Dietmar Hamann turned out for heavyweights Bayern Munich and Liverpool during a hugely successful playing career, which saw him win the Bundesliga, the German Cup, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup, amongst other honours.

Hamann also won 59 caps for Germany and played in a World Cup final. He keeps a close eye on events in both the Bundesliga and the Premier League. We caught up with Hamann to speak about Bayern Munich, Xabi Alonso, Liverpool and more.





Inside Futbol (IF): You won the Bundesliga when you were at Bayern Munich, but in recent years, with the exception of this year, Bayern Munich have just dominated on a yearly basis. Why do you think that is? Do you think the 50+1 rule could have something to do with it?


Dietmar Hamann (DH): Well, the reason they don’t win it this year is because when [Thomas] Tuchel came last season results didn’t improve and the football didn’t improve. They won the league by default because Dortmund didn’t manage to beat Mainz in the last game of the season,[Jamal] Musiala scored the late winner and they ended up winning the league.


It kind of started…it started badly this year because they had a few issues. They obviously changed the director of football in [Hasan] Salihamidzic, CEO [Oliver] Kahn had to leave, so they had new people there. There was a lot of unrest within, at board level [which] also trickled down to the team and it was never – I think Tuchel knew pretty early that Bayern Munich is not for him.


It’s a different club, it’s a special club and it just didn’t work out. Yes, they brought Kim [Min-jae] in, they brought [Harry] Kane in, but they just bumped into a tremendous team that is yet to lose and we are in March now. They won all their games bar two draws in the league and it’s almost impossible to get more points than Leverkusen at the moment, so they come up short this year for the first time in ten or eleven years.


50+1 rule, there is a lot of talk now because the league wanted to bring an investor in, the fans were against it, so at the moment it’s on hold. I don’t think there is anything happening with the 50+1 rule in the foreseeable future, but it’s on the stage. If it goes to a proper court, there might be a different decision, yes.  





IF: With the managerial situation at Bayern, it seems they are having a lot of coaches for a shorter period at the moment. Do you think that is an issue, do they need to plan more long term, or do you think it is just the choice of managers that they have had?



DH: Well, they made a decision last week to finish with Tuchel in the summer, even though he has got a year left, which I felt was a strange decision because if they don’t feel he is the right man next season why should he be the right man now?


And I think a lot of it was based on hope. They were hoping that things would get better, and the team knows that he is going, but things didn’t get better. The football is as bad as it was before and now he is playing again against Lazio.


Regardless of what happens against Lazio on Tuesday [Bayern Munich won 3-0, ed.], we might see a change. I’m sure they have approached people, but they felt they don’t want to bring anyone in for two or three months, which I find strange, but you know that’s the decision they made.


Obviously they are working hard now to bring someone in in the summer. [Xabi] Alonso is the number one candidate, whether he is going to stay, whether he is going to Liverpool or whether he is going to Munich remains to be seen.





IF: I wanted to ask about Alonso because obviously Liverpool have spoken to his agent and I assume that Bayern Munich have probably also spoken to his agent.


DH: Yes, 100%.



IF: If he has got the straight choice between the two of them, do you think he will lean one way or the other, or do you think it will come down to the project? 







DH: Well, it’s a tough one. I wouldn’t rule out that he stays at Leverkusen because he has built the team there and as I said they are yet to lose a game in March. I think if they stay together the way they are and if he announces that he is going to stay I can see all the players staying another season as well. Because there might be some that want to leave in the summer, but he stays they might stay as well. I think they have a chance in the Champions League next season the way they play.


The other two clubs, Liverpool to follow [Jurgen] Klopp – not an easy thing to do. You have seen what happened at [Manchester] United, you have seen what happened at Arsenal. They used quite a lot of managers when these two, [Arsene] Wenger and [Sir Alex] Ferguson, left. It’s not an easy thing to do. If anyone can do it I think it will be Xabi. I think he’s smart enough, I think he’s good enough to do that, but it’s always a risk following Klopp.





At Munich there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment. The only thing I would say what might be a trump card for Bayern Munich, they don’t mind spending money. If he says: “I want three or four players, I want these players”, I think they probably wouldn’t do it for any other manager. But I think to bring Xabi here they would go the extra yard and they would probably bring players in. Because usually in Munich, the club buys the players and the manager tends to work with them.


For Xabi or with Xabi, I’m pretty sure if he says “I want these three or four players, otherwise I won’t come” they will try everything or they will bring these players in to make sure he joins Bayern Munich. Because if they don’t get him this summer there is not an awful lot of managers out there and I think it’ll be a hard find for anyone.




IF: Do you think Alonso is the kind of manager worth waiting for? Some Liverpool fans have suggested they could bring in someone for the short term if Alonso wants to do another year at Leverkusen, so a safe pair of hands?


DH: Yes, it’s an option, but then again you need an agreement for next season. I’m not sure whether he commits now to come in the summer of 2025. Yes, if he says I want to stay another season but I come in 2025, you will obviously bring somebody in for a season and I’m sure it’ll work out, even though it’s a situation we have never really had to bring somebody in, pretty much a caretaker for a whole season.


Yes, I think he is good enough, I think he is big enough with what he has done at Leverkusen, that if he decides to do that you have got to wait for him, but at the same time, if he stayed at Leverkusen, I can’t see him committing for [the] next season [2025]. I think that is a scenario that [he] might realise, but I can’t really see that happening. 







IF: Maybe there would only one man Liverpool could bring in then as caretaker – Rafael Benitez, surely.


DH: [laughs] Yes, he is not having the best of times in Celta Vigo at the moment. I’m not sure after going to Everton, I’m not sure whether one or two fans will think differently now.



IF: Well, he took an interim job at Chelsea.


DH: I know, I know, yes, 100%. And he has done well with them. You know, he got a lot of stick. I think he is brilliant manager, I have not seen him for a bit now, but I think he is brilliant. I don’t think he has lost any of his powers, so I hope we will see him at a big club again and hopefully we will see him in the Champions League again.



IF: He only spent £1.7M at Everton, didn’t he, and then they got rid of him in the January window, so it wasn’t really fair at the time.


DH: Yes, absolutely.





IF: Still on the subject of Liverpool, it has been said that the owners Fenway Sports Group are going to put data at the heart of when they appoint a new manager, looking at various statistics. Do you think that there is anything else a Liverpool manager should have? Something extra that goes beyond the data, that the data could sort of miss out on?



DH: Well, I think you need to understand the club. If you understand the club I think you have got a chance. And obviously data won’t show you if somebody has empathy, if somebody can build a connection with the players. That’s what Klopp did at Mainz, that’s what he did at Dortmund, that’s what he did at Liverpool and this is why he is loved, this is why he is adored. I think using data when it’s there is not a bad thing, but I don’t think you should base a decision like this one on data. No.



IF: There is a lot of talk that [Mohamed] Salah will be going to Saudi Arabia this summer. Some people say that contracts have already been signed, although that is being denied. When it comes to replacing Salah, do you think there is anyone who could replace him, or do you think Liverpool need to look to spread his goals around or his influence around if he does go out the door?



DH: I think it’s almost impossible because if you look, you know, you always compare his goals a season to Ian Rush and Michael Owen or [John] Aldridge. You know these guys were centre forwards, and he averages pretty much the same numbers as these guys, and he is not [a centre forward].




You know he has been at the club now for eight or nine or ten years. I think he hasn’t missed five games in that period of time. And that is something in the modern game, you don’t really see it, because forwards, obviously they have got pace, they have got quick fibre muscles. You get the odd muscle injury or you get kicked a lot. He never misses a game, always delivers and when he wasn’t there he was at the African Cup of Nations, and he had an injury as well.


If you need a goal in big games he is probably the only one where you would say “He’ll get you a goal”. And I think this is why he is almost irreplaceable. There are some players out there, I don’t know who is linked. There was talk about I think [Bukayo] Saka last year, who is a brilliant player as well, but I think to average the numbers he did over the last eight or nine years is almost impossible.





IF: One player who has been linked, and who you probably know quite a bit about, is Stuttgart striker [Serhou] Guirassy. What are your impressions of him? Do you think he could adapt to the Premier League or does he just sort of have this kind of wonderful season that is not really typical of his level?



DH: I think he’ll back it up because he scored goals last season. He had an injury and that kept him out, and this is why the team got in trouble. Brilliant player, but he is a centre forward, so he can’t or he won’t play on the wing where Salah plays and you have got [Darwin] Nunez. Nunez is coming into his own at the moment.


Yes, I think Guirassy, I think he’d do a job for most Premier League clubs. I think he is a brilliant player and I think he’d score goals in the Premier League; whether he wants to go to Liverpool as a back-up I’m not too sure.



IF: And if you were Stuttgart then, who would be more important to keep hold of? Guirassy or the player on loan from Brighton, Undav? Well, they haven’t got him, but he is expensive to keep.



DH: Well, they play together. He is, yes, he is [expensive] and I think Guirassy is likely to leave the club. But I think Undav is probably going to stay.


If it was me, hmm, it’s very hard to say, but Undav has done so well and they also play together, which is very uncommon in the modern game that they play with two centre forwards. I’d find it hard. If I had to keep one, or if I could only keep one, I would probably keep Guirassy, I have got to say. But they are both brilliant players.





Inside Futbol spoke to Hamann with BoyleSports, who offer the latest Premier League odds.