Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness was particularly vocal at the club’s special press conference today, speaking on a wide range of topics.
In defense of Jogi Löw and Niko Kovac
Hoeness began by citing an example that had nothing to do with Bayern Munich, but rather with German national coach Jogi Löw. Hoeness described how n-tv’s “clueless” hosts had attempted “to shoot down Jogi Löw” as “disgusting.” The show had sent cameramen to a youth team, asking twelve-year-olds whether they thought Löw should be dismissed. Their answer: “yes.”
That was disrespectful. This man has not deserved that. This man whose feet the media, including n-tv, have kissed for ten years or more!
Hoeness then addressed Christian Falk directly by name and recounted how, after a handful of fans, potentially from the other team, had whistled when Niko Kovac and Hasan Salihamidzic were greeted at a Bayern Munich basketball game, Springer had asked Bayern’s sponsor, Deutsche Telekom, if they could have the sequence of the broadcast with the whistles, so that they could publish it on Bild online.
“That is outrageous,” Hoeness said. As he continued to speak to Falk, Hoeness added,
And what Karl-Heinz said I can subscribe to 100%: this club will now present itself as a unit in public the like of which you haven’t seen in a long time. We will be critical, very critical with our players and also with ourselves. We will question everything, but we will not continue to accept any such further disrespectful reporting.
Hoeness demolishes Juan Bernat
After Hasan Salihamidzic spoke out about Niko Kovac, Hoeness declared that one leads a club not “by questioning everything fundamentally, but by analyzing the mistakes.” That led him to address yet another member of the media present, bringing up his coverage of former player Juan Bernat:
For the second time I’ve now heard that you have glorified Juan Bernat! Bernat! The weal and woe of FC Bayern depends on the fact that we sold Juan Bernat to Paris. Let me tell you something: when we played in Sevilla, he alone was responsible for the fact that we were almost knocked out, and on that day it was decided that we would get rid of him. Because he had almost cost us the entire Champions League. I wish I could have heard your commentary after that about how he had played like shit.
The roster and Manuel Neuer
Hoeness then turned to Bayern’s roster:
We still have a roster of 16, 17 high-quality players, and the biggest problem for our coach is still, not the fact that we have good players, but rather that players who don’t play are mad. And in the long-term, that’s much more deadly for (the team’s) performance.
After Karl-Heinz Rummenigge again spoke in defense of Manuel Neuer, indirectly criticizing Lothar Matthäus for his harsh criticism of the goalkeeper, Hoeness again took to the microphone to emphasize how Bayern Munich “operates in a very familial way” and that “gratitude for what a player has accomplished...plays a major role” at the club.
Hoeness sees “no reason whatsoever to question Manuel Neuer” because he has not played ideally well for a few weeks.
When you start to do that, these players lose their self-confidence, and in this profession self-confidence is more than 50%.
Hoeness’s heated remarks
In response to follow-up questions from the press, Hoeness acknowledged that he himself should choose his words more carefully. Regarding
Juan Bernat’s Mesut Özil’s performance, “I should not have said shit (Dreck), I should have said crap (Mist),” and Hoeness also acknowledged that it was wrong to call Karim Bellarabi’s foul on Rafinha “mentally ill (geisteskrank).”
There’s a big difference between a comment that I make immediately after a very emotional game and your comments that you can write calmly the next day or the day after that. Sometimes, I admit — but I don’t want to... strangle myself — you feel very emotional after a game. I sohuldn’t have said “mentally ill,” for example. That was totally exaggerated.
Hoeness further mentioned his criticism of Mesut Özil, arguing that he wanted,
...people stop talking about racism, immigration problems, but rather to reduce it to what it actually is supposed to be. The discussion is namely whether he’s good enough or not. I answered that for myself, and of course I’m willing to let everyone to see that differently, because I’m a big democrat.
Rummenigge: deals behind the scenes
Rummenigge spoke toward the end of the press conference about false reports that were in circulation and the danger posed by quid-pro-quo deals behind the scenes between agents and journalists:
What has gotten on my nerves the most, the most is that deals are just being made now. Deals are just being made for the most part between agents and publishers to get inside information from this branch, and then, in theory, in return someone gets praised... That’s actually the biggest problem, for me, in the German media landscape — that deals are being made. “Give me something, and you’ll be praised in return.” Or when you play badly, you’ll be criticized less harshly and so on. That’s a evil (Unart) that is gradually spreading in Germany.
Bayern’s media director concluded the press conference before it threatened to devolve into a tit-for-tat between the bosses and members of the press present.