On Friday, October 19, FC Bayern Munich held a press conference to address criticism about their declining play. However, the press conference did little to improve their situation; in fact, it worsened matters and led to nothing but embarrassment for the team and fans of the German soccer giant.
The cause of it all
For six years in a row, FC Bayern Munich managed to dominate the first soccer division with record-breaking statistics. However, a recent decline in efficiency cost Bayern Munich first place in the Bundesliga, leaving their bitter rival Borussia Dortmund FC in first place.
As a result, the German media started to criticize Bayern Munich’s players, primarily targeting Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, and Manuel Neuer, calling their style of play “veteran-like.” In addition, other media outlets were criticizing the club’s actions on the transfer list. With only one memorable transfer in Leon Goretzka, Bayern Munich has once again missed a golden opportunity to introduce a change by substituting veterans Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben on the wings.
The fatal press conference
Facing heavy criticism in the media, Bayern Munich bosses Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeneß, and Hasan Salihamidzic called a press conference.
This press conference was understood by most fans as a farce. To start off, CEO Rummenigge mentioned the first act of the German constitutional law, claiming that the “dignity of a human being” is being attacked, in reference to the criticism.
Although appealing to human dignity may seem to be a reasonable course of action, Rummenigge made a vital mistake by going this far. Hoeneß – the club’s own president – has attacked the dignity of certain professional soccer players, such as Karim Bellarabi and Juan Bernat, in the past couple of weeks.
Sporting Director Salihamidzic also expressed himself in the press conference, addressing the apparent fall of trust in head coach Niko Kovac. “We appreciate his work. We do not have to publicly justify ourselves,” Salihamidzic said.
As a result of the press conference, Bayern Munich was on the receiving end of sarcastic gloating from journalists, soccer fans, and even former players themselves, many of whom had been targeted at the press conference.
Paul Breitner, who had been an offense-minded left back for Bayern Munich in the 1970s, stated in an interview:
“Up until now, I am still upset, as I could have never imagined in these 48 years in which I have been living with and alongside the FC Bayern Munich, that this club could ever embarrass themselves like this.”
Breitner’s statement gives insight to how unfortunate this press conference could turn out for the club’s international esteem.
What can be expected?
Whether Bayern Munich will be able to recover from their unfortunate decisions will be interesting to see; currently, the team is carefully starting to improve again in order to reach their previous level of play. However, in regards to the press conference, Rummenigge, Hoeneß, and Salihamidzic will have to prove themselves if they hope to regain the reputation and respect the club once had.