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Bayern Munich reacts to news of Uli Hoeness’ intention to retire

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Several players shared their initial reactions with the media, while club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declined to give an official statement.

RB Leipzig v Bayern Muenchen - DFB Cup Final 2019 Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

The stunning news that club president and Bayern Munich icon Uli Hoeness will retire sent shock waves not only through Bayern Munich’s dedicated fans and supporters, but also through the club itself. In the wake of that revelation, several players shared their first impressions with members of the media. Officials close to Hoeness, meanwhile, have kept silent.

Hoeness himself declined to comment on his decision, its motives, or Bild’s initial story about it. Speaking to kicker, he gave the following statement:

I will inform the supervisory board of my decision on August 29. I will not give an official explanation before then.

He declined to deny or confirm the report.

Several Bayern players, however, offered their thoughts to SportBild before returning from Kansas City to Munich at the conclusion of the Audi Summer Tour. David Alaba was especially candid:

At the first moment, it was a shock. I wasn’t prepared for something like that. I think FC Bayern is inconceivable without him. But no matter whether he has a position or not, he will always influence the club.

Leon Goretzka said, “He has been the decisive figure for umpteen decades. It’s unique.” But he declined to say more until Hoeness himself might address the report: “I can’t say anything more about it. I think I’ll wait until he makes a personal statement.”

Long-time second-goalkeeper Sven Ulreich expressed regret but understanding:

That’s a shame. Uli Hoeness is a good man. He built FC Bayern; it’s his life’s work. There would be no FC Bayern in this form without him. But he also has earned the right to spend more time with his family in the future. He will definitely always remain connected to the club. I can’t imagine that he’d not come to the stadium anymore. He’d miss it.

Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller both declined to comment. Kimmich in particular seemed to be caught off guard: “I didn’t hear the bomb hit. When is he quitting?” he asked Bild. Müller said, “I don’t have any first-hand information yet.” New assistant coach Hansi Flick likewise declined to comment.

Bild informed club CEO Karl-Keinz Rummenigge shortly before publishing the story. According to their account, Rummenigge “seemed surprised” by the news but declined to give an official statement. He and the rest of Bayern’s front office delegation avoided the media and did not visit the mixed zone at the stadium to take questions.

Bild’s Jörg Althoff and Tobias Altschäffl paint the following scene on board Bayern’s team jet as it departs for Munich:

When FC Bayern leaves Kansas City at 1:30, a mix of surprise and perplexity prevails on board Qatar Airways QR 7452. Many quickly check their email and the news before takeoff. Every is waiting for Hoeness himself to give a statement.

Whatever Hoeness may say beyond his comment to kicker above, those remarks will presumably remain behind closed doors.