The location for Bayern's summer training camp in Trentino could hardly be more picturesque, surrounded as it is by mountains and lakes. However, board director for sport Matthias Sammer only has eyes for events on the Arco stadium pitch, as he watches the stars like a hawk and occasionally exchanges opinions with Jupp Heynckes and his assistants.
On Tuesday, two weeks after taking up his new post with the club, the 44-year-old talked to the media about his initial impressions, the first thoughts from his analysis of the situation, and his ideas and targets for the future of Germany's most successful club. The leading personality spoke for fully 50 minutes, and fcbayern.de summarises his key statements.
Matthias Sammer on…
…his first two weeks at Bayern:
“For the first ten days I was completely lost, but it's settling down now and I feel good. Bayern Munich is a huge club, as you can see and feel. When you arrive at a place which is functioning well, it's advisable to take a modest approach. I would always regard the club as bigger than any individual. I believe you're there to serve the club and not the other way round. My task is to settle into a functioning club, but also to introduce my own ideas. The job is to build on a very, very strong foundation, and find the extra two or three percent to ensure it's not always second place for us. We want to be first again."
…the early results of his analysis:
“A few things are going through my head but it's too early to talk about them. We have to continue watching and analysing. I've held a few rounds of talks, and I'm getting a first impression. But we're still missing most of the team. Football is a very complex game due to the many influential factors on and off the field. But I do think you can work on the details, and an essential detail for us could be working out what we lack. Moving from good to very good isn't far, but very detailed."
…club motto mia san mia, ‘we are who we are’:
“I like it and think it's excellent. I've always believed that true strength lies in your own way of thinking and your own orientation. We need our own identity and our own strength, we don't need to take it from anywhere else. Your own strength means following a stable middle course and not getting carried away or building up illusions at certain times, just as much as not straying from your chosen course when the going gets tough. Identity means your own quality being credibly recognisable, and always working on what you can improve."
…potential new signings:
“We need to make sure we get the most from what we have. For now, my opinion is that we should put our faith in the quality we have, and then consider where we could draw out just a little bit more. Last year showed it's not bad at all. The players need to sense our faith."
…his relationship with Jupp Heynckes:
“I'm communicating very, very well with the coach. I'm delighted about the way Jupp Heynckes has welcomed me. Our relationship is excellent, outstanding. I've learned to know and value his personality. I really enjoy the way you can talk to him about football. It's a wonderful foundation. The coach is the most important person in dealing with the team, and I've told him I'll always support him. Naturally, a director of sport doesn't meddle in the coach’s daily business. He’s a point of contact, but he doesn't dictate the line-up."
…his relationship with the other board directors:
“Our communication is outstanding. In many areas, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been involved a lot longer than I have. I don’t go to him to prove what a great guy I am, I go to him for advice. I'm delighted to have such a good contact. We have to understand that all of us – the coaches, the board member for sport, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Karl Hopfner, Uli Hoeneß – must put up a united front. The tests lie ahead, and we have to be just as united."
“I have a very, very good impression of him. He’s very alert, focused, and dynamic. Naturally, we've talked. I signalled to him that in a situation such as what happened in the last match in Munich, no Bayern Munich player is on his own, and that we have to protect him even more. And I've also told him I'm expecting a huge amount of him this season."
…plans for the Bayern youth section:
“We're developing a philosophy, which is partly there already, and which we want to optimise. I've held initial talks with the youth section, and we'll hold more. We'll gradually develop our guidelines. There are stable factors and we want to cast these in stone. It's not rocket science, but if you don't lay down rules, every coach will ultimately make decisions for himself about what suits him or not. Here are some simple examples: will we test the entire club for stamina or not? Will we play with a uniform formation? Do we have a uniform philosophy for individual playing positions? We need an agreed policy in the youth development area, and we'll work that out together. It's not a process which can be concluded overnight."
…the ideal blend in a team:
“What you need in a team are leaders – ideally one leader – team players and individuals. We need individuals such as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry. However, these players must understand they'll never make it on their own. You need team players holding the whole thing together. Players need to put themselves forward and accept responsibility."
“We've lost our winning mentality, because we’re no longer prepared to focus totally on the matter at hand. There’s a sickness in German football, we often focus on personal matters, interests, image and branding more than simple results. And to get those results, you often need discomfort, conflict, a less sympathetic approach. We've not won an international trophy since 2001. We need to review what they did so well back then. The generations are different, but I believe the recipe for success is the same."