According to reports by Bild and Sport Bild (you kinda need both to get the full picture), Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are locked in a struggle over the future of Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac. In short, Hoeness backs the coach, while KHR is still skeptical. How does Bild know this? Let’s find out.
Uli vs Kalle
The meat of the story is in the Bild article. Following the club’s elimination in the Champions League at the hands of Liverpool, there have been discussions regarding whether Kovac is the right man for the job. Hoeness is the man backing Kovac, as he is adamant about not making the same mistake he did when he sacked Jupp Heynckes in 1991 — a decision he later called the worst in his career.
Before the BVB game, Hoeness made a comment where he said that Bayern would have to deliver in Der Klassiker. However, when this was interpreted as a threat to Kovac’s job, the President invited the coach to his residence and assured him that the comments were meant to put pressure on the players. That is certainly what Uli later told the media, when he clarified that Kovac’s job wasn’t under threat:
How am I supposed to collaborate with someone that I call into question on every occasion? Everything was always okay. If I’m dissatisfied, that does not mean by far that we’re going to give the coach the boot. You can still work critically with one another.
Rummenigge, in contrast, remains unconvinced by the coach, which comes across in his statement from a few days ago, when he said that there was “no job guarantee” for Kovac. It’s not clear whether Bild has any insider info or is merely guessing from circumstantial evidence already available to the media. However, the Sport Bild story goes into overdrive.
Uli ready to oust KHR?
Buckle your seat-belts, and get ready for some mundane corporate drama. According to Sport Bild, Hoeness wants Rummenigge out of the picture so he can run the club as he sees fit. This is supposedly why (or is it because?), just before Rummenigge confirmed that he would retire in 2021, Hoeness had the supervisory board reelect him as President.
It was an unusual move by Uli: he had just been reelected in 2017, and the term for the President is 3 years. Here’s where the speculation comes in. Reelection basically grants Hoeness a one-year extension to his term as President, which will now end in 2022. Thus, Hoeness is guaranteed to be around one year longer than Rummenigge.
Therefore, once Rummenigge is out of the picture, Uli will have free rein to run Bayern as he sees fit... for a year. Sport Bild does not elaborate on how Uli intends to remove Oliver Kahn (Rummenigge’s successor) from the picture as well.
Let’s be honest here, none of what is being reported by Bild seems like genuine insider info. Aside from the little bit about Uli inviting Kovac to his his favorite restaurant for lunch, everything seems like a bunch of speculation based on the bosses’ media statements. Heaven forbid two very different men don’t say exactly the same thing at all times!
Rummenigge is always more tactful and ambivalent with his statements, as opposed to Uli who is less filtered and more vulnerable to misinterpretation. The Sport Bild article, although penned by BFW’s favorite journalist Christian Falk, reads like a load of nonsense (and doesn’t make sense logically).
Could there be a behind-the-scenes disagreement between Uli and Rummenigge? Maybe, perhaps even probably. Is that anything out of the ordinary? No. They are two highly opinionated ex-players, and they will naturally disagree on some points. However, these two have been working together for decades now, and they have surely had disagreements in the past. This is nothing new, and it will pass. Let’s not make a big deal out of it.