No Super League but still drama: FC Hollywood at war as Flick and Bayern face messy divorce

Hansi Flick Hasan Salihamidzic
Getty Composite
Despite winning six trophies over the course of 2020, the Bavarians' head coach is set to walk away after rows over failures in the transfer market

While the world of football has been gripped by the Super League saga, the likes of Bayern Munich have been praised for their vocal opposition to the project.

"I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that were caused by the coronavirus pandemic," said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in a statement released on Monday.

"Rather, all clubs in Europe should work in solidarity."

Solidarity was an interesting choice of word from Rummenigge, particularly given the soap opera that is being played out within the walls of the Allianz Arena right now.

Before Bayern's Champions League quarter-final second-leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain, Thomas Muller harked back to the past.

But not back to when the club's success on the pitch dominated the back pages, instead to a time when the Bavarians dominated the front pages as well.

"When I was younger, there was FC Hollywood, there were always other topics being brought up. What happens at Bayern is interesting," Muller said when asked about off-field disputes between head coach Hansi Flick and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

The FC Hollywood days at Bayern saw the number of stories on gossip pages overtake the amount of wins the club was able to achieve. Manager Giovanni Trapattoni, meanwhile, became tabloid fodder thanks to his bizarre press conferences.

Since the turn of the century, though, Bayern have let the football do the talking, but every now and then the old FC Hollywood returns .

GFX Flick Salihamidzic

The latest reboot involves Flick and Salihamidzic, who have rarely seen eye to eye since the former was appointed as interim coach back in November 2019.

Flick was meant to be a caretaker for the Bavarians as they found a permanent successor to Niko Kovac, but his start at the Allianz Arena was so impressive that he agreed to a three-year permanent deal despite his own desire to remain for a single season .

Bayern's bosses convinced Flick to stay on longer, resulting in a historic year where they won a club-record six domestic and international trophies.

But even before pen was put to paper on Flick's contract, cracks had begun to appear.

As early as January 2020, the 56-year-old publicly demanded new signings, telling SZ: "We definitely need reinforcements. I'm thinking of at least two players."

Signings and squad planning is Salihamidzic's job at Bayern, and the former midfielder felt his position was being undermined by the coach.

Flick was not given the signings he needed, as just Real Madrid full-back Alvaro Odriozola arrived on loan before turning out to be a disappointing addition to the squad.

Without those reinforcements, Flick still won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League, while the relationship between the he and Salihamidzic was said to have improved after intervention from Rummenigge.

One of the players Flick wanted was Timo Werner, who went on to sign for Chelsea, as Salihamidzic continued his lengthy pursuit of Leroy Sane. Oliver Kahn was called in to act as peace-maker.

As if failing to sign the players he wanted for his squad was not enough, Flick has been further annoyed after Bayern decided to move on from some of the players who were key to their treble-winning success.

Both Jerome Boateng and David Alaba will leave Munich this summer on free transfers. Boateng was not offered a new deal, but Alaba was in negotiations with the club before Bayern withrew their offer amid a needlessly public spat between the club's bosses and agent Pini Zahavi.

Flick was disappointed with the developments, especially at the way Zahavi was criticised while Alaba's contract talks were ongoing.

A year on from the first dispute between Flick and Salihamidzic, Bild reported of a new bust-up between the two, which included a verbal dispute on the team bus where the coach allegedly told the sporting director to "shut up."

Rummenigge tried to broker the peace again, claiming that everyone had to "pull together."

GFX Flick on Bayern

However, Flick would not be silenced and expressed his disapproval at Salihamdzic's recruitment skills ahead of the crucial European game with PSG: "We had a team last year that was better in quality than this year, everyone knows that."

By this time, Joachim Low's exit as Germany manager after the European Championship had been made official. 

As Low's assistant for the 2014 World Cup triumph, Flick is the German Football Association (DFB)'s first choice to act as his former boss' sueccessor.

Having achieved everything possible in such a short time at Bayern and without the support he demands from the club's sporting director, Flick decided that it was time to move on.

After confirming his plans to his players, Flick told the media he intended to leave, despite having a contract until 2023.

"I told the team today that I informed the club during the week after the game in Paris that I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season," he said following Saturday's win over Wolfsburg that lifted them seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table, a ninth-straight title now within their reach

Bayern released a statement condemning the announcement, especially as it was not a co-ordinated statement between club and coach.

"Bayern disapproves of the unilateral communications issued by Hansi Flick and will continue talks after the match at Mainz, as agreed," their message read.

The time for talking may be too late now, as Flick will have begun planning his future as Germany coach, meaning Bayern must start planning their own future.

Club legend Lothar Matthaus expects RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann to be the next man up , but the Red Bulls have no desire to let their head coach leave for their title rivals, particularly after Dayot Upamecano's upcoming transfer from Leipzig to Munich was agreed.

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Massimiliano Allegri has also been linked, though he also may be reluctant to move to Munich, especially if FC Hollywood is back.

With Flick under contract and Bayern reluctant to let him leave, the next few months could make for a messy ending.

Not Super League messy, of course, but still messy.

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