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FC Bayern: Hard work for the strong man Max Eberl

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FC Bayern: Hard work for the strong man Max Eberl

The sky was overcast, with occasional sleet falling. Almost 300 spectators came to the stadium on Grünwalder Straße to see the amateurs of FC Bayern beat FC Augsburg 1-0 on December 7, 1993. Dietmar Hamann played in midfield that afternoon, Alexander Zickler up front in attack – and a certain Max Eberl in defense alongside world champion Hans Pflügler. He was 20 years young at the time. To date, it was the last time that Eberl wore the colors of FC Bayern. He then moved to VfL Bochum, started a career as a professional – and went on to become a recognized and successful manager in German football.

Now that more than 30 years have passed, Eberl has come full circle. On Tuesday he will be presented as the new sports director by the German record champions, around 18 kilometers away from the site of his last Bayern appearance to date. A press conference is scheduled in the media room of the Munich Arena with Eberl, who still has to be appointed to FC Bayern’s powerful board at the supervisory board meeting the evening before. However, this is only a formality with regard to a personnel with which they hope to finally get back into calm waters at FC Bayern.

Big tasks await Max Eberl at FC Bayern

Quelle: picture alliance/firo Sportphoto/Ralf Ibing

The whole of football Germany has only recently been shown again just how difficult this will be. On Wednesday morning, the struggling Bayern, who had previously lost three competitive games in a row against Bayer Leverkusen (0:3), Lazio Rome (0:1) and VfL Bochum (2:3), announced that they were parting ways with Thomas Tuchel at the end of the season. The coach – after all, he is the seventh Bayern coach since 2016 – still has a contract until 2025, but an early exit was foreseeable.

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It is said that the dissonance between him and the team is too great, and the sporting performances are too inconsistent. “There is clarity, and clarity brings freedom,” said the current coach, commenting on the end at a press conference on Friday afternoon. What FC Bayern stands for was never made clear under Tuchel.

The fact that there is now clarity on the Tuchel matter plays into Eberl’s hands, the new strong man. He no longer has to clarify something in which he has no share. Although the task of finding a suitable successor is not an easy one.

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Eberl starts three days after the Leipzig game

Eberl is rested, full of energy and full of enthusiasm. In September of last year he was surprisingly released from RB Leipzig – which brings another circle full. The Saxons, who justified their decision with a “lack of commitment to the club”, were eliminated one day before the game against Bayern. Bayern will now join three days after the game against RB on Saturday evening (6.30 p.m.).

At Tegernsee, where Eberl lives with his partner Natascha Fruscella, a TV presenter, Eberl allowed himself a lot of rest after leaving RB. He went running, he practiced yoga. He has had conversations, whether on the phone or in person. He took his time. For friends, for colleagues, for yourself.

Max Eberl played 104 Bundesliga games for FC Bayern, VfL Bochum and Gladbach (right: Delron Buckley)

Source: picture-alliance/dpa/dpaweb/Achim_Scheidemann

Eberl realized how important the latter is in 2022 when he announced his resignation in January after 13 years as sports director at Borussia Mönchengladbach due to exhaustion syndrome. The former defender went on two trips. One led him through several countries, the other led him to himself with the help of a psychologist. Eberl spoke in an interview with WELT AM SONNTAG in October 2022 about a mountain that was too big and a dead end that he was in. before he finally returned to the football stage at RB Leipzig in December.

Uli Hoeneß stands up for Eberl

On this plays he now works for Bayern. Eberl is well prepared. He used the last few weeks for many meetings behind the scenes. He spoke with Herbert Hainer, the president, with Jan-Christian Dreesen, the CEO, and several times with Christoph Freund, the sports director, who will report to Eberl in the future. Freund should also be an interface to the youth and offspring; Eberl is ultimately responsible for the big picture. Eberl even sat down with Thomas Tuchel recently.

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However, he spoke and met most often with Uli Hoeneß, whose great ambition was to win Eberl for Bayern. Hoeneß was a player at Bayern, then manager, then president. He is now honorary president – ​​and still has great influence. “He is a role model for me. He is also a mentor for me,” Eberl once said about Hoeneß and let it be known that Hoeneß was always a very good contact person for him, “who really helped me.”

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Now Eberl should help Hoeneß, but above all FC Bayern. There are two mammoth tasks that he has ahead of him. The Munich team not only needs a new trainer, but also a new face for the team, where many supposed top performers have not met the demands for months.

Eberl has to reorganize the squad at FC Bayern

The highly paid star ensemble was eliminated early in the DFB Cup; in the championship, defending the title after eleven triumphs in a row and eight points behind league leaders Leverkusen twelve game days before the end of the season seems utopian. Only in the Champions League could Bayern possibly crown their season despite the defeat in the first leg of the round of 16 in Rome.

Harry Kane and FC Bayern are fighting for the Champions League quarter-finals against Lazio Rome

Source: picture alliance/dpa/Sven Hoppe

But even if this happens, Eberl will have to make forward-looking decisions in collaboration with sporting director Freund. It is important to clarify which players from the current squad you consider suitable to bring Bayern back to its old strength. The Munich team have lost games in recent years, but they were always there when it mattered – but this season they have lost exactly that strength.

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As for the 65th coach in Bayern’s history, it remains to be seen who Eberl’s choice will be. The search is ongoing – and there is already a lot of speculation. Zinedine Zidane’s name has been mentioned, Jose Mourinho’s – and Jürgen Klopp’s. Bayern have also inquired about him, who is leaving Liverpool FC in the summer. But Klopp waved it off. After nine intensive years, he is taking a sabbatical.

Xabi Alonso didn’t want to move to Gladbach

Then there is Xabi Alonso. He impresses at Bayer Leverkusen and will most likely lead the Werkself to their first championship title in the club’s history. This also makes him, who has a contract with Bayer until 2026, interesting for top international clubs.

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It should also be mentioned: Eberl and Alonso know each other. In 2021, when Eberl was still in Mönchengladbach, they had a conversation about becoming a coach at Borussia. Alonso declined and stayed at Real San Sebastian. “I still have to grow a little, improve myself to become a good coach,” Alonso said later in relation to the offer: “Who knows what the future will bring.” FC Bayern?

Follows Xabi Alonso (l.) on Thomas Tuchel

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Source: picture alliance/SVEN SIMON/Anke Waelischmiller/Sven Simon

Even a return of Julian Nagelsmann, who was at Bayern from July 2021 to March 2023, is not ruled out by insiders. Nagelsmann is currently the national coach and should try to play a good home European Championship with the German national team. But his commitment is limited until the end of the tournament.

Max Eberl is not (yet) a Bayern face

It is clear that Max Eberl has big tasks waiting for him. First of all, that is the plan, he will come to Munich alone and without a confidant, although there has recently been speculation as to whether he will be followed by Christopher Vivell (most recently technical director at Chelsea FC), Steffen Korell (head of scouting in Gladbach) or Felix Krüger possibly follow. The latter was still sports coordinator at RB under Eberl.

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As big as the tasks are, so are the expectations, flanked by skepticism. Lothar Matthäus wrote in his most recent column for Sky that in Max Eberl someone was coming to FC Bayern “who has already done an excellent job as the person responsible for sport in the Bundesliga”. But he alone is not a savior and “he is not the face of Bayern either”. There are currently “very successful people from finance” in the management team, wrote Matthäus. And rightly so, “but next to them I lack the sporting skills. Which of them won championships as players?”

Even Max Eberl has not yet succeeded. Neither as a player nor as a manager. He can lay the foundation for at least making it as an official from Tuesday.

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