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How does the new sports director Christoph Freund tick? Companion Schiemer talks about the “zachen dog” in an interview



From 2019 to 2021, Franz Schiemer (centre) was Jesse Marsch’s assistant coach at RB Salzburg: Christoph Freund says goodbye to him here.

Christoph Freund will take over as sporting director at FC Bayern Munich on September 1st. How does the 46-year-old Austrian tick? In an interview with SPOX and GOAL reports his long-time companion Franz Schiemer of a “tenacious dog” and “carer”.

Franz Schiemer played for RB Salzburg from 2009 to 2015 and experienced Freund as team manager and sports coordinator during this time. After the end of his career, Schiemer acted as assistant coach of FC Liefering and the professional team under his friend, who had meanwhile been promoted to sports director. Schiemer is currently working as a consultant for Austria Vienna.

Mr. Schiemer, how did you take the news of Christoph Freund’s move to Bayern Munich?

Franz Schiemer: This is an insane story. I’m extremely happy for him. It’s unbelievable that you can now make the leap from Austria directly to FC Bayern.

You came to Salzburg as a player in 2009, Freund was the team manager at the time.

Schiemer: He was responsible for the accounting and supported the management in all possible areas. When Ralf Rangnick arrived in 2012, he replaced almost all of his staff. Christoph was one of the few who were allowed to stay. Rangnick made him something like his personal assistant. During this time, Christoph was specifically prepared for the role of sports director. At the same time, Christoph also helped Rangnick: he brought him closer to the Austrian league and all the relevant people.

After Rangnick’s departure in 2015, Freund took over the post of sports director.

Schiemer: There were doubts as to whether Christoph would be able to continue the successful work. But he’s proven he can do even better. He made Salzburg a Champions League club.

2020 Christoph Freund told in an interview with SPOX and GOAL, how Salzburg became one of the best player and coach development clubs in Europe under his leadership.

What distinguishes him?

Schiemer: In Salzburg he was the good soul of the club, a real caretaker. Friendly, humane manners are extremely important to him. He works purposefully and loyally. In a managerial position like this, you have to have uncomfortable conversations and make tough decisions, but he always communicates very honestly.

You ended your active career in 2015, but later returned as an assistant coach at FC Liefering and the first team. How present was Freund in your everyday life back then?

Schiemer: He was always very close to the team and the coaching staff, watched many training sessions and wanted to absorb the atmosphere. Christoph is also well versed in tactical issues. He has very clear ideas about how his club’s football should look like. With his expertise, he can offer assistance to the coaching team. Whenever the situation called for it, he would motivate the team.

Do you have a specific example?

Schiemer: I can remember one situation clearly. It was at a time when things weren’t going particularly well for us. He showed a scene from the past when, in the 87th minute, when the score was 3:0, all field players ran backwards after losing the ball after losing the ball and winning the ball back. He then showed a current scene in which no one sprinted back in an identical situation. Then, in an emotional speech, he demanded more will and commitment from the players.

How present was Freund in public?

Schiemer: In recent years he has been the face of the club, the only constant amidst the high turnover in the player and coach sector.

Freund is considered to be extremely attached to his homeland, which is why he allegedly turned down an offer from Chelsea FC a year ago.

Schiemer: He is a very down-to-earth, home-loving person. He loves the mountains. In his free time, he rides his bike a lot. He’s a tough dog. I hope you understand this formulation in Germany. Christoph has stamina in every respect. Not only at work, but also in sports.

Have you ever gone cycling with him?

Schiemer: Yes, I remember one tour in particular. At a training camp we climbed 1300 meters. I hooked onto his rear wheel and somehow tried to keep up. To this day I don’t know how I survived that. When I got to the top, all I had was cramps. For him, the tour was the most everyday thing ever.

Did you notice an emotional connection to FC Bayern during your time with him?

Schiemer: I can remember his joy when we drew Bayern in the Champions League. He had already predicted it. We then played really cool games against Bayern, but unfortunately failed because of the bastard Manuel Neuer. It was incredible what he held.

Have you been in contact with Freund since you left Salzburg in 2021?

Schiemer: He writes to me every year on my birthday and also regularly asks if everything is okay with the family. I appreciate very much.

Background: Why the friend obligation makes sense – but still carries risks

FC Bayern Munich: The most important dates in the preparation of FCB

Date Event
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
August 2, 2023 Friendly match against Liverpool FC in Singapore
August 7, 2023 Test match against AS Monaco in Unterhaching
August 12, 2023 Super Cup against RB Leipzig in Munich
18-20 Aug 2023 Start of the 2023/24 Bundesliga season