Bayern Munich has arrived in the United States for its preseason Audi Tour in Los Angeles, Houston, and Kansas City. Once they return to Germany, they won’t have long left before their competitive fixtures begin in defense of their domestic double. Per a report by Bild, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that Bayern is more than ready for another tight fight with league rival Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund has significantly strengthened its roster this summer by signing Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt, and Thorgan Hazard. They thus feel confident they can go the distance this season. Rummenigge, however, feels that it’s still Bayern’s title to lose, despite how much their rivals have reinforced their squad:
The championship will be decided only through Bayern Munich. We have now been German champion seven times in a row; last season it was a close fight for the first time again. We’re interested in competition and emotion. It accordingly is absolutely correct if Dortmund announces its ambitions to that effect. We thus know from the very first matchday: we have to be concentrated and play well, so that we can defend our title in the eighth year again, too.
Rummenigge highlighted Bayern’s defense, in particular, as bolstering their fortunes in European competition, especially with the additions of Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard. They lost Mats Hummels, of course, and Rummenigge also says Bayern needs to wait and see what happens with Jerome Boateng, but he still sees the back line as a strong, cohesive unit:
When I look only at our defense with Alaba, Hernández, Süle, Kimmich, Pavard, and Jérôme [Boateng] - although we have to wait and see what might still develop with him - I have to say I see little better in Europe. Also, everything we have to offer up front is good. [...] We have a good team and we will also have a good roster; the transfer market is not yet over for us, after all. When the Bundesliga starts, I’m convinced our team will get to work with great concentration and motivation.
Last season, the question often arose after a handful of results went poorly: is Niko Kovac the right manager for Bayern Munich? Despite the intense scrutiny Kovac received, the fact of the matter is he still led Bayern to a domestic double. Rummenigge reiterated the motif that Bayern wants success and continuity in the manager’s position, and that Kovac is well-aware of what’s expected of him:
Niko knows that we’re a club that needs success. He submits to that just as we all do here at the club. We’re interested in having continuity also in the coach’s position. I wish him just as successful a season as last year with the Double - and perhaps one or two more rounds in the Champions League. Then everyone would be very satisfied at FC Bayern.
Of course, Rummenigge was also asked about Bayern’s plans for the remainder of the summer transfer window, which is something preoccupying (almost) every Bayern fan at the moment. He said that they were “active” in the market, but declined to make promises at this time:
We are currently active on the market. We still need a winger, because we have lost two wingers with Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben. I will not, however, make any promises in that regard now, because it makes no sense to make big promises. Only: we will have a good team.
In addition to finding at least one new winger, a viable backup for Robert Lewandowski, is also on the agenda (although it will not be Mario Mandzukic). Lewandowski is close to signing a contract extension that will keep him at Bayern until 2023, a welcome development at Säbener Strasse:
It’s not in the bag yet, but with Robert there is already the development that he feels extremely comfortable at Bayern Munich. When you look at his body — that is a player who can easily still play several years at that level.
Lewandowski showed up to his preseason fitness check looking like this: