When he played football, the Berlin Wall was still not broken and the Cold War devoured Europe and the rest of the world. German Football gained popularity worldwide as West Germany while their neighbours, the communist Eastern zone, remained behind the Red Curtains.
In the mid-80s, West Germany was in a rebuilding process under the great Franz Beckenbauer. There was an influx of talented players amid, which someone named Hans-Dieter Flick failed to showcase his talent as a footballer. Even in club football, he was an unknown figure – just a decent player.
As a player, he was a midfielder who played 104 matches for Bayern Munich and scored five goals between 1985 and 1990. He later played 44 matches for Koln before retiring from professional football in 1993 due to injuries. His last spell as a footballer was with Victoria Bammental from 1994 until 2000.
He never played for the German National Team, but he made two appearances for the Germany under-18 team, in the group stage of the 1983 UEFA European Under-18 Championship on 15 and 17 May 1983, in a 1–0 win over Sweden and in a 3–1 win over Bulgaria, respectively.
Flick’s managerial career began in 1996 as player-manager of Viktoria Bammental, which was playing in the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg at that time. At the end of the 1998-99 season, the club was relegated to the Verbandsliga Baden, but Flick remained their coach for one more season.
In July 2000, he became a manager of the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg side 1899 Hoffenheim, winning the league and gaining promotion to the Regionalliga Süd in his first season at the club. After four unsuccessful attempts to reach the 2. Bundesliga, he was released from duties on 19 November 2005.
Flick then worked briefly as an assistant of Giovanni Trapattoni and Lothar Matthäus and sporting coordinator at Red Bull Salzburg.
Flick stated that his work under Trapattoni, one of the world’s most renowned managers, taught him many things, especially on tactics and in developing relations with players, but also said that he disagreed with Trapattoni’s defence-first approach.
He was named the assistant coach for Germany on August 23, 2006.
Although not listed as an officially recognized manager by the Officials of German Football, due to the sending off of Joachim Low in the previous game, Flick was technically the German manager for the UEFA Euro 2008 quarterfinal against Portugal, which ended in a 3–2 win for Germany.
After finishing second at the UEFA Euro 2008 and third at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he reached the semi-finals at the UEFA Euro 2012 and won the 2014 FIFA World Cup as assistant coach of Germany. He became the sporting director at the German Football Association after the 2014 World Cup until January 16, 2017.
On July 1, 2019, he joined Bayern Munich as an assistant coach, under the management of Niko Kovac.
Bayern Munich as a club was not having a rosy period under Kovac. They were losing their cutting edge and dynamism each day and looked rudderless as they capitulated 5-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt back in November. Morale was shot, Bayern’s rivals looked strong, and Niko Kovac was shown the door.
It was a telling blow to the self-respect of such giant club, who, all of a sudden, lost their way in the ocean and it seemed their ship was sinking.
Flick was promoted to the interim manager position. Flick was expected to just steady the floundering behemoth of German football before a long-term coaching solution was found. Instead, he miraculously transformed Bayern into Europe’s best club side.
In his first match in charge, Bayern defeated Olympiacos 2–0 in the UEFA Champions League group stage on 6 November 2019. After a satisfying spell as the interim coach, Bayern announced on December 22, 2019, that Flick will remain manager until the end of the season.
Neither anyone even thought of a Bayern resurgence arriving with such venom, nor anyone predicted the delightful style with which it would be delivered.
Neither the fans nor the experts thought of such a brilliant managerial debut back in November 2019.
After ten months – Flick is regarded as the master who changed Bayern Munich and brought back the respect they deserve.
Bayern looked rudderless as they capitulated 5-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt in November. The respect was gone. Niko Kovac was shown the doors. Hansi Flick took over like Zidane in 2015-16. Zidane changed Real while Flick changed Bayern. He revived the #MiaSanMia way. Massive respect. pic.twitter.com/MDokQlKGWl
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) August 24, 2020
The signs were there when he masterminded a 4-0 rout against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in his first match on the sidelines. He not only returned Bayern to winning ways, but he also did it the Mia san Mia way — a necessity for the club’s hierarchy and its most ardent supporters.
High-octane pressing, smart, short passing, coolness in playing out from the back, productive possession, and lightning-quick transitions to hurt teams on the counterattack became Bayern staples. It was frightening to watch as Bayern tore teams to pieces — both at home and abroad.
Before Flick, it seemed that the careers of Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, and Jerome Boateng were over while the likes of Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies would not flourish further.
But Flick not only revived the careers of the old guards but brought the best out of the young guns.
Hansi Flick since taking over at Bayern Munich
100 goals scored/26 goals conceded
DFB Pokal? pic.twitter.com/jyL9QQGO1P
— Soccerzela (@soccerzela) August 24, 2020
Muller has been an absolute revolution under Flick – he was given the Raumdeuter role, which he relishes the most. Muller became deadlier than ever while Neuer and Boateng were freed from the shackles of being pragmatic – both of them displayed their brilliance in the last 10 months.
Joshua Kimmich was handed his favored role in midfield full-time and Alphonso Davies was given the opportunity to develop into the world’s most dangerous left-back.
Trust in his players to implement his demanding tactics and trust in his team to make changes independently during matches where a fresh impetus was necessary.
Flick’s man-management is fantastic and is perhaps only matched Europe-wide by the players in Liverpool have experienced under Jurgen Klopp.
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge summed it up when Flick signed a three-year deal to be the head coach in April, “For many years now, Bayern have stood for possession, dominance on the ball, a strong positional game and lots of goals. Hansi Flick has brought that philosophy back.”
The ingredients were all there for Bayern Munich.
They needed someone to make the right use of those.
Flick found the right method and motivation – Bayern Munich have achieved the treble again!