AWhen an interview with Philipp Lahm appeared in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on November 7, 2009, FC Bayern was very excited. Lahm, 25 years old, had conducted the conversation without consulting the club and was heavily critical. He sharply attacked those responsible in Munich and criticized a lack of game philosophy such as wrong transfers. Manager Uli Hoeneß was beside himself and rumbled: “You can be sure that he will regret it.”
When an interview with Manuel Neuer appeared in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and on the online portal “The Athletic” on Friday, the excitement at FC Bayern was also great. Neuer, 36, conducted the conversation without consulting the club and was massively critical. He sharply attacked those responsible in Munich, especially for the dismissal of his goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalović. CEO Oliver Kahn is upset and said: “We will talk to him about it very clearly.”
As similar as the cases may appear, there is a subtle difference.
It was all about success
Lahm named the reason for his interview in the same. It was about the success of the team. “I’m a homegrown player, I feel very comfortable and FC Bayern is close to my heart – that’s why I’m talking about our situation so openly,” he said. “We also want to be successful internationally with Bayern and win titles. But: If I notice that nothing is happening, it is somehow disappearing, then I want to intervene and address unpleasant truths.”
Lahm never regretted that, despite the fine of 50,000 euros. It was “well invested” money, as not only Lahm will find out later, the starting capital for a successful era for FC Bayern, which culminated in winning the Champions League in 2013. Lahm was the first to hold up the trophy as captain.
Newer it was about his well-being
Neuer also gave the reason for his statements. His well-being was his top priority. He wasn’t referring to the fractured lower leg he suffered from after a ski tour. Because Neuer said: “There were other things that really blew my mind. This is worse than what happened to you physically.”
Then the public frustration began. Neuer complained about a lack of support from home at the World Cup, a lack of a clear statement from the DFB in the “One Love” dispute, unjustified criticism of his performance in Qatar and, above all, the separation of FC Bayern from his trusted goalkeeping coach. Neuer used drastic words: “It was a blow for me when I was already on the ground. I felt like my heart was being ripped out. That was the craziest thing I’ve experienced in my career.” Everyone in the goalkeeper group “was torn apart, people burst into tears”.
One must state without emotion: Manuel Neuer is an employee of FC Bayern. One who has done a great job for the club, for sure, but who also earns a lot, a lot. However, personnel decisions are not part of his area of competence, even if he is captain of the Munich team, as in the German selection. This position entails a special responsibility, as Neuer himself says in the interview. He calls himself a “team player”.
With his selfish reduction of frustration, not only in the interview, but he has proved the opposite. He downplays the ski tour to deal with the early end of the World Cup as a “kid’s birthday party” and “bringing a roll”. However, she suffered a serious injury. It not only harms him, but also the club, both sportingly and financially. Nevertheless, FC Bayern did not publicly say a bad word to Neuer. He now behaves completely differently towards his employer. The interview statements so shortly before important games, this Sunday (5.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on DAZN) in Wolfsburg, soon in the Champions League in Paris, come, as Kahn rightly complained, at a particularly bad time .
Neuer has unnecessarily opened another one for his club, which is already struggling with a number of construction sites. Neuer’s deliberate break with those responsible may not heal like the one in his lower leg, especially not quickly. Neuer’s contract runs until mid-2024. It seems inconceivable that it will be extended again after Neuer’s frontal attack on those responsible at FC Bayern. It also seems unlikely that he, like Lahm after his interview, will hold up the Champions League trophy again. Especially not as the captain of Munich.