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Bayern's biggest challenge, replace Hoeness

(Xinhua)    11:05, November 16, 2019

BERLIN, Nov. 15 -- It seems more than a bold guess that Bayern Munich is facing the biggest challenge in the club's history. This time it is not about finding a new coach delivering titles or a promising striker scoring goals, but to replace the man who invented the club in his modern structures, Uli Hoeness.

This Friday evening, one of the most remarkable careers in German football will come to an end as the 67-year-old decided to step aside and retire.

Former Adidas chairman Herbert Hainer is to follow as the new president, but won't enjoy a similar influence.

For years, football fans tried to figure out what German record champions would be looking like after Hoeness. And for years, the most common answer was that the Bavarian club would not be able to maintain their success after the architect of the modern FC Bayern leaves.

Hoeness initiated the Bavarian's corporate identity as "mia san mia" ("we are what we are"), led the club to the country's number one, and developed Bayern into one of the world's best football sides in over 40 years.

An annual turnover of 12 million Deutsch Marks in 1979, when the at that time 27-year-old former striker took over after a knee injury had stopped his professional career, has developed to over 750 million Euro. The Bavarian side became one of Europe's most valuable football sides.

Hoeness not only lead his club to a new level of prosperity as Germany's leading side but survived a plane crash and was sentenced to jail for tax evasion in 2014. The tax case he called the biggest mistake of his life.

In the era of the 35 times capped forward, Bayern won 62 titles and was coached by 21 managers.

Now the unimaginable is becoming a reality. The 2013 treble winner is to face the most significant changes in his leading structure with Oliver Kahn as the successor of chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in 2021 and Hainer replacing Hoeness.

Fans puzzle over the question of how the club will look like in the future?

Hoeness decision to withdraw from every day running and his personal disappointment in the face of growing criticism is a courageous decision. Bayern has been his baby; he always defended with a lion-hearted attitude attacking everyone coming to near.

The club's success is his life-time achievement and deserves the highest respect. Mastermind, patriarch, reckless manager, visionary, provocateur, generous donation collector, and caring father figure - Hoeness has been the man for all possible issues, including crossing red lines.

His verbal clashes and attacks remain unforgotten chapters of German football.

As Bayern decided to sign the world's assumedly best coach such as Pep Guardiola, it was Hoeness travelling and making a decisive visit playing out his empathic skills.

The 1974 World Champion has maintained the club's independence and secured his influence on a lower basis over the time of his retirement by appointing sports director Hasan Salihamidzic as a board-member from summer 2021 on. Until 2023 Hoeness is keeping his place in the supervisory board.

His successors, though, are ahead of a severe challenge as the club's structure, and its leading policy is said to change significantly.

Former German national keeper and club legend Kahn is to direct the club to modern football requirements without Hoeness and leave his footprints.

One can hardly imagine a more delicate job following a man that is regarded as irreplaceable, but in the autumn of his career felt more and more uncomfortable with modern football customs.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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