Adrian Fein has spent most of his life at Bayern Munich. Now he is – again – at the crossroads of his career. There are several reasons for this.
Long before the transfer window closed on August 31, FC Bayern can look back on one of the most eventful summers in the club’s history. The squad was essentially strengthened and thinned out at the same time. However, there are still question marks behind some personal details, one of the biggest behind Adrian Fein.
The 23-year-old, who fulfilled his dream of winning the German record at the age of seven, has once again returned to his favorite club. According to consistent media reports, a move to Los Angeles FC had recently fallen through, although he had already taken part in training with the MLS club. “I could imagine that in Los Angeles, but we’ll see what happens,” said Fein, joking: “Fortunately, I was mostly in a team with Chielleni instead of playing against him.”
Noisy sports1 He is said to have done his job so well that Bayern had a rethink and they would plan with him again. LA coach and Hannover 96 legend Steven Cherundolo posed in conversation with SPOX and GOAL clear: “He did very well. He’s a very smart six, who loses few balls and can initiate attacks. He would have helped us, but our squad was full. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough space in midfield.” So there doesn’t seem to have been an intervention by Munich.
Cherundolo continued: “It wouldn’t have been a problem for us if he’d continued training with us, but it wouldn’t have made sense for him. In Europe, the season is just starting. The player has to play somewhere and find a new team or go to Bayern Munich You can’t audition forever anyway, at some point the preparation is over.”
Adrian Fein: Awarded five times in four years
Time is getting tighter and he won’t be able to do any preparation at any other club. However, Fein is familiar with an unclear perspective. He has been loaned out five times since 2018. Unlike in Regensburg or at HSV, the last three stations have not been good for his development. They did the complete opposite: instead of gaining match practice, he mostly played on the bench.
In his first two interludes, the strong center player had impressively demonstrated his strengths with the ball. In the first half of the 2019/20 season in Hamburg he played the most passes in his position in the league (1069). His diagonal balls paired with his creativity were feared. Fein also excelled off the ball and even advanced to become the midfielder with the best tackles in the league with a rate of 60.74 percent. “You couldn’t imagine HSV without Adrian Fein at the moment because he has such a dominant role there,” said Bayern youth director Holger Seitz at the time and enthused: “For me, Adrian is so far that he can also play a role with our professionals .”
Like the rest of the team, however, he experienced a drop in performance in the second half of the season, which is why HSV ultimately missed out on promotion. According to reports, Fein also got out of step because he wanted too much too quickly. This was also reflected in an abrupt change in diet. The first setback of many that were to follow.
Fein almost tenfold its market value
Nevertheless, he came back to Munich with a lot of self-confidence. Its market value alone had increased almost tenfold within a year. Much more important: those responsible at Bayern realized what talent they had in their ranks. “He was trained with us and has now developed very well in his first two professional years. Now we hope that he will take the next big step with us in Munich,” said sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.
But father Oliver already warned his son with foresight during the time in Hamburg: “As a young player you have to be careful with Bayern. The beginning was very strong in Hamburg, but there will also be setbacks. That’s at his age absolutely normal.” There were not only setbacks in the season finale with HSV, they became the norm.
Adrian Fein at PSV Eindhoven: The wrong choice
Fein was an integral part of the pros in preparation, but he did not play under the then coach Hansi Flick and found himself in the 3rd division with the reserves. Today’s national coach relied on the tried and tested, and not only Fein felt it. Also with a view to Fein’s potential, the Munich team then opted for a comparatively larger loan club: PSV Eindhoven. There he will “take the next step in a very interesting league. We are convinced that Adrian will take on a leading role at PSV and continue to develop his qualities,” predicted Salihamidzic when the change was announced. This plan failed with a bang – and with a start.
At the traditional Dutch club, it was only enough for four starting eleven appearances, which meant less than 600 minutes of playing time. Figures that should not have surprised Salihamidzic and Eindhoven at second glance. As with Bayer Leverkusen, the coach at the time, Roger Schmidt, used an offensive and intensive pressing game, which did not allow for long periods of possession. A style that, unlike HSV, which always determines the game in the 2nd division, is far removed from Fein’s game idea.
So the PSV did not pull the purchase option in the amount of rumored six million euros. “We had hoped and expected a little more from his development here. That didn’t work out for a number of reasons,” said Technical Director John de Jong, explaining the decision. After that, a firm farewell to Bayern had been in the air for a long time, instead the club gave the former U21 international another chance and loaned him to Greuther Fürth, who had been promoted to the Bundesliga. The next big mistake.
Adrian Fein: One wrong decision after the other
The shamrocks were clearly inferior in almost every game. Fein’s qualities on the ball were not needed again. Trainer Stefan Leitl also publicly pilloried him: “I expect a significant increase in performance from him.” The beginning of the end: Fein only made four short appearances before the loan ended prematurely after the first half of the season and he landed at Dynamo Dresden shortly before the end of the winter transfer window. But this chapter also proved to be a bitter disappointment for everyone involved. Due to the after-effects of a coronavirus infection and injuries, Fein was not used.
Now Fein is once again at the crossroads of his career. Instead of playing under Cherundolo in the future, he made the USA trip to Washington with FCB. Before leaving, he left his future open. “Of course it’s a nice thing to be here, I’m looking forward to it. But I’m also realistic. Let’s see how it goes,” he said. After all, given the great competition from Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, new signing Ryan Gravenberch and Marcel Sabitzer, who is currently seeded, it is a mammoth task to even be in the squad. This was shown at the start of the season, when Fein has not yet been nominated.
Staying would make just as little sense for his career as another loan. Also because his contract expires in 2023. After 16 years at FC Bayern, a final farewell would be the logical consequence to finally set exclamation marks instead of question marks.