Hasan Salihamidzic has one more day to work at the club headquarters on Säbener Strasse this week than usual in English weeks. Like the team, the sports director of FC Bayern does not fly to Cologne until the match day, on Wednesday: There the German record champions will play in the first round of the DFB Cup at third division club FC Viktoria (8:46 p.m., ARD and Sky). A mandatory task.
Salihamidzic is in a good mood before the game. On Monday evening, the supervisory board of FC Bayern München AG, headed by honorary president Uli Hoeneß, decided unanimously to extend the 45-year-old’s contract by a further three years until June 30, 2026.
The former Bayern player became sports director in August 2017, and on July 1, 2020 the supervisory board appointed him to the board for an initial three years until June 30, 2023. From the “little boy” from Bosnia, as his nickname “Brazzo” translates, to the boss: it is a story of transformation that Salihamidzic has written since his unexpected appointment as sports director.
“Hasan Salihamidzic has done an excellent job in the five years he has been in charge at Bayern Munich,” said club president Herbert Hainer. “He is constantly developing the sporting area of our professionals and talents, both structurally and personally. In addition to our goals on the field, he always keeps an eye on the economic environment. He stands for the FC Bayern gene, for continuity and for titles. The supervisory board is convinced that together with his colleagues on the board he will continue to successfully shape the sporting future of FC Bayern in the years to come.”
The extension of the contract was expected and does not come as a surprise. Salihamidzic’s standing at the club and in public has improved enormously in recent months. One reason was the commitment of the world star Sadio Mané from Liverpool FC, quasi Salihamidzic’s king transfer. Mané already impressed in his first few weeks in Munich with good performances and his approachable and modest manner.
WELT asked coach Julian Nagelsmann on Tuesday afternoon how important the contract extension was as a signal. “I’m very happy about it because we work well together,” replied the coach. “He worked well even in difficult transfer phases. Hasan has a very good connection to everyone in the club, including the board of directors. We’ve done a good job in this transfer window, it’s always a teamwork. We also get along well privately.”
Nagelsmann also said with a wink: “Brazzo was also a driving force behind those who brought me in as a coach. I’m assuming that we’ll continue to work well together in the years to come – provided he doesn’t throw me out.”
In recent years, Salihamidzic has been repeatedly criticized, sometimes violently. Max Eberl was also traded in Munich as a sports director or sports director, he will probably start at RB Leipzig as sports director at the beginning of December. “Oliver Mintzlaff hesitated for a long time before he could get the name out,” said Nagelsmann. “Max Eberl is a good guy, Leipzig is a good club – they will certainly be a good match. I wish you success!”
Salihamidzic had silenced the rumors about Eberl for some time. But that took time. By no means every player signed by him and his team brought the team further: Bouna Sarr, Michael Cuisance and Fiete Arp, for example, were flops. He did not get desired players like Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea.
In addition, there was the internal dispute with the then Bayern coach and current national coach Hansi Flick, who also left the record champions because of this, and the free transfer of crowd favorite David Alaba to Real Madrid. Some fans even whistled at Salihamidzic, he and his family were denigrated on social media. This summer 2022 a lot is different.
One reason: Salihamidzic convinces with his work. In addition to Mané, he signed central defender Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus Turin, spent a total of 137.5 million euros plus bonuses for the two and Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch and Mathys Tel. And sold reservists like Marc Roca and Omar Richards for quite a lot of money. With him as sports director, Bayern have just set a record: they took in around one hundred million euros from player sales in this transfer period, which ends Thursday at 6 p.m. The club had never redeemed so much.
Salihamidzic has developed. In interviews, he recently explained that he sometimes behaves differently in negotiations than when he started his job as sports director. He has significantly improved his public image, and in interviews he appears more confident and self-assured. He has also expanded his already large network. Since this season he is no longer on the coaching bench, but in the stands, next to club boss Oliver Kahn. Also a sign: He is perceived more as a boss.
His early days at Bayern were “not easy”, Salihamidzic recently told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. He had “made mistakes” and “burned his fingers here and there. First I had to find my place between Kalle Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß. Restructuring the team was complicated, then the pandemic came. It was all part of a growth process.” He has always been hard-working, goal-oriented and able to learn – and he can take it.
He notices “how respect for me is changing.” Salihamidzic recently impressed experts and fans with his self-criticism and insights into his inner life. The club did not always give a good picture, he said in retrospect in relation to the dispute with Flick. He was often the bad guy in public perception, and irrelevant criticism hurt him.
Salihamidzic works intensively and well together with CEO Oliver Kahn, trainer Julian Nagelsmann and sporting director Marco Neppe, his “right hand”. After his contract was extended, he said: “I would like to thank the supervisory board for the trust they had placed in them, especially the chairman of the supervisory board, Herbert Hainer, who supported my ideas and plans at every stage.”
Salihamidzic continues: “I’ve always said it: I love FC Bayern, Munich is my home. It is my goal and the goal of my board colleagues, to whom I would also like to thank, to offer our members and fans a nationally and internationally competitive and successful team every season, based on economic reason. I will continue to give everything for that – we are on the right track.”