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Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on Bayern’s origins, past coaches, and Hansi Flick

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Rummenigge had a lot to say about some of Bayern’s previous managers in a recent interview.

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In a recent interview with AZ to celebrate Bayern Munich’s 120th anniversary, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spoke about the origins of the club, some of the previous managers, and Hansi Flick. Under Flick, Bayern has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence, and they’ve rediscovered some of their footballing identity with how they’ve been playing.

Rummenigge emphasized that the club’s footballing philosophy has been possession-based regardless of the manager. Thankfully, he said, Flick’s style of play meshes perfectly with how the club has always wanted to play:

For many years now, FC Bayern has stood for ball possession, dominance on the ball, its position game, offensive drive — and lots of goals. No matter who is the coach of FC Bayern in the coming years: we will keep this style and it will continue to be trademark. We are very glad that this is also Hansi Flick’s style and that he demands and cultivates it. You can tell how this philosophy brings joy to the players — and it also is fun for the fans. In the Hinrunde when the score was 4-0 against Dortmund, I watched the spectators and thought: they’re having fun with their FC Bayern this way.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Mia San Mia is the motto that defines Bayern Munich not only as a club, but also as a family. The familial atmosphere that surrounds the club both on and off the pitch has helped shape an environment for continued success while the club’s fan base has expanded and grown. Bayern has become one of the most recognizable and successful brands in sport. Rummenigge said they remain committed to success:

In the future, FC Bayern should keep the image with which it has been able to win so many fans all over the world. We stand for our lived “Mia san mia.” which is reflected on and off the pitch. We are bound to success, have the ambition to set benchmarks in every area and to put ourselves under this pressure, which stems from the innermost part of the club and its history. For all of our ambition on the pitch, we will never lose sight of our social responsibility. I think this aspect is becoming ever more important in our turbulent times.

Rummenigge also made a point of saying the club never wants to abandon its Bavarian roots, despite the need for the internationalization of the Bayern Munich brand as a whole. The traditions are something that will never leave the club:

At FC Bayern, we are aware of our roots and will live up to them even in times in which internationalization is becoming ever more important. There will always be public training sessions; our training camp at Tegernsee also is tradition, just as our Advent visits to fanclubs. There are clubs that become soccer-playing companies — we’re going a different way.

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As far as some of Bayern’s previous managers, there’s a long, distinguished list of personnel that have led this team to various successes. However, four managers come to mind for Rummenigge with respect to how influential they were to the club and the titles they won between them. He highlighted Ottmar Hitzfeld, Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola, and more surprisingly, Louis van Gaal:

Ottmar Hitzfeld was undoubtedly a great coach: an expert and knower of men. You have to list the following three men, as well, first and foremost and in this order: Jupp Heynckes, who won the only Treble in our club history, Louis van Gaal, and Pep Guardiola. These three, in their own way, shaped and developed the style that we see on the pitch today and which I described in the beginning. They were brothers in spirit in that regard. It was no accident that we enjoyed probably our most beautiful period in terms of playing: we won titles without end, and I often felt as if I was in heaven while watching — this soccer pulled people out of their seats. Even today we are still benefiting from the work of these three great coaches.

FC Bayern Muenchen v VfB Stuttgart - Bundesliga Photo by A. Beier/FC Bayern via Getty Images