Matthias Sammer making waves as Director of Sport at FC Bayern
There is no one quite as Bavarian as Uli Hoeness. His family runs a sausage factory, his accent screams Alpine at every intonation, and he certainly doesn’t look out of place in a pair of Lederhosen. The same cannot be said of Matthias Sammer. The latter is a well spoken gentleman who grew up in the former GDR and whose blood, until very recently, ran yellow and black.
Now though, his ginger – and rapidly balding – head, and the highly regarded football brain to which it plays host, have been enlisted by the great power down south. In his new job as Director of Sport at FC Bayern, moreover, Sammer is already making waves.
One of the main orchestrators behind the recent resurrection and makeover of the German national team, Sammer has taken over from Christian Nerlinger at FC Bayern to take one of the most demanding jobs in club football. he does not lack experience of club football. At the mere age of 34, Sammer became the youngest ever title winning coach in Bundesliga history with his beloved Borussia Dortmund, while only last year he was nearly appointed as Director of Sport at Hamburger SV, only to pull out of the job at the last minute in a forgettable episode of public explanations and apologies.
This time around, though, the transition has been smooth, even successful. Sammer is charged with bringing back to FC Bayern the unshakeable winning mentality which has, over the years, singled them out from the rest of Germany’s major clubs. It is a mandate he is not taking lightly.
“Matthias is a man who cannot lose,” explained Oli Kahn this week, a sentiment reinforced by former Liverpool player Markus Babbel, who described his former team mate as “ultra professional and obsessed with success”.
A repeat of the second place position which Bayern made their own last year would ostensibly be considered a failure in any competition. The psychological issues which saw Joachim Löw’s side exit the European Championships prematurely will not be tolerated. It is to be a no excuses and no surrender season from Bayern. It is perhaps this mentality, first and foremost, which made Sammer the Bayern board’s first choice. While Christian Nerlinger was caught effectively writing off his side’s title chances with ten games to go last season, the same mistake should not be committed by his successor.
Bayern’s major players, moreover, will be expected to step up to the plate at key moments in a manner which they failed to produce last season. The likes of Phillipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger will be singled out as key leaders of the team, while the mood swings of Arjen Robben are unlikely to be indulged in the way that many felt they were last season.
A honeymoon period it may yet prove to be, but no one at Bayern has, as of yet, expressed or implied anything but positivity about the new arrival. Jupp Heynckes was reserved but confident in his declaration that “It is great fun to talk football with [Sammer], and I’m looking forward to working with him.” For that, at least, Bayern fans can be grateful. Sammer’s decision to sit on the bench with the coach rather than in the stands during his first Bayern match – a friendly against Unterhaching – made it irrefutably clear that a good relationship between him and Heynckes will be crucial to any Bayern resurgence in the coming months.
As for the signing of new players, most of Bayern’s activity in the transfer market was compelted before Sammer’s arrival, with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Dante, Tom Starke and Mario Mandžukic already on the books. The new Director of Sport has this week stated, however, that Bayern “may still be missing that key element; we are still searching for new players”.
For many, the idea of Matthias Sammer as a Bavarian puppeteer is still difficult to accept, but as it stands, the new man is ticking all the boxes. His movements covered in every tiny detail by all to corners of the press, Sammer is yet to slip up. He has promised the results which Bayern so desperately crave and, cautious though it may be, there is certainly cause for optimism.Tagged in: arjen robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, bayern munich, borussia dortmund, Bundesliga, Christian Nerlinger, FC Bayern, Matthias Sammer, Phillipp Lahm
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