Christian Nerlinger (49) talked about difficult times as sporting director of FC Bayern Munich. The ex-player, who now works as a consultant, worked as sports director from 2009 to 2012 after a year as team manager.
“First of all, it was incredible for me to be included in this Bavarian world – in the epicenter, so to speak. With Uli Hoeneß, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge,” Nerlinger told the table football. The trio served as managers, presidents and CEOs at the time.
“But then came a phase in which I lost all joy and fun. The analysis after losing the final against Chelsea was very emotional,” Nerlinger reported of the days after the final dahoam 2012. “Hoeneß, Hopfner, Rummenigge and I We worked through it for a long time, also loudly. Immediately afterwards, in a one-to-one conversation with Uli Hoeneß, we ended the topic and the joint cooperation. I think it was the right decision.”
In 2009, Nerlinger took over the managerial duties from Hoeneß, who was elected president. “He came to my desk and said that his successor was still open and that I should step on the gas. He likes the way I work. That was brutal. An accolade at this level,” Nerlinger recalled.
Getting into this transition as sports director was “not always easy”: “Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are two absolutely charismatic people who can take you with them, from whom I could learn a lot. Between two such alpha animals, from whom although it hasn’t always been harmonious in the past, it was often difficult.”
Christian Nerlinger on Louis van Gaal
Nerlinger played a decisive role in Louis van Gaal’s commitment in the summer of 2009: “We met in an apartment in Amsterdam. Karl Hopfner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeneß, myself and van Gaal with an orange tie. The night before he was became champion with AZ Alkmaar. He made it very clear: This is how I am, this is how I work. We knew on the flight home: With him, a lot would change on Säbener Straße. Even though we discussed a lot, we all came to the conclusion that he would be the right man at the right time.”
Van Gaal led Bayern to the Champions League final in his first season, which they lost 2-0 to Inter Milan. “He has stabilized, disciplined and enormously developed an unbalanced squad, a team that should have lost 0:10 in Barcelona in 2009 instead of 0:4 in the Champions League,” said Nerlinger.