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FC Bayern President Willi O. Hoffmann: He sent the pros to the Oktoberfest


With Willi O. Hoffmann, a baroque figure of FC Bayern has died. He led the club as president for six years, brought it back into the black and shaped its culture. And eventually crashed.

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Willi O. Hoffmann in a typical pose

Photo: IMAGO / Sven Simon

He has always worn the nickname with a certain pride.

They called him "Champagne-Willi", the name had been given to him by the Springer journalist Raimund Hinko, and he couldn't get rid of it because there was probably no better label for Willi O. Hoffmann.

To call the long-time official of FC Bayern, who was secretary, treasurer and president, cheerful would probably have been an understatement.

Hoffmann was a baroque figure, and not just because of his corpulence.

The bubbly actually flowed freely with him, he was someone you could imagine as a character in Helmut Dietl's "Kir Royal" about the Munich kissing society, in the classy and regular pub Käfer, with Baby Schimmerlos at the table.

Live and let live, that also includes a good champagne.

On his death on Monday at the age of 92, all the beautiful Hoffmann stories are now being revived, Hoffmann's tales.

How he invited the entire team to the Beetle after Bayern lost 3-0 in Leverkusen and then celebrated the night away with her.

Early in the morning he swore to the players that from now on they had no more games to lose.

Eleven games followed without defeat, and Bayern became champions in 1981.

Brass bands in the Olympic Stadium

How he introduced that the Bayern pros should show up at the Oktoberfest every year.

In leather trousers, of course.

Customs were important to him, the first championship under his leadership was celebrated in the stadium in traditional costume, and brass bands performed in the Olympic Stadium under his presidency.

At home games, he liked to wear a traditional hat with a gamsbart.

He wore the "O." for Otto in his name in reminiscence of the Bavarian Prince Otto, who later became King of Greece.

Patrona Bavariae.

In 1979, Hoffmann took over as head of the club, when he was already an experienced member of the board and had been the club's treasurer for 16 years.

In this situation, it probably needed someone who already knew the club well, 1979 was the club's crisis year.

The players, led by Paul Breitner, had revolted against the almighty club boss Wilhelm Neudecker, because he wanted to put the unloved coach Max Merkel in front of them.

Neudecker was so outraged by so much insult to majesty that he threw down the chunk that Bayern, at that time also only upper mediocrity in terms of sport, urgently needed a fresh start.

Willi O. Hoffmann made sure of that.

Not only the president was new at the time, Hoffmann installed the young Uli Hoeneß as manager and the previous assistant coach Pàl Csernai as head coach, from now on a different wind was blowing on Säbener Straße.

Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge were in charge on the pitch, Hoffmann and Hoeneß took care of the rest. After the great years with Maier, Beckenbauer, Müller and Schwarzenbeck, FC Bayern was almost imperceptibly slipping.

A 7:1 in Mönchengladbach

Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1. FC Köln were the big numbers in Germany.

Hoffmann and Hoeneß, who was bursting with ambition, could not bear that.

They put the club on a new footing, sportingly, economically, socially.

From now on, FC Bayern became the big FC Bayern.

Basically it has remained so to this day.

Hoffmann can be described as the inventor of »Mia san mia«, a forerunner of Edmund Stoiber's ideal of a laptop and lederhosen.

Bayern played the first game after the great upheaval in Mönchengladbach of all places, the great rival of this decade.

Bayern won 7-1 at Bökelberg and were already 5-1 at half-time.

Then there was the first party night in the Käfer.

Hoffmann was president for six years when he took office while FC Bayern was still in debt.

That changed with the sale of Rummenigges to Inter Milan, after which the balance sheet was positive.

The establishment of the famous fixed-term deposit account began, with which the Bavarians still proliferate today.

But Hoffmann also took care of other things: he wanted to make the basketball department big, a suggestion that Hoeneß only took up again decades later on a grand scale, he promoted the chess department, the Christmas party was spiced up as a social event with Udo Jürgens, Al Martino and Hugo Strasser's dance orchestra.

He brought Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt on board as club doctor and made Markus Hörwick press spokesman, two figures who from then on were to stand for the club's rise for decades.

He wanted to turn the Bundesliga into the Super League

The fact that Hoffmann raved in a SPIEGEL interview in 1984 about the fact that the Bundesliga had to be completely restructured according to the US model, without promotion and relegation, a closed shop with a maximum of 14 clubs organized as joint stock companies, is also remembered.

His vision of wanting to make Bayern the German Real Madrid fits in with this.

Hoffmann wanted to transfer Michel Platini and Bernd Schuster to Munich, but it was Lothar Matthäus.

1985 was the end of the pouring champagne, the parties, the nights in the Beetle - Hoffmann, who had financed his lifestyle including a villa in Bogenhausen with real estate transactions, had gotten into trouble professionally.

He overreached himself, had to sell several hotels he had acquired and finally filed for bankruptcy.

The Bavarians became more and more successful, but the president fell financially.

On October 9, 1985, badly injured, he resigned from the post of club president.

Hoffmann didn't really get back on his feet after that either, he dealt with unfavorable client models and was fined in 1991, and then later sentenced to suspended imprisonment for tax evasion.

The downside of the Munich Bussi model, so to speak, where you don't look too closely at how the deals came about as long as the shop is running and the champagne bottle is uncorked.

"Football is like music," Hoffmann told Kicker at a meeting a few years ago.

And sometimes football is like champagne.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-08-10

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