“His behavior does not help in any way”

The dispute about the future of Alaba and Thiago is raging at Bayern. Allegedly it’s about millions – but that’s not the whole truth. | A column by Stefan Effenberg

If Uli Hoeneß gives an interview, there is always the risk that something like this will come out of it like last Sunday: He called the advisor a “greedy piranha” by Bayern players David Alaba, Pini Zahavi (77), in the “one-two” at Sport 1 – and poured fuel on the fire with his statements about the stalled contract negotiations. Uli is Uli – and that’s a good thing. But of course his behavior does not make the situation any easier. Neither for that FC Bayern nor for David Alaba.

The crucial sentence from Alaba

Instead, the dispute before the Bundesliga start on Friday against FC Schalke (from 8.30 p.m. in the live ticker at t-online) will now be played on the player’s back and not on the advisor’s. And the player cannot put up with everything. Because that’s not how you treat a player.

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The decisive sentence from Alaba then was this: “A few statements and reports of the last few weeks have amazed me and also hurt me.” Of course, he primarily means Hoeneß. Alaba’s mind games will at least have received new nourishment. He will ask himself a few questions that he may have already seen answered: Does my club share the assessment of my worth? Should I think about a change because I’ve already achieved everything with FC Bayern?

It’s not about two or three million euros

Now there is also the alleged demand for an annual salary in excess of 20 million euros. And that puts Bavaria in a bind. Is the association responding to the claims and breaking the salary structure? Then the advisors of the other players are at the door on the same day and also demand more money. Or will the club stick to its offer and risk that Alaba will leave the club after all?

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This is all the more annoying because, from my point of view, it’s not about two or three million euros annual salary, but about respect and appreciation. Similar to Manuel Neuer last. After much back and forth, he extended his contract.

The Thiago case is similar

Will there be a happy ending at Alaba? One can at least doubt that. The contract negotiations are definitely in a dead end – and Uli Hoeneß has made a major contribution to this.

In all of these discussions, I have to say: the whole rumble gets on your nerves. The case Thiago is similarly stored. A move to England has been discussed and speculated for weeks after Bayern had presented him with a contract that was ready to be signed. It is legitimate to say that you want to do something different. However, Thiago recently said again that he had never forced a farewell – and is currently training as if nothing had happened.

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As a player, I have to know what I want

I don’t know what games are being played, but it can’t be that difficult to make a decision. As a player, I have to know: Do I want to stay with my club and extend it? Do I want to leave the club – preferably today? Or do I want to fulfill my contract and then try something new again?

It usually took me five minutes to sign my contracts. Sometimes I didn’t have an advisor either. We sat down briefly in the hotel lobby during the training camp to extend a contract with Bavaria. Then everything was signed.

The greatest sufferer is the trainer

This rumbling gets on the fans’ nerves too. And the biggest sufferer is coach Hansi Flick. He doesn’t know who he can really build on this season or what his axle looks like. It’s not about unimportant players, but about very decisive ones.

For Flick, a lot depends on the decisions made by Alaba or Thiago – for example the question of whether and when he will get reinforcements.

Especially since the expectations for the season are huge.

Even without Messi, Bavaria has enough construction sites

And that is exactly a problem. There is no higher level than that at which FC Bayern moved in the final phase of last season and with which they won the triple. You can’t play better with Messi or Ronaldo either. On the contrary. Bayern did everything right by relegating efforts to transfer Messi into the realm of fable early on. You have such a strong team. With Messi, you destroy everything – the hierarchy, the pay structure. You have to be careful not to undermine all of this with a transfer.

And even without Messi, FC Bayern already has one or two construction sites – or even major construction sites.

BVB has incredible potential

That’s not the only reason I definitely see the possibility that Borussia Dortmund can achieve something great and become champions. Of course, Bavaria is still hungry and also a top favorite. But Dortmund has once again made excellent purchases, held two top stars with Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland and also did everything right by holding on to coach Lucien Favre. Marco Reus is fit again, which makes me happy for him – and he will have the crystal clear goal of becoming champions with BVB.

Back on the field: the last injured BVB captain Marco Reus.  (Source: imago images / Laci Perenyi)Back on the field: the last injured BVB captain Marco Reus. (Source: Laci Perenyi / imago images)

In short: Dortmund has incredible potential. New addition Jude Bellingham is a great gem and not the first. Sancho, Haaland, Giovanni Reyna – no other club has so many talents to offer and therefore such a high value, also financially.

So Bayern and Dortmund will probably make the championship among themselves – but what is the rest of the league doing? I’m extremely curious to see how Leverkusen will handle the departures of Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland – and Leipzig that of Timo Werner. Other big clubs will certainly have to look down: With Vedad Ibisevic and Goncalo Paciencia, FC Schalke only have two well-known newcomers, one of whom is still at the end of his career at 36. Cologne is always a candidate for relegation and the promoted Stuttgart and Bielefeld will also fight for relegation.

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