Hasan Salihamidžic can still remember the exact day he signed for FC Bayern in the summer of 1998. Back then, Oliver Kahn was the goalkeeper, players like Lothar Matthäus, Stefan Effenberg and Jens Jeremies led the way on the pitch, the squad also included characters like Mario Basler, Mehmet Scholl and Giovane Élber, and the whole operation was headed up by Ottmar Hitzfeld. “I was very excited,” says Salihamidžic, “but I was also very proud. It was a great honour. And I had fun from day one.” They got off to a flying start together.
With one finger plugged into the socket
The fans quickly took Salihamidžic to their hearts. The versatile player electrified the crowd in the stands, while team captain Effenberg once speculated that his teammate slept with one finger plugged into the socket, because he had so much energy. “Hasan was an incredibly dynamic, cocky, unencumbered guy,” recalls current president Herbert Hainer. “We were all curious to see whether this boy from Hamburger SV would make it at FC Bayern. When he got going, it was like an explosion, a whirlwind, and he became a real crowd-pleaser. You had the feeling you could play him around the clock.”
Yesterday, July 1, 2020, Salihamidžic became board member for sport at FC Bayern. In the last three years he has continued working as sporting director with as much energy as he did as a player, says Hainer. “He’s incredibly busy, day and night, has built up a large network, has continuously matured as a person since ending his playing career, and has earned the position on the executive board.”
Recognition and commitment
The former fans’ favourite sees the new task “as a great honour and a great obligation. It means recognition for my work as sporting director, but it also means I am not letting up for a second. The task is to manage FC Bayern together with my colleagues in the future in such a way that it remains as successful as it was under Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge with their colleagues.” The 43-year-old is prepared to give his all for that. “For me, FC Bayern is a labour of love.”
That was already the case as a player, and also the reason why Salihamidžic “didn’t have to think twice” in the summer of 2017 when Rummenigge called him to ask if he would be willing to take on the job as sporting director. At that time, the Bosnian was working as a brand ambassador for the club and, with a partner had built up a medium-sized company away from football. He felt ready for the task. The cheeky rogue from back then is today a cautious strategist. As board member for sport, he will continue to be responsible for the first team, the coaching staff, the FC Bayern Campus and the scouting department.
Champions League title a “very big goal”
The most important task in the coming years is to restructure in two areas, says Hainer: on the pitch and behind the scenes. “The expectations at FC Bayern are always the highest, and we won’t ease off a single millimetre from that.” Hainer utters these words while standing in the lounge on Säbener Straße. The door opposite leads into his office, right next door is the office of the new board member for sport. Next to Hainer stands a gleaming replica of the Champions League trophy. The president and head of the supervisory board has to chuckle: “Our collective goal is to win this trophy once again. Hasan knows how to do that, he was there in 2001, he coolly converted a penalty back then – and I know he wants to get his hands on that trophy again.”
Salihamidžic leaves no doubt about that: “We want an FC Bayern that’s established in the European elite. And the Champions League title is a very big goal for us. I’ll give everything to achieve it.”