Bayern presents Dreesen as CEO as dispute with club great Kahn deepens
BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich’s firing of club great Oliver Kahn after winning the Bundesliga title has led to a deepening public dispute between the two and dominated questions at his successor's presentation.
Bayern presented Jan-Christian Dreesen as Kahn’s replacement as CEO on Sunday, when club president Herbert Hainer defended the decision to dismiss Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić the day before.
“Especially in the second half of the season, you could see that we weren’t playing as we would have wished,” said Hainer, adding that there were also doubts about Kahn and Salihamidžić’s ability to turn it around. Former Bayern president Uli Hoeneß was involved in the consultation process.
The timing and manner of the club’s decision – Bayern announced the firings shortly after winning a record-extending 11th consecutive league title – have overshadowed the celebrations.
Sunday morning's news conference for Dreesen's presentation also came before Bayern wrapped up the women's Bundesliga title with an 11-1 rout of Turbine Potsdam in the afternoon.
Kahn said in a tweet that he was forbidden “by the club” from attending the team’s game in Cologne or the trophy presentation in Munich and he told Sky TV that “it was the worst day in my life, taking away being able to celebrate with the guys.”
Hainer said both Kahn and Salihamidžić were informed of their dismissals on Thursday and while Salihamidžić took the news well and subsequently traveled to Cologne with the team, “unfortunately, it didn’t go so well” with Kahn.
“It was very emotional and we couldn’t agree with Oliver in the end that the finish would be amicable,” Hainer said. “Then on Friday we sat down with the supervisory board in the extraordinary meeting and decided to dismiss Oliver Kahn. And because of this situation, of course, he couldn’t go (to the celebrations) on Sunday or to Cologne on Saturday either.”
Hainer appeared to take a dig at Kahn when he pointed to how Salihamidžić had bid farewell to the players.
“Hasan Salihamidžić's example showed how something like this can go,” Hainer said.
Kahn gave a different account to Hainer.
“The claim that I freaked out when I was informed about the dismissal is definitely not true,” the former goalkeeping great said in a tweet. “It was a calm and factual conversation… On Saturday morning I got the message that I can’t go to the game. I accepted this decision calmly. Of course I’m disappointed, but I’m really happy about this championship and I’m happy for the team, the coach and our fans.”
Bayern had said Saturday that Kahn wasn’t in Cologne because he was sick in bed at home. Hainer said Sunday that’s what Kahn had told the club.
On Saturday, Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel appeared unsure of his future following the dismissal of the men who had brought him to the club, but Hainer said Sunday he was certain the coach will continue.
“We had a very good talk and there no thoughts (of leaving),” Hainer said. “I’ve no idea why Thomas Tuchel wouldn’t be our coach.”
Hainer said he will propose Tuesday at the club’s shareholders’ meeting that former chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge be added to the supervisory board. Rummenigge was replaced by Kahn in 2022.
But the club still needs a replacement for Salihamidžić as sporting director.
Hainer refused to comment on speculation linking Eintracht Frankfurt’s Markus Krösche or Leipzig’s Max Eberl with the position, except to say both teams are in the German Cup final, where Bayern would like to be.
The 55-year-old Dreesen, who was vice-chairman of the supervisory board since 2014, hinted that he will take a more holistic approach than Kahn, who was known for his sometimes brusque manner.
“I’m firmly convinced that what happens on the field also reflects what’s going on in the club as a whole. Everything around it is also a team,” Dreesen said. “When people enjoy their work and have trust in each other, it works better as a team and is more successful in the long term.”
Bayern’s Bundesliga win on Saturday was its 11th straight and a record-extending 33rd German championship altogether.
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