When Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mané finally grabbed his goal — his first since October — teammates rushed to congratulate the embattled and oft-offside star. Joshua Kimmich patted him ferociously on the head. But if Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn, watching from the stands, had any reaction at all, it wasn’t caught by the cameras.
Kahn was looking away, down and downcast, when the broadcast cameras panned to the stands. Beside him, sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić, offered a hearty handshake — belatedly noticed and glumly accepted.
And that was the game’s high point. Bayern collapsed to a 3-1 defeat, rendering the nightmare of a trophy-less season into a more than realistic vision. Speaking after the game for ZDF sportstudio, Kahn put aside the prospect as best he could.
“It’s not fear,” Kahn said, asked about the specter of a season without a single trophy after ten straight Meisterschale achievements (via @iMiaSanMia). “But of course that would be a disaster for all of us.”
It’s Kahn who is all of a sudden the embattled one. After an exit to Manchester City in the Champions League, speculation immediately popped up that the Bayern CEO was next on the chopping block. So far, it seems to be just that — speculation.
“It’s not (newspaper) rumors,” Kahn added. “If I understood correctly, someone wrote a tweet and everyone kind of jumped on it. Then somehow there was a hype about this topic.”
Kahn speaks like a man determined to give his all, not only this season but also the next, and the next, and the next. But it’s the manner of that effort — sacking previous manager Julian Nagelsmann in March to bring in Thomas Tuchel just ahead of a crucial slate of games — that has left at least some bystanders perplexed.
Especially given the results. After all, wasn’t Nagelsmann sacked to avoid all of this?
At the time, the threat to Bayern’s treble ambitions were the hot topic of discussion. With Bayern on the verge of blowing the whole trifecta, Kahn reminded that it’s also about a grander vision.
“I’ve always talked about long-term goals,” the CEO concluded. “It’s not only about this season’s goals. Of course we all would have wished to advance in the Pokal and that things would be a bit tighter against City. [But] Man City is a team that is currently one of the best in Europe. It’s not so easy to advance [against them].”
Looking for more analysis mixed with a bad-tempered rant? Then check out our postgame podcast! Explicit content warning because there’s swearing, it really was that kind of game. Listen to it below or on Spotify.
As always, we appreciate all the support.