There hasn’t been much love for Bayern Munich in the concourses of the Westfallenstadion. That seems even more true today after former Bayern president Uli Hoeness publicly criticized Borussia Dortmund for their transfer policy and tendency to sell players when they succeed.
A reminder for those who missed yesterday’s edition of the Daily Schmankerl: in an interview with FAZ, Hoeness called out Dortmund for encouraging a mercenary culture among its players and called the policy “not clever”. Hoeness said,
“When Dortmund buys a highly talented player and he plays well, a few months later you hear either from the club itself or from the outside, that he will be presented as put up for sale at some point. How is a player supposed to absorb the DNA of a club one hundred percent, when he has the feeling that he’s up for sale?”
At Bayern, Hoeness went on, “We get players for Bayern Munich. And never to do business with them.”
These comments must have struck a nerve with those who have an office at the Hohenbuschei, because all of Dortmund’s high ranking executives were quick to dismiss the words of Bayern’s ex-president.
First, BVB sporting director Michael Zorc said, “I find the comments quite arrogant. If you have €250 million more in your pocket every year, it’s easy to throw money around. Some of it is also de facto incorrect.”
Zorc disputes Hoeness’s claim that Bayern had agreed to terms with Jadon Sancho before he suddenly chose to join Die Schwarzgelben. According to Zorc, Sancho had agreed to a move to Dortmund long before Bayern tried to turn his head.
Next, Dortmund president Reinhard Raubell seemed confused by the timing of Uli’s remarks: “It would have been better if Uli Hoeness had kept his statements to himself. The timing is also very strange; Bayern has the Champions League next week after all and actually better things to do.”
And Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke reflected on the partnership his club and Der Rekordmeister have forged over the last few years: “Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and I have worked for years so that the two biggest German clubs have a respectful relationship with one another. I think it’s very much a shame that an attempt is made to undermine that at regular intervals.”
Finally, the most biting remarks may have come from an unexpected source — former goalkeeper and Dortmund international ambassador Roman Weidenfeller:
“It again seems to be a case of deep-set frustration over the fact that Jude Bellingham decided against Bayern and for BVB,” Weidenfeller said.
Needless to say, Hoeness’s comments haven’t gone over well at BVB. It seems disingenuous of Hoeness to criticize a club with not nearly as many lucrative sponsorships for selling players to stay competitive. In the never-ending arms race that is the current structure of club football, each team needs every competitive advantage it can get.
If there is a team to try and stop Bayern’s monopoly on the Meisterschale, it will most likely be Dortmund. If BVB decides the best way for them to stay competitive is to sell some of their best players as their value peaks, then it hardly seems fair to overlook the entrenched financial advantages of Bayern and other European powerhouses.