BERLIN, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) — Optimism and anticipation couldn’t be higher when it comes to Oliver Kahn. Ahead of Bayern Munich’s Champions League final against Paris St Germain this Sunday evening, the 51-year-old sees his side on the doorstep of a new golden era.
“This team is driven by the determination always to improve and after all success comes the next step,” the Bavarians designated chairman said.
For good reason, the statesman-like Kahn praised his pitch performers for their passion, team spirit, speed, game approach and mindset in a keynote speech.
The 2013 treble-winning club is convinced that it has successfully overcome a problematic generation change after its last European triumph seven years ago.
For quite some time, the Munich club seemed to struggle in its attempt to replace super-stars such as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
Rejuvenation took a while with all the ups and downs that naturally come with major changes.
If there is anyone in football that has experienced painful setbacks and huge successes, it is him.
The 51-year-old survived darkest hours, such as the tragic loss of the 1999 Champions League final against Manchester United with Bayern letting in two goals in the dying minutes.
His brave saves helped the club win the 2001 Champions League and he donned a German jersey on 86 occasions. “Our confidence has never been greater that we can win the trophy,” the former goalkeeper said.
Kahn’s confidence is based on the club’s new faces, including coach Hansi Flick.
Team and coach have understood that development and improvement is an ongoing process. To never stand still and surrender has been something he always felt addicted to.
Kahn sees Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Niklas Suele, Alphonso Davies, and next season’s new arrival Leroy Sane as following the same spirit.
“A team needs to learn to get over difficult situations and deal with setbacks. And, they do,” he said. Instead of celebrating Kimmich, Mueller and Goretzka sat together after beating Lyon in the semifinals and discussed the mistakes and possible solutions.
Kahn knows that life at the top can be tough. Obsession is one of his favorite characteristics. He noticed comments of his players such as Kimmich and Manuel Neuer.
German international Kimmich demands precisely what Kahn has always lived for. The 25-year-old underlined the need of the club’s young generation to add titles to their statements that they want to fill the gap.
Kahn feels comfortable with Neuer’s talk that the 2020 Bayern squad is the better one than in 2013. “That time we had 11 top-class performers, now we have 18 and more. It is a pleasure to experience that,” Neuer commented.
Gnabry is talking about the team’s greediness by underlining: “We want it no matter what.” 42 goals in 10 wins might tell the story. Kahn’s confidence isn’t limited to Sunday’s final but the future of the Bavarian’s team and club generally.
Gaining income of 130 million euro’s out of this season’s Champions League campaign is securing the side’s financial options but seems to ensure Bayern’s position among Europe’s leading clubs in times of the Covid-19 crisis.
Combining boundless ambition with first-class skills “is what makes this team outstandingly successful.” You can always lose a final Kahn added.
“But you don’t talk about it in advance. The only thing in your mind is to stand up again and strike back as long as you haven’t heard the final whistle.”