Bayern Munich chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been explaining why Louis van Gaal’s tenure at the Allianz Arena was never going to be a long one, claiming that the Dutchman tried to “Van Gaal-ise” the club.
Van Gaal’s reign at Bayern – lasting from July 2009 until April 2011 – started off impressively as he won the domestic Double in his first season, while also taking his team to the Champions League final where they lost 2-0 to Jose Mourinho’s Inter.
The current Manchester United manager was sacked, however, towards the end of his second season in charge, with Bayern sitting fourth in the Bundesliga.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, the Bayern CEO called Van Gaal a “good and successful coach,” but said that he was “not always low maintenance.”
“He wanted to ‘Van Gaal-ise’ the club,” Rummenigge said. “As soon as he presented his autobiography in a snobby restaurant, I knew hard times were ahead – ‘Van Gaal-ise,’ that’s what we’ve called it up until today.”
Van Gaal was replaced by Jupp Heynckes, who enjoyed huge success, including the 2013 Treble, before current incumbent Pep Guardiola took charge of the club. According to Rummenigge, the former Barcelona coach is a perfect fit for Bayern.
“He has many ideas,” he said of Guardiola. “Some of them might be unusual, but they are never crazy. I consider Pep a genius, and hope that he’ll stay with us for a long time.”
Guardiola won the Bundesliga, German Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in his first season in charge, although he suffered the disappointment of watching his side crash out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Real Madrid.
Bayern have continued to strengthen their squad, signing Robert Lewandowski in the summer, the Pole followed the path of Mario Gotze from league rivals Borussia Dortmund a year earlier.
Although Bayern were accused of signing both players in a bid to weaken their closest rivals, Rummenigge says the Bundesliga champions did German football a favour by keeping both players in the country.
“If we hadn’t signed them, they would now be playing abroad somewhere,” he said. “Both make the league attractive. Gotze had an incredible offer from Manchester City, while Real Madrid desperately wanted Lewandowski, and would that have been better for the Bundesliga?”