Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was in high spirits at Bayern Munich’s post-match banquet after the team defeated Chelsea FC 3-0 in London. It was a day for making good the past for Rummenigge: Bayern’s disappointing early exit from the Champions League last year never seemed far from his thoughts in his comments to the press. Now, though, head coach Hansi Flick seems to have healed Rummenigge’s wounded pride on behalf of the club.
Rummenigge in turn had a very special birthday present for the coach, who turned 55 just the day before: a pen.
We had a birthday yesterday. Our coach [Flick] turned 55. That is a good age. We toasted him yesterday evening, but I’d still like to give him a small gift this evening.
The gift came in a small red package. Rummenigge continued,
Dear Hansi, happy birthday, all the best! For those who don’t know what is inside the red package: it is a pen. And at FC Bayern we sometimes also sign papers with pens. I wish you all the best! Keep up the good work, do it well. Stay how you are. We are very, very happy with how the team is playing, as well as with the results and the soccer that it is playing.
It does not take a crystal ball to divine the message behind such a symbolic gift: Bayern Munich will presumably reward Flick with a new permanent contract in the very near future. The next time we see his pen will presumably be in the official photograph of his signing.
Rummenigge also address the players at the banquet. He told them,
You must continue to maintain your concentration, your will, to reach the fantastic goals we have before our eyes at the end of the day. You have a fantastic character; we saw it again today. And I think this fantastic character will take you far, if you continue in this fashion.
Since Flick took over as head coach, Bayern has won 15 of its 18 games and was clearly the better team even in two of Flick’s three losses. The players and coach seem to be a perfect match. No wonder that Rummenigge is satisfied, after exercising due caution.
The players whose contract negotiations were also postponed until at least after the Chelsea tie also played outstandingly: Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski, Thiago Alcantara, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Manuel Neuer all performed extremely well. Only Javi Martinez could not join the fun, as he still has not completely recovered from injury.