Shortly before Christmas 2012 Uli Hoeneß took a delicious bite out of his Rostbratwurst burger. In an advertising campaign together with Alfons Schuhbeck he presented the promotional snack of an American fast food chain, Hoeneß sausage in burger bread with Schuhbeck mustard.
It was hardly surprising that Hoeness smiled, after all it was a PR event. Perhaps Hoeneß actually tasted his own grilled sausages as well, despite the unfamiliar surroundings and the slightly rancid oil smell in the restaurant. Perhaps the broad smile of Uli Hoeneß also had another reason, far away from any sausage specialities. In a few weeks, Pep Guardiola would be presented as the new coach at FC Bayern. The club, which Hoeneß likes to call his life’s work, had an exciting and hopeful future ahead of it.
The coup with the Catalan was certainly due to Hoeness, who had met him in New York, promoted FC Bayern and worked in the background to finance the incredibly high annual salary. Rummenigge was also quickly convinced of the coach, about whom half of Europe fought. Just when a discussion about the succession of Jupp Heynckes threatened to arise, FC Bayern presented Pep, the greatest possible succession solution.
The far-sightedness and security that FC Bayern radiated at the beginning of 2013 was impressive. Throughout Europe, there was no other club that was so organised and whose path to a successful future was so precisely mapped out. The Guardiola commitment, the Götze transfer a little later – all this took place in the background, without months of disturbing debates at press conferences.
In light of this background, it is hard to imagine the association being so miserably run at the end of March 2018. The only thing that still seems to connect today’s FC Bayern and those of 2012/13 are the faces of the main protagonists of this trainer search.
Hoeneß and Rummenigge have presented such a disastrous image to the public in the last weeks and months that there were actually only two conclusions: Either they had a master plan in the background, which they could not yet make public, or they simply had no vision of what this club should look like in the phase after Heynckes’ fourth term of office.
The most obvious, certainly not risk-free, but possibly best option withdrew from the debate on Saturday. The news that Thomas Tuchel will not become coach of FC Bayern was transmitted by Thomas Tuchel himself. It was understandable, given the fact that the months of theatre had put him in a position in which confidence in him as Bayern coach would have been critically low or at least critically vulnerable from day one.
One can only congratulate Thomas Tuchel on his decision – and that is the big problem. As safe, forward-looking and courageous as FC Bayern seemed a few years ago, the events now seem so helpless. The stories from behind the scenes, published yesterday and today in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, paint an almost panic-stricken picture of the management team, which will also change the view of FC Bayern in the rest of Europe.
Whatever is going on in the meeting rooms on Säbener Straße, the facts speak clearly against the big bosses: In three months a head coach will be needed for the professionals, one with an international profile, who is actually German-speaking and best of all also good at dealing with a team that has difficulties with an individual player like Ancelotti.
In addition, the contract debate around Robben and Ribéry is on the to-do list, and trend-setting decisions must also be made in the youth sector – FC Bayern has not only no head coach with the professionals, but also with amateurs and the U17 as of 1 July.
Whoever Bayern presents in the next few weeks, they have already placed a stigma on him. The new Bayern coach cannot be sold as an “A” solution, he will be massively questioned right from the start. In addition, the board has created a “what if” scenario through their completely unsuccessful search for a trainer. Should it not work under trainer X right from the outset, he will have to compare himself every day not only with his successful predecessors, but also with the once possible solution of Thomas Tuchel.
In the summer of 2013, FC Bayern entered a new, uncertain era – but with a vision called Guardiola. In spring 2018, the future is equally uncertain. This time, however, the vision is also missing.