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Uli Hoeness discusses Dembélé, Douglas Costa, Mislintat, and more

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Uli Hoeness has no time for players who put cash before club.

Uli Hoeness sits down to talk Fußball with Jörg Wontorra, August 13, 2017.
Photo by Joerg Koch/Getty Images for Sky Deutschland

Bayern Munich's president Uli Hoeness spoke candidly with Jörg Wontorra on his new show Jörg Wontorra und Gäste on several subjects of current interest in European soccer and to Bayer. (Via kicker and Sport Bild; full video here in German).

Ousmane Dembélé

Hoeness praised rival Borussia Dortmund's handling of the situation involving their budding superstar Ousmane Dembélé, who has refused to practice with the team after Dortmund rejected Barcelona’s first offer to sign their first choice to replace him:

First of all, I must say that Borussia Dortmund has thus far acted very shrewdly and approached the matter very calmly. As a great club, and Dortmund is that now, you sometimes have to show strength. We would have handled it the same way.

In the meantime, Hoeness suggests Dortmund could have Dembélé practice on the side until August 31 arrives. Hoeness also had harsh words for Dembélé himself:

The player is also at fault. If the player doesn’t go to practice, then he has to answer for that alone and cannot hide behind his agent. At some point the spectators won’t play along anymore. You cannot treat the players like gods, if they don’t behave like gods.

If Dortmund keep Dembélé, Hoeness speculated that he will eventually “pick up the pace again [. . .] He will want to maintain his market value. Then this topic will quiet down again.”

Douglas Costa

The discussion of Dembélé soon turned to another player whose egotistical behavior earned Hoeness’s special displeasure. Hoeness had withering criticism for former Bayern player Douglas Costa:

There are players who start to think about where they might earn more money two days after they sign their contracts. It’s the responsibility of the club to sign players of character. We had a similar case with Costa. He acted exactly like Dembélé. After the shortest amount of time, although his performances were not that good, he wanted to have more money. We let him go on Bayern Munich’s terms.

Sven Mislintat

Another recent controversy has concered Borussia Dortmund’s former chief scout and current director of professional football, Sven Mislintat. Bayern had expressed its interest in Mislintat after the departure of technical director Michael Reschke and his chief scout Timon Pauls.

Dortmund’s Michael Zorc expressed some irritation about Bayern’s inquiries and ruled out letting Mislintat go - having extended his contract until 2021. It turns out that Bayern inquired at all only because Mislintat was also a candidate for the job taken by Rescke himself: director of sport at VfB Stuttgart.

The subject is settled, because Dortmund has said that they won’t give him up. [. . .] He had applied at a Swabian club that Michael Reschke transferred to. We didn’t enter into negotiations, but told him that we could imagine it [i.e. hiring Mislintat]. Then Dortmund said it was out of the question, which is completely legitimate.

Lahm, Brazzo, and Ancelotti

Hoeness touched on several other familiar topics. Hoeness provided another detail to the story of Philipp Lahm’s rejection of Bayern Munich’s offer to become its sporting director.

Philipp Lahm is a player whom we value greatly - but we do not value his agent. And we would have had to buy him as well.

Philipp Lahm’s agent behind the scenes is Roman Grill, founder of the agency acta7 and the coach of Bayern Munich’s youth team 2000-2003. It remains unclear in what capacity Bayern Munich would have had to “buy” Grill along with Lahm, but Hoeness is one of a handful of people who have publicly criticized Grill in the past.

Hoeness had - unsurprisingly - nothing but praise for Hasan Salihamdizic, who is not, Hoeness stressed, “an emergency solution.” According to Hoeness, Salihamdizic has “already intervened in 14 days more often than Matthias Sammer in a year [. . .]. The first 14 days tell us that we may have found the perfect solution.

And finally Hoeness addressed head coach Carlo Ancelotti himself, who he sees as tasked with navigating a major transition, and the club’s primary goal:

We have to navigate a major transition - Pep Guardiola didn’t have to do that at the time. Now Carlo is being asked to balance all these things [. . .] We want to be German champion; everything else is icing on the cake. If in the process he succeeds in integrating one or another young player, that would be fantastic.

Bayern’s bevy of young players to be integrated has only grown in the off-season with the arrival of Corentin Tolisso and Niklas Süle. Hoeness also undoubtedly has players like Kingsley Coman and Renato Sanches in mind.