New start at Bayern Munich with Matthias Sammer

Bayern Munich has now failed to win a title for the past two seasons. In May 2012, the record German champions had to content themselves with three runners-up spots. But Bayern wouldn’t be Bayern if they didn’t quickly take action to reverse the situation. The Munich club has dropped a bombshell just before the players report back for pre-season training as Matthias Sammer, European champion in 1996 and voted Europe’s Player of the Year in the same year, has moved to Bayern from his position as director of football at the German Football Association (DFB). One day after the club parted company with Christian Nerlinger, the 44-year-old was officially introduced as the new board member responsible for football in front of 100 media representatives in Munich’s Arena on Tuesday (3 July).

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental Tires, Tyres, Soccer, Football, World Cup, DFB,DFB-Pokal,DFBpokal, FCB, FC Bayern, FC Bayern München, Germany, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti Stars, WC Tickets, World Cup Tickets, Tickets, FIFA Partner
Bayern Munich sprang a surprise prior to the start of the 2012/2013 season by presenting Matthias Sammer as the new director of football and successor to Christian Nerlinger. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)

“We finished second three times last season. We make no bones about our aims, we want to win titles again next year. And to win titles we’ll have to do something better than we did last year,” said board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge when formulating the targets for new season. Sammer is responsible for many “outstanding successes achieved by Germany’s age-group footballers,” said President Uli Hoeneß. “We want to set an example and go down new roads in this area.” At least Sammer doesn’t have to make any big changes in his private life as he has already been living for a long while with his family in a Munich suburb. His son plays in a Bayern junior team. “We want, must and will be successful straight away. As far as our first team is concerned, we’ve got no time at all,” said Sammer and thus set the team and head coach similar high targets. Born in Dresden, he has been given a three-year contract.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental Tires, Tyres, Soccer, Football, World Cup, DFB,DFB-Pokal,DFBpokal, FCB, FC Bayern, FC Bayern München, Germany, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti Stars, WC Tickets, World Cup Tickets, Tickets, FIFA Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental Tires, Tyres, Soccer, Football, World Cup, DFB,DFB-Pokal,DFBpokal, FCB, FC Bayern, FC Bayern München, Germany, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti Stars, WC Tickets, World Cup Tickets, Tickets, FIFA Partner
A satisfied top Bayern trio: President Uli Hoeneß, the new director of football and the board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (from left). (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


Heynckes obviously welcomed the appointment of Sammer who won the German league championship both as a player and as a coach with Borussia Dortmund. He recommended that Sammer should sit on the bench and not follow the play from the stands. After returning from holiday, the 67-year-old also immediately demanded a change in attitude amongst his players. “We have to be cleverer, more robust and more success-oriented. They are qualities we’ve lacked in the vital moments,” said Heynckes. “We’ve got to become hungrier, hungry for success.” Each and every Bayern professional has to concentrate fully on “fitness, training, matches and the way they conduct themselves generally. It’s something I’ll be demanding to a greater degree in the new season,” declared the coach.

Five new players at the start of pre-season training

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental Tires, Tyres, Soccer, Football, World Cup, DFB,DFB-Pokal,DFBpokal, FCB, FC Bayern, FC Bayern München, Germany, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti Stars, WC Tickets, World Cup Tickets, Tickets, FIFA Partner

The signing of the new players is also an indication that Munich want to challenge title-holders Borussia Dortmund. New is striker Mario Mandzukic. Playing for his country Croatia at the European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine, he was one of the best forwards when scoring three goals. The 26-year-old has been signed from league rivals VfL Wolfsburg (56 league games/20 goals) until 2016. He could be a back-up or partner for Mario Gomez. Bayern have additionally enticed an old favourite back to the club to bolster their striking force. Claudio Pizarro, who was a Bayern player once before from 2001 to 2007, has moved for a second time to southern Germany from Werder Bremen. Aged 33, the centre forward from Peru has responded to Munich’s call. Having scored 160 goals, including 18 last season, he is the most successful foreign players in the Bundesliga’s 49-year history.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental Tires, Tyres, Soccer, Football, World Cup, DFB,DFB-Pokal,DFBpokal, FCB, FC Bayern, FC Bayern München, Germany, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti Stars, WC Tickets, World Cup Tickets, Tickets, FIFA Partner
Mario Mandzukic, who was absent from the start of pre-season training due to his being on holiday, is seen here playing for Croatia in the 1-1 draw against Italy at Euro 2012. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)

As for the defence, 28-year-old Dante was lured away from old rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Brazilian Dante Bonfim Costa Santos, who previously moved from Belgium to Gladbach, was looking for a new challenge after three years at the club. Internal competition amongst the central defenders will therefore be all the more intense.

Bayern and the Bundesliga generally will also present a big challenge for the 20-year-old midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri who has moved to Munich from FC Basle. Nicknamed “Kraftwürfel”, which can be roughly translated as “powerhouse”, the small, muscular Swiss with Kosovo-Albanian origins has been considered the biggest prospect in the Alpine state for many years. Shaqiri often displayed his extraordinary talents in the Champions League, especially in the win against Manchester United, and in the Swiss league championship.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental Tires, Tyres, Soccer, Football, World Cup, DFB,DFB-Pokal,DFBpokal, FCB, FC Bayern, FC Bayern München, Germany, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti Stars, WC Tickets, World Cup Tickets, Tickets, FIFA Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental Tires, Tyres, Soccer, Football, World Cup, DFB,DFB-Pokal,DFBpokal, FCB, FC Bayern, FC Bayern München, Germany, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti Stars, WC Tickets, World Cup Tickets, Tickets, FIFA Partner
The new Bayern: Tom Starke, Lukas Raeder, Claudio Pizarro, coach Jupp Heynckes, Dante (standing, from left), Emre Can, Xherdan Shaqiri, Mitchell Weiser (crouching, from left). (Photo: Firo/Augenklick


A second experienced player alongside Pizarro has also been signed. After Hans-Jörg Butt’s retirement, 31-year-old Tom Starke has joined the club from 1899 Hoffenheim as the new understudy to the German international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. “It’s great to once again be able compete for major titles and to above all be involved in the Champions League,” said Starke. And Bayern have taken on some top prospects: Mitchell Weiser from 1. FC Cologne, goalkeeper Lukas Raeder from Schalke 04 and home grown Emre Can. They are all now members of the senior squad.

Bayern’s first six Bundesliga fixtures have just been finalised. In their opening game of the 50th Bundesliga season, Munich will be away to promoted SpVgg Greuther Fürth on 25 August. The other Saturday games are: Mainz 05 at home on 15 September, Schalke 04 away on 22 September and Werder Bremen away on 29 September. The southern Germany derby against VfB Stuttgart will be played in Munich on Sunday 2 September. And there’s the home game against VfL Wolfsburg in the Arena on Tuesday, 25 September.