In the summer of 2008, Bayern Munich was searching for a replacement for manager, Ottmar Hitzfeld. The legendary club was in the midst of a crisis (at least by their standards) having not won the league by double digit points in several seasons.
Casting about for worthy successor, two candidates to enter the final rounds of deliberation were Jürgen Klinsmann, who had most recently ended a relatively successful spell as German national manager, and one Jürgen Norbert Klopp, who at the time was bossing Bundesliga upstarts, Mainz.
Bayern supremo, Uli Hoeness was so impressed by Klopp’s obvious talent the he nearly chose the first time manager to fill the vacant post, only developing cold feet in the eleventh hour:
“Several years ago, we once had already agreed to terms of collaborating, before we signed Jürgen Klinsmann,” Hoeness said recently speaking to German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Hindsight proved Bayern to have clearly picked the wrong Jürgen—what with Klinsmann not even lasting a single season, while Klopp went on to dethrone the Bavarian giants in back-to-back campaigns as manager at Borussia Dortmund.
The German club have since attempted to learn from the past, going with another young, progressive manager, Niko Kovac, in their most recent appointment. They will face off against Liverpool and the manager they once admired in Klopp when Bayern visit Anfield next Tuesday, however Hoeness was adamant that there is no regret about what could’ve been:
“We’re not thinking about [missing out on Klopp managing Bayern] today. We have a coach with whom we are very satisfied. The team is developing very well at the moment. We live in the here and now, and that’s where we should leave things.”
Right. But I bet more than a few past and present Bayern players wouldn’t have minded playing under a manager Germans have voted the best in football.
Yeah, well tough shit, goliath.