As a child he wanted to be Gerd Müller, as a young professional he listened to the anecdotes of the established players – Hansi Flick has always had FC Bayern in his heart. The winning gene, desire and faith: he explains what fascinates him about our club. The extended interview is available in the members’ magazine “51” (German language only).
The interview with Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick, you were an FCB fan as a child and Gerd Müller made a big impression. What memories do you have of him?
“I grew up with Gerd Müller, his style of play and his goals were very special to me. As a child I found the duels with Jupp Heynckes to be top scorer very exciting. Because my brother was a Gladbach fan, I kept my fingers crossed for Bayern – and we were in constant competition at home: my brother was always Jupp Heynckes on the football field, I was Gerd Müller. Many years later I was able to compete with Gerd myself. As a young professional in Munich, I often played tennis against him. I gave everything, but I never had a chance against him.”
You won the championship at Bayern both as a player and as a coach in each of your first years. Do you enjoy success as a coach less?
“It’s different as a coach. It’s important to me that everyone feels comfortable, so I include the coaching staff in everything. Only then can you achieve top performance. I think we did it. It’s just a shame we weren’t able to celebrate our titles with the fans in the stadium last year. The crowd was very much missing – for the integration of the new players as well.”
What do you mean?
“As a newcomer you need some time to get settled, regardless of whether you’re a top star or a young talent at FC Bayern. The fans contribute to the overall package, they give you direct feedback on the pitch – positive and negative. That’s very important, because Munich has always been about success and doing everything to achieve it.”
A big sporting topic this season was the number of times you fell behind. 10 out of 14 times you came back to draw or win. Where do you get the will to turn it around?
“I believe this is a result of the path we’ve walked together over the past 18 months. Of course, we set ourselves goals in advance, but the way you achieve them is also important. Desire and the belief in your own strength are firmly anchored in the team.”
As a fan, even after going 2-0 behind, it felt like the team would still turn things around. How was it in the dugout?
“To be honest: I felt the same way – apart from when we lost in Mainz. There were a few signs during the game and I sensed it would be very, very difficult. You have to accept that as well and deal with it in the dressing room, because it was a sensational achievement for the team. They hardly had any summer break, hardly any preparation, a game every three days – and still won the championship, so we all say very confidently, it was the most honest title.”
What was going on in the dressing room when the team was behind at the break? Did you get stuck in any particular moments?
“Yes, in Frankfurt when we were 2-0 down. It got pretty loud among the players. So I went to the gym next door with my assistants and said: ‘Leave them alone.’ I saw it as a good sign, we played much better in the second half, even though unfortunately, we couldn’t tutn this game around.”
Joshua Kimmich is the epitome of defensiveness and doggedness. Would you agree?
“The word ‘doggedness’ often has a negative connotation, but he is definitely very, very focused, that’s what distinguishes him. I think if he can channel his ambition a little better and steer it in the right direction, he can become the world’s best player. He’s already a world class player in several positions, but he can take another step and I hope he does that. David Alaba is incredibly versatile and always plays with a lot of heart, and he was equally important for the team.”
Regarding Thomas Müller, you haven’t just praised him with words, you actually bowed to him after an away win in Dortmund. Has he reinvented himself at the age of 30?
“Thomas is a phenomenon for me. He doesn’t always get everything right in the game. But he brings you significantly more moments of joy as a coach than moments when you’re upset about him – for example, when he goes out to the corner when he shouldn’t, loses the ball, and a counterattack emerges. Sometimes I almost have to laugh and have the feeling that he does this on purpose to annoy me a little and get the adrenaline going again. But he means so much for the team and this club, there will never be anyone like him again. What he has achieved in his career is unique. On top of that he is incredibly down to earth and a really good guy.”
You’ve talked about Kimmich, Alaba and Müller. Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski are the others in the central spine.
“For me and for all coaches, the spine is the key element. And there has been nothing better in the world over the past two years. I never want to single someone out of my team because we can only achieve our goals together. But I could always rely on these five players 100%, it was pure joy.”
What will you leave behind at FC Bayern?
“I think Julian Nagelsmann will have a lot of fun with this team because they have enormous quality and a great attitude. I’ve written that to him as well. They’re a top team and they know what’s important. You have to support them as a coach.”
As a child you were a fan of FC Bayern – will you be in the future?
“Of course! This club will always be very special to me. For example, after our championship, Kalle Rummenigge came to my office with two glasses of champagne to toast, which I thought was a great gesture. I had the best time here as a player and celebrated great successes as a coach. FC Bayern is my club.”