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FC Köln sporting director Horst Heldt raves about ex-teammate Hansi Flick’s character

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Back in the early 1990s, Horst Heldt shared a pitch with current Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick during his time at FC Köln.

UEFA Champions League 2020/21 Group Stage Draw Photo by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Football has no shortage of tactical masterminds or great man-managers. But rarely does a coach have the perfect blend of both. Fortunately for Bayern Munich devotees, our head coach Hansi Flick belongs to that exceptional breed of managers.

In an interview that was captured by Tz, current FC Köln sporting director Horst Heldt has once again heaped words of praise for his former colleague, Flick.

Heldt and Flick’s friendship goes back thirty years. The duo played for the Billy Goats between the years 1990 to 1993, before the latter’s playing career came to an abrupt end due to injuries.

Ahead of Köln’s clash with the reigning Bundesliga champions, Heldt was asked whether Flick is the same as a coach as he was a player three decades back.

“Definitely. His temperament has not changed at all,” Heldt affirmed, complementing his ex-teammate’s character and calm persona. “Hansi’s manner actually describes his extraordinarily good character in many respects. With a certain calm, aplomb, he does not want to take center stage.”

Unlike Pep Guardiola or Diego Simeone, Flick does not need to shout himself hoarse or give intense talks in order to get the message across the room. “He does his job with focus, leaves nothing to chance, but he stays calm and clear in the process,” Heldt said and then jokingly added: “He won’t win an Oscar for dramatic appearances anymore.” Unfortunately, it seems like he will have to settle for the UEFA Champions League as a consolation prize.

Heldt isn’t the first person to sing praises of Flick’s modest nature. After the Champions League finale win against Paris Saint-Germain, club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had something similar to say for Die Roten’s treble architect:

This coach played an absolutely crucial role – and he’s always so modest. After we won the final he’d already put distance between himself and the stage, and I almost didn’t find him. There are a lot of people who push their way to the front without contributing much to making things happen. Hansi makes it happen and then prefers to remain backstage.

Be it the reinstatement of Thomas Muller or putting faith in players like Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez, reuniting the dressing room was one of Flick’s first steps after his initial interim appointment. The 55-year-old proved to have the Midas touch, with every single player on the roster witnessing a performance-boost over the course of last season.

Needless to say, everyone associated with the club was quickly convinced of Flick’s footballing philosophy and that ultimately turned out to be the core reason behind the Bavarians quintuple triumph.

“But exactly that does this club good. Hansi’s acceptance by everyone is the secret to his success right now,” said Heldt. “They follow him unconditionally because he acts the way he does.”

To reiterate the words of footballing legend Jupp Heynckes — “In Hansi Flick, FC Bayern have a gem of a coach.”