Change should be promoted: Max Eberl – that’s what the new sports director brings to FC Bayern

As of: February 26, 2024 7:05 p.m

Max Eberl completes FC Bayern’s management team. The 50-year-old is considered Honorary President Uli Hoeneß’s preferred candidate – and has some qualities that the people of Munich are currently missing.

What takes a long time is finally good: Max Eberl starts the job on March 1st, which he was actually supposed to do for half an eternity. The 50-year-old from Lower Bavaria is the new sports director of FC Bayern. The collaboration between these parties had been announced for years – now it is actually official.

Max Eberl: From the FC Bayern youth team to professional football

The rumors were always persistent. FC Bayern wanted to guide Max Eberl to FC Bayern. And Uli Hoeneß never really tried to refute this. The former president of the German record champions regularly praised the work of the ex-professional. And so it was a fairly open secret that Hoeneß actually wanted to entrust Eberl with his inheritance when he and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge retired from active day-to-day business.

Eberl, who moved to FC Bayern at the age of six, received his football training there and even made his professional debut. After his active career, he started as a youth coordinator at Borussia Mönchengladbach and worked his way up to sports director there. As such, he led Gladbach into the Champions League with intelligent transfers and a good team composition, quickly earned a good reputation – and aroused the interest of Hoeneß and FC Bayern.

Max Eberl will be officially introduced on Tuesday, 11 a.m. BR24Sport shows the press conference with the new sports director in a live stream.

Expensive Bug fix: Over 15 million for severance pay

But Eberl resisted the Munich team’s initial courting. Hasan Salihamidzic and Oliver Kahn took over responsibility in Munich. “A mistake,” as Hoeneß would later say after the spectacular dismissal of the two officials – especially with regard to Kahn.

Leipzig’s CEO Oliver Mintzlaff also called Eberl’s signing a “mistake”. After his emotional farewell from Gladbach due to fatigue syndrome, the Bundesliga club signed Eberl. He did an excellent job in sports in Leipzig and once again demonstrated a good hand when it came to transfers – but he didn’t respond decisively enough to the ongoing rumors about FC Bayern’s interest, according to Mintzlaff’s taste.

And in retrospect, Eberl is also likely to classify his signature on the working paper at Rasenballsport as a mistake. FC Bayern is said to have paid Leipzig five million euros to compensate for this. Together with the severance payments that the club is said to have paid to Kahn and Salihamidzic, correcting the error cost the Munich team around 16 million euros.

Dante, Reus and Simons: Eberl is considered Transfer expert

So not a cheap undertaking. But it is not difficult to understand why the Munich team wanted to give Eberl the sporting responsibility. The 50-year-old is said to have an excellent knack for playing commitments: Dante, Marco Reus, Granit Xhaka, Christoph Kramer, Max Kruse, Lars Stindl, Matthias Ginter. The list of his successful transfers in Gladbach is long. In addition, homegrown players Tony Jantschke, Marc-André ter Stegen and Patrick Herrmann made their breakthrough during Eberl’s tenure. And in Leipzig, Loïs Openda and Xavi Simons, among others, immediately made an impact.

Friend: “Always had a good exchange”

The hope is that Eberl complements himself well with sports director Christoph Freund, who only came to the Isar from RB Salzburg in the summer. Freund also has a knack for young players, an eye for talent and the desire to support his own youth players. “We have known each other for a long time and had already dealt with each other during the transfers of Martin Hinteregger and Stefan Lainer when he was in Gladbach. Max has been in the business for a long time and has a lot of experience. We always had a good exchange,” said Freund in November about the man who is now officially his new boss.

With the duo, the Munich team has two experienced sports officials who – unlike their predecessors Kahn and Salihamidzic – are very familiar with the business side of football and have a lot of experience in negotiating large transfers.

Eberl and the important coaching question

Eberl has to demonstrate this expertise immediately after his arrival. After the premature separation from coach Thomas Tuchel, which will be completed in the summer at the latest, FC Bayern absolutely needs a coach who suits the club and team. Seven coaches in eight years are not what the record champions want. There needs to be continuity with the club’s most important employee.

In contrast to his player transfers, Eberl was not always right in his coaching decisions. He promoted André Schubert and stuck with him for a long time, despite the lack of success. The expensive poaching of the then Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter also turned out to be a misunderstanding in retrospect. On the other hand, he brought successful coach Lucien Favre to Borussia and, despite his sporting success, replaced Dieter Hecking with Marco Rose. A step that Eberl described as “the most difficult decision of my managerial career”.

The FC Bayern squad is in transition

Eberl has to get used to that. Because decisions that he has to make at FC Bayern regularly have the potential to escalate into matters of state. With the contracts of Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sané and Alphonso Davies expiring in 2025, groundbreaking discussions are taking place with key Munich players. The squad is in a state of upheaval. Not only because the careers of club legends Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer are coming to an end, but also because the squad structure has not seemed entirely consistent for years.

A consequence of the indecisive course that FC Bayern’s management team is responsible for in its changing constellation. Here too, Eberl should bring continuity – perhaps the most difficult task for the 50-year-old. Because, as the past few seasons have impressively proven, managers at FC Bayern have to walk a fine line between their own vision and the favor of the club’s higher-ups around Uli Hoeneß if they want to prove themselves in Munich.

The Freund-Eberl duo has explosive power

A key to success could be Eberl’s media competence. Especially at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Lower Bavarian often acted as the club’s mouthpiece. A task that the Munich team has left almost entirely to their coaches since Hoeneß’s withdrawal. In addition to their coaching duties, Thomas Tuchel and his predecessor Julian Nagelsmann often had the task of publicly commenting on complicated club matters without support from officials. Eberl could at least partially take over this in the future.

Success is not set in stone with Eberl’s personality. There are definitely concerns that come with personnel. Also because Eberl’s new, most important employee, Freund, didn’t necessarily react euphorically in the summer when the Eberl rumors got a breath of fresh air after his departure from Leipzig. And so far the two have met on equal terms in negotiations, now Eberl is the superior and will need a lot of tact to keep this relationship intact.

Arrival at the new and old home

Luckily for Eberl, this is one of the great strengths of the new sports director at FC Bayern. At Borussia Mönchengladbach he was considered an extremely popular manager, which also fits with the family image of the record champions.

But now Eberl has to get to Munich first. He doesn’t have too much time for that. After all, not only are the crucial weeks of the season coming up, the search for a coach, but also a groundbreaking transfer period and perhaps the biggest upheaval of the past 20 years. It’s a good thing that Eberl knows Säbener Straße very well from his time as a youth player. Even though a lot has changed there since 1994. At that time he left FC Bayern after 15 years for VfL Bochum. It would be a success for everyone involved if his second term in Munich lasted as long.