The Champions League group stage draw can sometimes be a funny thing. Unfortunately, if you’re the CEO of one of the clubs involved, actually laughing at the implicit humor of the situation can be taken the wrong way. That’s what happened to Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn, as he was seen chuckling to himself when the Bavarians drew FC Barcelona in this year’s edition of the group stage.
Apparently Spanish press saw the reaction as a “lack of respect”, with Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo opining that the former goalkeeper was relishing the prospect of knocking the Cules out of the Champions League for the second season in a row.
Kahn himself has now responded to such interpretations. Speaking to Bild (via @iMiaSanMia) he denied ever disrespecting FC Barcelona as an institution, and said the interpretation had come “out of thin air”.
“Robert Lewandowski left us for FC Barcelona just a few weeks ago,” Kahn continued. “Now the draw brings us back together in the group stage of the Champions League. I smiled at such oddities of football. I have the utmost respect for Robert and FC Barcelona.”
Of course, tensions between Bayern and Barcelona are at an all-time high following the difficult departure of Robert Lewandowski in this summer’s transfer window. Julian Nagelsmann and Joan Laporta have already been in a minor media kerfuffle over the Bayern coach’s comments about Barca’s finances. The Catalans are quite sensitive at the moment, and see any comment from Bayern as a personal slight.
Kahn, for his part, refuses to get drawn into such drama. The former keeper concluded by saying that, “these games will be a celebration for fans of both teams and football fans in general.”
Interested in more reactions to Bayern Munich’s Champions League draw? Then why not check out our podcast? In our special edition reaction show, we went over the whole of group C, and also glanced over the chances of the rest of the Bundesliga in Europe. Listen to it below or at this link.