Tag Archives: Mark van Bommel

Bayern Munich and the difference – Or why Louis van Gaal fell over his own feet

The German record champ is one of the first addresses in world soccer. Ranked number 5 in the“world ranking for revenue”, the club is interesting for top players as well as for the top coaches in the world.

Last week, Louis van Gaal, a commonly considered top coach in soccer, lost his job in Munich. The press and soccer experts around the world are wondering about the reasons. Louis van Gaal made many mistakes, not only in managing the team, but also in managing the club and its grown structures. It is all his fault, clearly!

Lets look at a few details. Last year the Bayern made it into Champions League Final and lost against Inter Milan. At that time already clear, they need to shore up the defense. Both central defenders and the left full back position should have been reinforced. Van Gaal let it go, despite the fact that the Bayern were willing to spend money. After the World Cup, the real trouble started: The entire team was at the World Cup, for Germany, France and the Dutch. A real good preparation for the season was not possible. Van Gaal laid that out, and he was right. Until the team was getting back in some kind of normal form, the half of the season was over. Most important for the club, Bayern was not in the top five and had to struggle to keep up and put themselves  into Champions League qualifying position. At that time, while completely underestimating and disregarding competition and valuable resources, van Gaal got the glorious idea to shape the team for the next season. Butt out of goal and Kraft in. Sold Demichelis, the better of the two central defenders, and let van Bommel go to AC Milan. All  these actions, as expected, went straight into the pants, as the Germans say. Butt, who was mandatory for Bayern’s and van Gaal’s strategy, had to watch from the sideline how the young Kraft was overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Many mistakes in the traditional goalie game, and hopelessly “under equipped” to support the Bayern strategy of keeping the ball and use the goalie to do so. Letting van Bommel go, with his experience and leadership abilities, comes close to a beginner mistake. If one wants to put numbers to just those two mistakes, those cost the Bayern five to six points at least, since the winter break. Add those to the current points, and van Gaal would still be in charge. You can go on and consider the dynamics that are created by such actions, and you have another 3 or 4 points.

Much more ridiculous, van Gaal managed to p… off the entire management “high society” at Bayern. Unlike other top clubs, were management has no clue about the game and just throws money out to buy players, at Bayern, everyone in charge knows everything about the game on the field and off the field. If, as a coach, you don’t take advantage of such resources, you are either stupid or you lost the ground under your feet. Van Gaal is not stupid.

One can charge management for not putting an end to this earlier, but you can also give them credit for letting the coach do his thing. Considering everything on the table, I find this worth to give them credit. As a coach, where do you find that kind of opportunity? A big club, money to buy players and incredible resources in management that help you do the job.  All you need to do is manage a “rose garden”. Van Gaal failed to do so.

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Bundesliga: In Munich the tree is burning (All hell is breaking loose)! Bayern is fighting for survival.

It doesn’t happen very often that the Bayern bosses are speechless. Today we witnessed such an event. Bayern lost in Hanover and is facing elimination from the Champions League for 2012. As of today, they are 5 points behind the 3rd, Hanover 96. The third place in Germany sends you into qualification for the Champions League.

Usually, when Bayern is struggling in the Bundesliga, most people have a smile on their face. For most Germans, Bayern is too successful, and a little suffering here and there doesn’t hurt them. This time, it is a little different. While there are still a lot of people laughing at the Bayern, some became a little hesitant to find it funny anymore. The Germans want good results for their teams in the international competitions. Who else can deliver that better then the European and German top club from Munich. Hanover in the Champions League? The Germans just won another starter place in the Champions League from the Italians, and that is a result, beside others, of a lot of Bayern wins in Europe. With all due respect towards Hanover, it is not very likely that they make it very far in Europe. Hanover AND Bayern, yes, that would fly. But Hanover instead Bayern?  So, the most are not really comfortable with the situation.

Let’s take a look at what happened. After the successful World Cup in South Africa, the Bayern internationals got a longer vacation than the players that didn’t go to the World Cup. Nothing special one would think, everyone does that. Yes, but Bayern had the entire team at the World Cup. When practice started, there was just the reserve present. For three weeks the team wasn’t in practice. Preparation for the new season suffered. While it is nice to be popular, it wasn’t really good for the club and the team. Also, the Bayern had a very successful 2009/10 season. Won the Championship, Cup and were in the Champions League final. As it always is, the Bayern are very excessive in everything they do. When things are good, they enjoy it big time. When bad, like right now, they are very intense as well. If everything is normal, then they find something to be intense about. Besides of that, they have high expectations and at times they come over as quite arrogant.

While van Gaal was warning of the problems that might occur after such a World Cup, the Bayern officials acknowledged, but still expected to win everything, as always. The start into the new season was then as expected, more modest. On top of that, injuries came up. Robben and Ribery were out for the most part of the first half of the season. With the problems at hand, the Bayern didn’t adjust to it and trying to save the season. They started to build a team for the next season, still in believe they can manage it all. The goalie, Hans-Joerg Butt, was put on the bench and a greenhorn was put into place. Not that everyone gave the young Thomas Kraft a chance to grow on the job, all season coach and officials are talking about moving Manuel Neuer from Schalke to Munich, as the new number 1. That might be motivating, most likely, it is not. Demichelis, the Argentine, was put on the bench as well and later sold to Malaga in Spain. Mark van Bommel, while an old bone, he is still a top player with a lot of influence on the team, was let go to AC Milan! An absolute ridiculous move by the Bayern. In between of all that, Uli Hoeness and coach van Gaal had their issues on an almost weekly basis. Topics were the way they play, lose or win. Whatever was needed and available to discuss, the two did it. Over the entire season the club and team had no peace. Today, they sit over a huge mess and have to find a way to get themselves out of it. Champions League is a must for the Bayern. Not only because it is an annual expectation, this time there is another reason: The Champions League final 2012 is in Munich and that is the club’s target for the next season. Reach the final and win, of course. That’s what they are working on all season, no matter the circumstances.

When you hear all that, you might wonder if they all have no clue in Munich. Far off, my friend. Bayern Munich is the club with the most experts in important positions. There is no other club in the entire World that has such a huge panel of experts not only around, but on duty. Uli Hoeness, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Christian Nerlinger, Gerd Mueller, Paul Breitner (not direct for the club, but always with an opinion), and, above everyone else, Franz Beckenbauer. As a coach, you want to explain to them how soccer works? Good luck! Some will probably say, let them coach. Yes, that happened too in the past. They fired the coach, Beckenbauer took over, and, of course, despite all obstacles, won the championship. You see the problem? It is kinda difficult to talk with them when things don’t go well. Poor van Gaal. Poor everyone else who is trying.

Sounds all crazy, I know. It is not. It is unusual. The mentioned officials are absolute crackers in sport and business. They know what they do and always did. Yes, the expectations are sometimes out of reality, but if you look at the successes of the club, outstanding. When it comes to financials for example, the rest of Europe doesn’t even dare to look at Munich. No crazy club owners, no galactic debt or any other issues. And still successful. Just not right now.

One can write on this forever and will not find a solution. We will have to wait until Sunday and see what happens. In my opinion, the challenge is to find peace and calm the egos of certain people. Once that is accomplished, they can focus on soccer. It is not all lost. Third place is still possible and should be the focus of all at Bayern. Also, they won in Inter Milan and play them in the second leg next week. They still have a chance for the biggest of all trophies, the UEFA Champions League title.