Bayern Munich's battle to find transfer chief drags on as top targets say no

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Thomas Muller
Philipp Lahm and Oliver Kahn have turned the role down, leading to speculation that none of the candidates want to work under Rummenigge and Hoeness


When Matthias Sammer stepped down as Bayern Munich sporting director for health reasons, club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed that the Bavarians would take their time before deciding upon a replacement.

Nobody, though, thought that they would still be searching for Sammer's successor over a year later - least of all Rummenigge.

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However, the sporting director role at the Allianz Arena has become the job that nobody seems to want, so when president Uli Hoeness stated on Monday that the position will be filled inside six weeks, there was understandable scepticism as to whether the German champions will finally get their man.

Of course, whoever it is, will know that they weren't anything close to first choice.

Philipp Lahm Bayern Munich Hall of Fame

Former captain Philipp Lahm had been the favourite to fill the vacancy, even though he only called time on his playing career at the end of the 2016-17 season.

Hoeness even admitted that he believed that the World Cup winner would accept the role but Lahm declined, hinting that the pair had very different interpretations of the duties of a sporting director.

"We all exchanged our opinions and I decided that it's not the right time for me at the moment," Lahm explained.

"I don't know how Uli Hoeness defines the job and what he expects.

"Anyway, I'm not responsible for defining the role of a sporting director but I do have my own ideas..."

Given that Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl also turned the job down in the spring of this year, it was suggested within the German press that the most qualified candidates had reservations about working under two men as powerful and allegedly controlling as Hoeness and Rummenigge.

"I really don't like everything reported on the premise that whoever takes on the job should be afraid of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge or me," Hoeness told Sport Bild in April.

"It's actually the opposite. Every young manager can only benefit from our experience.

"There aren't any better teachers around who know exactly how everything works.

"Instead, it's reported it didn't work out with Lahm because of the power-hungry Hoeness and Rummenigge...

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"I can still foresee Philipp assuming a role at the club when he feels ready, which obviously isn't the case at the moment.

"He's still only 33 and has loads of time."

That may be but what Bayern don't have at the moment is loads of time to find a new sporting director.

Hoeness is confident, though, telling reporters in Singapore on Monday: "We will make an announcement within the next six weeks.

"I've already said that Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and I have been looking around, and there have been some talks taking place."

Uli Hoeness PS

Former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn had been a contender but Hoeness explained, "He made it very clear that he does not want to become a sporting director. That's why he is not under consideration."

Bert van Marwijk has also ruled his son-in-law, Mark van Bommel, out of the running, insisting that the former Bayern midfielder is happy in his current role coaching PSV’s Under-19s.

That appears to leave Thomas Linke and Stefan Reuter as the only two seemingly viable candidates.

Both boast excellent CVs, with former Bayern defender Linke doing a great job as sporting director at Ingolstadt and ex-Bayern right-back Reuter working wonders at Augsburg in essentially the same role.

Thomas Linke Ingolstadt

Stefan Reuter Ingolstadt

Whomever Hoeness and Rummenigge pick, Sammer feels that the most important thing is that they meet their six-week deadline, arguing that the team suffered on the field last season because they did not have a skilled intermediary in place off it.

"You need someone that connects players, staff, coaches and the board," the former Borussia Dortmund sweeper stated. "This makes the club stronger.

"Bayern dominated Real Madrid [in the Champions League quarter-finals] for long periods, but suddenly lost their unity and with that their stability, too.

"This happened in exactly the same fashion in the second half against Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal semi-final.

"It is not a coincidence this happened: in certain phases, the team didn't look stable or united.

Matthias Sammer Bayern Munich

"In their daily routine, it can be helpful for players and a coach to have someone there to give little tips.

"At the top level, many things must be spotted early and nipped in the bud. For example, when a coach is angry with a player and isn't talking to him at that moment.

"You sometimes lose a few per cent in terms of performance because only 11 players are happy and the other 13 or 14 are not.

"Sometimes even the kit man has a problem with the physio or the doctor with the coaching staff.

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“That's everyday life at a football club; there has to be someone who takes care of these problems in the interest of the club and success.

“To sum up, I believe this position is vital."

Essentially, the sooner Bayern find someone ready, willing and able to accept the job, the better. The success of their season could hinge upon it.