The future sports director Christoph Freund combines many aspects that should do FC Bayern Munich good in its current situation. The commitment of the 46-year-old Austrian holds more opportunities than risks.
At no football club in the world does the so-called stable smell play such an important role as at FC Bayern Munich. In order to get into a managerial position, it is almost a basic requirement to be called either Uli Hoeneß or Karl-Heinz Rummenigge or at least to have played for FC Bayern.
Hoeneß and Rummenigge recently regained important posts. Christian Nerlinger and Hasan Salihamidzic once became sports directors, and Oliver Kahn became chairman of the board. Max Eberl became the favorite to succeed these two ex-officials who were dismissed in May. There was also speculation about commitments from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben or Philipp Lahm.
It is surprising that the long-established management actually took Christoph Freund from RB Salzburg instead – and it is a strong sign. This commitment was not about his past or his name, but only about his quality. FC Bayern has already benefited from an external stimulus in the recent past: After the tragically lost final at home in 2012, Matthias Sammer took over for the ousted Nerlinger. The consequence: the treble in 2013, among other things.
Unlike Sammer at the time, Freund has no experience in German professional football, and is reportedly not a passionate Motzki like Sammer. On the other hand, the 46-year-old Austrian combines other aspects that should be very good for FC Bayern in its current situation.
FC Bayern: Christoph Freund knows the sense of entitlement
From his many years in Salzburg, Freund knows the sense of entitlement that also prevails at Bayern Munich: Always be champions. Always. Together with mastermind Ralf Rangnick, who is now a successful member of the Austrian national team, Freund stabilized the previously restless retort club, which was plagued by numerous course changes, initially as sports coordinator from 2012.
In 2015 he finally succeeded Rangnick as sports director, since then Salzburg has won 14 of 16 possible national titles and also caused a sensation in the Champions League. Of course, Freund benefited from the brute financial superiority of his club over the national competition, but similar conditions await him in Munich.
Freund was in charge of creating a sophisticated scouting system and excellent youth work in Salzburg. Under his reign, a number of young talents (Dayot Upamecano, Erling Haaland, Dominik Szoboszlai, etc.) made their breakthrough, as did Austrians who had trained themselves (Xaver Schlager, Konrad Laimer, Nicolas Seiwald, etc.). Almost all of them were sold at a high price – and thanks to forward-looking squad planning, they were usually quickly replaced.
FC Bayern: need to catch up on talent development
At FC Bayern, the infrastructure is right with the state-of-the-art campus that opened in 2017. However, the yield so far leaves a lot to be desired. Since David Alaba, no youth player has made a lasting impression (Jamal Musiala only spent a few months on campus after moving from Chelsea).
Freund should change that, he can certainly be trusted with a view to his merits in Salzburg. “One of our declared strategic goals is to strengthen training on campus,” said President Herbert Hainer Süddeutsche Zeitung“We want to escape the madness of the transfer market a bit with expertise in the area of young talent and scouting.”
Freund will work closely with NLZ boss Jochen Sauer to optimize the junior division and the interface to the professionals. The two know each other from their time together in Salzburg, Sauer recently extended his contract.
FC Bayern should also benefit from Freund’s expertise when setting up the “Red&Gold Football” joint venture founded with MLS club Los Angeles FC. In this way, the Munich team wants to work with partner clubs to optimize international talent search and development. Salzburg took a similar approach under Freund with African academies and FC Liefering, as he described in detail in an interview with SPOX and GOAL in 2020.
What Christoph Freund has to adjust to at FC Bayern
With the signing of Freund, an interesting trend continues at FC Bayern: once again, the Munich team is using a Red Bull offshoot. In recent years, players like Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer, coach Julian Nagelsmann and his assistants, executives like Sauer or now Freund have been drawn from the Austrian shower company to the German record champions. In addition, the two companies are also working together on the construction of the SAP Garden. In the future, the multi-sports hall will be home to the EHC Red Bull Munich ice hockey club and FC Bayern Basketball.
In football, the Red Bull branches stand for rapid changeover football – and thus for a completely different game philosophy than that practiced at FC Bayern, which is chronically in love with possession of the ball. Coach Thomas Tuchel likes to orientate himself on ball possession apostle Pep Guardiola. Their salt shaker meeting in Munich’s posh restaurant Schumann is legendary.
Freund doesn’t just have to deal with a new football philosophy at FC Bayern, but also with an incomparable environment. Constant media lighting, huge crowds of fans, the eternal grandees Hoeneß and Rummenigge in the background – it will be interesting how he deals with it. In addition, he has to come to terms with the powerful coach Tuchel and the technical director Marco Neppe, who should keep his post.
But any new sports director at FC Bayern should have dealt with these aspects anyway. With Freund’s signing, the rewards outweigh the risks. Especially since it makes sense that he will not start directly, but only after the end of the transfer period on September 1st, which allows him a somewhat quieter training period.
FC Bayern Munich: The most important dates in the preparation of FCB
July 15 – 20, 2023
Training camp at Tegernsee
July 18, 2023
Test match against FC Rottach-Egern (27:0)
July 23, 2023
Team presentation in the Allianz Arena
July 24 – August 3, 2023
“Audi Summer Tour” in Japan and Singapore
July 26, 2023
Friendly match against Manchester City in Tokyo, Japan
July 29, 2023
Test match against Kawasaki Frontale in Tokyo, Japan