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Oliver Kahn, Uli Hoeness explain decision to sign Julian Nagelsmann, Hansi Flick leaving Bayern Munich

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There were a lot of moving pieces, but all parties got what they wanted in the end

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

In a recent interview with Sport1, both Oliver Kahn and Uli Hoeness explained some of Bayern Munich’s reasoning behind hiring RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann to replace Hansi Flick as manager this summer. Flick has now officially put pen to paper to become the next German national team manager, replacing Joachim Low after this summer’s European Championships and Nagelsmann officially takes charge of Bayern on July 1st.

For any manager that would come after Flick, it’s always going to be a tall task to replicate what he’d done in such a short period of time. Seven trophies in just a season and a half as manager of FC Bayern is truly something else. While Nagelsmann hasn’t won anything with Leipzig, or doesn’t have nearly the same pedigree as Flick, Kahn said that Bayern’s front office has been closely monitoring his development as a manager. “Julian was not a snap decision. As a club, you’re always obliged to think about what happens if things don’t work out with the current coach. Or something like what happened with Hansi Flick, who left for the national team. We’ve been watching Julian and his development for a very long time,” Kahn explained.

Of course, Nagelsmann’s side recently lost to Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in the DFB-Pokal final in Berlin, but Kahn doesn’t see his lack of silverware as an issue in terms of his ability as a manager. “I don’t think it’s bad at all that we’re signing a coach who’s not so highly decorated, but highly ambitious. We’re getting him because we’re convinced of his quality and he identifies very strongly with the club, that was an important aspect. It has always been a dream of his to be a coach at Bayern Munich one day. In the next few years, we will be focusing on younger players. Just as Hansi Flick succeeded in bringing Jamal Musiala up to a higher level. Julian showed at Hoffenheim and Leipzig that he can make teams better and develop young players,” he said.

RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - DFB Cup Final 2021 Photo by Mika Volkmann/Getty Images

Hoeness echoed Kahn’s sentiment, re-iterating the fact that Flick was also hired before he had won any silverware as a head coach. Granted, he had been a successful assistant manager for quite some time prior to taking over at Bayern. “When Hansi Flick took over at our club a year and a half ago, he hadn’t won anything at that point either. He proved that you can win seven titles in a very short time. I’m not worried about that,” he said.

For Bayern, Kahn said, Nagelsmann is representative of a step forward into a new era at the club. The club paid a record transfer fee for a manager of 15 million euros to get him from Leipzig on a five year contract. On paper, it’s certainly a big risk at a club like Bayern Munich, but Kahn reassured that bringing him in is part of a plan to keep moving the club forward. “We didn’t fall completely on our heads at FC Bayern. In Munich, five years is a long contract term. We wanted to demonstrate that we have plans for the future and that we want to build the next era. One thing was important to us: continuity in the coaching position,” he explained.

Hoeness added that Flick’s desire to leave Bayern at the end of the season to become the new Die Mannschaft manager put a lot of pressure on the front office to ensure that got a top caliber replacement for him. Additionally, they had to act quickly to do so after Flick made it clear he couldn’t be convinced to stay beyond this season and they didn’t want to cause any roadblocks for him being able to sign his contract with the DFB. “You’re rarely under as much pressure as we were now. Hansi’s decision to take over at the DFB meant the club had to act quickly. If we had delayed for weeks or months, we wouldn’t have been able to let Hansi Flick out of his contract. That’s why it was absolutely right to get things done quickly. If we had waited two months, we might have had a little more leeway. But it would also have meant two months more trouble. Since then, things have been quiet,” he explained.