even higher fees?

KHR: I refuse to do a 100 million transfer, just because Real Madrid did one.

SZ: Financial director Jan-Christian Dreesen recently said, Bayern could afford a 100-million transfer.

KHR: Gentlemen, Jan Dreesen just wanted to point out that, theoretically, we could do something like that.  We haven't internally discussed anything of that magnitude.  We don't want to go along with the madness, we're not going to follow the herd.  Our philosophy was and is, to write at least one black zero [on the accounting balance sheet].  We'll accomplish that again this year.

SZ: But can we assume that the  40 million for Javi Martinez will not stand for long as the club transfer record?

KHR: We want to integrate players out of our own youth system again, but we will entice star players - like Ribéry, Robben or Neuer - to our city again.  And that will likely not be cheaper than before.

SZ: How do you evaluate the reinforcement of your European competition?

KHR: So far, I haven't seen Financial Fair Play making the transfer market any more rational.  And with the newest TV contract in England, I see the next wave coming.  The Bundesliga has to be careful to not get caught under the wheels of the English clubs.

SZ: Recently, the English clubs haven't been very smart in their transfers.

KHR: We should under no circumstances think that we're smart, and they're dumb.  The English have learned a lot, they will invest their money cleverly.  I'm convinced that they will have a big comeback internationally.  And I don't know if we are ready for it.

SZ: What do you mean?

KHR: We face a big dilemma in Germany: the pay-TV market is controlled by a de facto monopoly.  My concern is that if we all aren't able to break this monopoly, we will continue to sell ourselves under value.

SZ: You mean, that you need additional players in the game, apart from Sky?

KHR: Yes, new players need to be on the field.  We need to be honest, even with existing partnerships.  Only competition drives the price, that's how markets work. That's why I am in favor of offering different packages to different providers.  We can't make ourselves dependent in the long term on a monopolist.  Otherwise, we won't even catch up to the Spaniards or the Italians.

SZ: Which makes it even more important to have reinforcements from the youth system pushing for a spot in the first eleven. To rebuild the academy has become an important issue.  It's now Uli Hoeneß's project, who has started working at the club again while on day release.

KHR: Uli is very engaged.  And he is a good team player.

SZ: What are the current challenges in Uli Hoeneß's new responsibility?

KHR: We are working on a three-step plan.  First, we are building the new facility on Ingolstädter Straße, because we are bursting at the seams at Säbener Straße.  Secondly, we are improving the schooling.  Thirdly, we have to be more aggressive and focused in our youth scouting.  In the past, when Bayern beckoned, everyone hopped on the train and came to Munich.  Nowadays, they also take the train to Leipzig and Hoffenheim.

SZ: Indicative of your determination is Joshua Kimmich, the first addition for the new season.  For the 20-year old from RB Leipzig, who belonged to VfB Stuttgart, FC Bayern supposedly paid seven million Euros.

KHR: If you're convinced that someone can play here, then you have to throw everything that Bayern Munich has to offer in the balance.  And, hopefully, that will be enough.

SZ: What do you think: Is the rebuild of the academy the project that will get Uli Hoeneß absorbed into the club again?

KHR: When I see him now, he makes a very satisfied impression on me.  He is back again, with his second family.  He's doing it with a lot of ambition, and I am convinced, that we will benefit from it in the end.

SZ: What kind of future will develop out of that for the former president?

KHR: Only one person can answer that, and that's Uli Hoeneß.