Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga title celebrations were quickly overshadowed by the fallout from the club’s decision to fire former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidžić from their positions as top executives.
Bayern secured the German championship in the final minutes of the season on Saturday with Jamal Musiala securing a 2-1 win over Cologne with a late goal for the team to finish ahead of Borussia Dortmund on goal difference.
Shortly afterward, the club announced its supervisory board had decided to fire Kahn as chief executive and Salihamidžić as sporting director with immediate effect.
“Instead of celebrating, now we have the next issue,” Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel said.
Both Kahn and Salihamidžić had been under pressure following Bayern’s dip in form this season. The Bundesliga title race was the closest in years after Bayern had comfortably won the previous 10, while there were quarterfinal exits in both the Champions League and German Cup.
Club president Herbert Hainer later said the decision to fire the two men was made Friday — before the team’s unexpected Bundesliga success.
Dortmund were leading by two points going into the final round and just needed to beat Mainz at home Saturday to be sure of becoming German champions. Instead, they only drew 2-2.
Salihamidžić was in Cologne for Bayern’s final game, but Kahn didn’t travel.
“I wasn’t allowed by the club,” Kahn wrote on Twitter, contradicting the club’s claim that he missed the game on doctor’s orders.
Tuchel seemed shocked by the club’s decision to fire the men who had brought him to the club as Julian Nagelsmann’s replacement in March.
“I knew about it since yesterday. The two were largely responsible for the fact we went on this journey together. That’s why I have to process it now,” Tuchel said after his team’s win. “But I’m assuming that I’ll continue on my path at Bayern.”
Bayern said supervisory board vice-chairman Jan-Christian Dreesen will take over as CEO from Kahn, while a successor for Salihamidžić still needs to be found.
“The club had the feeling that they had to do something,” Bayern veteran Thomas Müller said, “That’s what we were told and that’s what they’ve now decided.”
Kahn, a former Germany goalkeeper and Bayern captain, returned to the club in 2020 on a 5-year contract, initially as a member of the supervisory board before taking over in 2022 from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as chairman and CEO.
Kahn joined Bayern from Karlsruher SC in 1994 and went on to win eight Bundesliga titles, six German Cups, and the Champions League in 2001. Salihamidžić was his teammate for six of those league titles and four in the cup.
Kahn made 86 appearances for Germany, winning the European Championship in 1996 and finishing World Cup runner-up in 2002. He was named the world’s best goalkeeper three times, European goalkeeper of the year four times and German footballer of the year twice.
Salihamidžić became Bayern’s sporting director in 2017.
“I would have liked to keep going because I really want to win the Champions League again with this team,” Salihamidžić said.
Bayern have called a press conference for Sunday to explain the decision to fire the two men.