At the very end there was traditionally the sporty part of the TV visit – but not even that worked. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, 65, has already made quite a few appearances in his long life as a footballer and football official in the ZDF sports studio and consequently also on its famous goal wall, but on this Saturday evening the CEO of FC Bayern did not seem to be in shape . The three downstairs went wrong, the three upstairs too, and somehow that fitted first with the course of his visit to the studio, during which Rummenigge mainly made evasive statements on pressing social issues such as dealing with Qatar or Corona; and secondly, it went well with his team’s performance that afternoon.
A deserved 1: 2 (0: 2) was there after a very weak first and a significantly better second half at the end of the away game at Eintracht Frankfurt. In fact, it could be pointed out that after seven wins and one draw, Munich lost a competitive game for the first time since mid-January – and that against one of the best-form teams in the league. But there is a bit more to this defeat, namely a growing negative mood: Munich’s tiredness.
The appearance on Saturday was part of a clear development that was evident in the past two weeks. First there was the difficult 1-0 win against Hertha, followed by the successful, but also grueling, Club World Cup trip. In addition, there were various corona and injury cases from Thomas Müller to Corentin Tolisso, which is why coach Hansi Flick complains about a lack of alternatives, and in the Bundesliga there was only a 3: 3 against Arminia Bielefeld on Monday and now the 1: 2 against Frankfurt.
The lead in the league over the pursuers RB Leipzig has melted, and in the Champions League, the first leg of the last 16 first leg at Lazio Rome, which won the dress rehearsal for the game against Sampdoria Genoa 1-0. It can get a bit uncomfortable there.
CEO Rummenigge has to express himself on television, especially on social issues
“We had turbulent days and are only human. We have to live with that,” said coach Flick in Frankfurt. His CEO Rummenigge was also a little more rigid: Surrendering five points in a week was “an unusually high amount for FC Bayern,” the team was “too inconsistent, we sometimes save ourselves the last few meters”. You have to play “a bit more focused, a bit more committed”.
It was actually amazing how weak the Munich team were in the first half – similar to what they did at the beginning of the week against Bielefeld. But then they were still playing on a deeply snowed-in lawn. Large gaps were now revealed on the defensive, although it also seemed inappropriate that Niklas Süle should stop the nimble Filip Kostic as right-back.
The midfield looked wrongly composed because Marc Roca as six and Eric Choupo-Moting as ten did not find their roles, and there was not a single good opportunity to score for a little over half an hour.
The situation changed significantly after the break, including the replacement of Leon Goretzka. But it was only enough to make it 1: 2 because only Robert Lewandowski scored (53rd) and Goretzka and Kingsley Coman missed their chances.
When Rummenigge had his long TV appearance later in the evening, he had to take a position above all on social issues, such as the excitement surrounding his suggestion to have professional footballers vaccinated as a role model. Since he was “misunderstood by some,” he said. He called the many European Cup trips across the continent “worth discussing” because you get the impression that football has a special role, but that is “a decision by UEFA” – as if FC Bayern did not have an important voice in European football .
And on the subject of Qatar, where FC Bayern is so criticized for having close ties with the emirate despite serious human rights violations, he asked for “patience” for Qatar, referring to the club’s “dialogue” with those responsible there – and actually tried to point out that it took a while before the minimum wage was introduced in Germany.
Is there another defensive departure pending?
FC Bayern cannot dispel the established doubts about the club’s sensitivity to socio-political issues. However, it remains to be seen how the fresh doubts about athletic strength will continue. In particular, the defense is causing concern after the recent weak performance in Frankfurt and now 31 league goals. This is not an issue for the first time this season, and in this context there was at least a clear message from Rummenigge – in the direction of the recently weak defender Süle.
He still has a contract until summer 2022, talks are currently ongoing, but Rummenigge stated that an extension would “only be possible under certain conditions”; they have “financially no longer the amount available that we had before Corona”. That sounded as if after the announced farewell to David Alaba, another defensive departure could soon be pending.