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Team legend Dieter Hoeneß holds court on the state of Bayern Munich

Uli’s brother talks Haaland, Upamecano, the Champions League and more.

Dieter Hoeneß’s DNA is deeply intertwined with that of the Bayern Munich football club.

Hoeneß had a long successful career as a striker with the club, while his brother Uli was the key management figure who built the organization into a European giant. Dieter’s son Sebastian coached Bayern’s youth prospects before he moved on to Hoffenheim.

After retiring from coaching and team management around the Bundesliga, Hoeneß now works as a player agent. Hoeneß recently took time for an interview with Abendzeitung and candidly discussed all of the current hot topics around the squad. His view is clearly optimistic believing that Bayern continues to be well managed and has a bright, if challenging, future ahead of it.

“The situation with Haaland is therefore very difficult for Bayern”

On the top topic of Haaland, Hoeneß believes it would be very difficult for Bayern to bring the young man in for both financial and sporting reasons. His admiration for Lewandowski is clear when he opines “If you have the world’s best striker in Lewandowski, you don’t actually have to deal with a caliber like Haaland. Both together — that’s neither sporting nor financial. It is difficult to regulate the present in such a way that you keep the best players and plan for the future at the same time. This is a Sisyphean task. As Manchester City, you might say: Just get Haaland and we’ll see! But Bavaria has to economize with the money and can only spend what is actually taken in. That’s not the case with other clubs like Man City.”

Finding your feet at Bayern

The struggle of some players to find their feet at Bayern has been clear to Hoeness, who sees this not as a lack of talent or quality, but a reflection of how difficult it is to get acclimatized to the Bavarian club. He is particularly bullish on the future of Dayot Upamecano, “Bayern is certainly a different address than Leipzig, Upamecano is a young player at 23. The first year at Bayern is always a big step — you can see that with Marcel Sabitzer, who was a good player in Leipzig and is now finding it very difficult to make contact with Bayern. But I’m convinced that Upamecano will be absolutely world class — just not in his first year. He has to be even more conscientious in certain situations, sometimes he’s still too sloppy when it comes to passing.”

Fußball: 1987 - FC Bayern Deutscher Meister Photo by Wirginings/picture alliance via Getty Images

On defensive stability and the Champions League

The last few games have shown some frailties in Bayern’s defence. Hoeness has noticed this as well but suggests that significant progress was made in the Salzburg match and that coach Nagelsmann is teaching the squad the right things to tighten the defence up. Talking about the Salzburg match he said “Except for one or two situations, the Bayern defense looked safe. But with all due respect to Salzburg, who are really making great progress: Bavaria is of a different caliber, Salzburg is not the benchmark for meeting the highest standards. Bayern played very consistently and defended well. That was perfect. As far as defense is concerned, Julian Nagelsmann recently said something important: that you have to hit the ball out from behind when you’re under pressure. In this way, sources of error can be minimized. That’s how Bayern started against Salzburg and they will show that in the quarterfinals.”

Hoeness thinks that Bayern has what it takes to go far in the Champions League this year and reminds fans that, “You could see that Bayern are there when it matters most. This has been the case for decades. Bayern is to be expected in this Champions League season. It always depends a bit on the draw and which players are available. But now the crunch time is coming - and I trust Bayern to do everything. Of course, it would be important if Alphonso Davies and Leon Goretzka were available again.”

The complete interview is exceptional and is well worth a read. Hoeness opines on how long Lewandowski should play, how Bayern has managed the transition between generations, how Hoffenheim (coached by his son) is progressing and other interesting topics.

The picture he paints is of a highly competent Bayern club continuing to be an elite side in Europe for the coming years.

And on a personal note: We love you Dieter, and there is no way in hell you were offside against Villa in ‘82!