The grave injustice to Hansi Flick as he didn’t win the best manager award despite his rare feat

Josip Brajković Josip Brajković    Published: 16. siječnja 2021.
The grave injustice to Hansi Flick as he didn’t win the best manager award despite his rare feat

In the history of European football, only eight managers won the continental treble with Hans Dieter Flick becoming the ninth last season with Bayern Munich. It was an amazing feat to go in the steps of names like Sir Alex Ferguson and Jupp Heynckes. Hansi also managed to get his player Robert Lewandowski to win the best player award, Manual Neuer the best goalkeeper award.

Furthermore, Hansi's team had three players with double digits in both assists and goals - Thomas Muller, Lewandowski, and Serge Gnabry. With Philippe Coutinho, Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman, and Ivan Perisic all close too. Last season also saw the team score 100 goals i in the league with a goal difference of +68.

Yet a treble, plus two other trophies weren't enough for the German manager to win the FIFA award for the best manager. One of the greatest injustices in recent history when it comes to individual awards.

In their essence, the trophies that are awarded, not won like for instance the Golden Shoe that is not a popularity contest but a numbers game, have smaller than perceived value. Yet, everyone thought that Flick was a lock for the award, even the man who received it actually.

Flick's compatriot Jurgen Klopp won the award for winning the league with Liverpool after 30 years. Yet even he was surprised at the outcome of the award ceremony and when he was reminded that he is officially the Best FIFA Men's Coach, Klopp replied humbly.

"I'm not but I won the award, so that's good enough," said the charismatic manager.

Klopp was thinking of Hansi Flick's success and for him, there was no doubt that the Bayern boss will get it.

"I didn't expect it, not at all, I thought Hansi Flick won pretty much everything in the last year and that that would be the case. I don't know why people voted for me. Flick deserved it for his titles."

While the European treble is a success that should automatically bring such an award, considering how elite the crowd of men who did it is, the manner in which Hansi did it is even more impressive.

Before taking the reigns at Bayern Munich and leading them to their second treble in history, Flick wasn't a manager for nearly 15 years! Even when he was the last time, at Hoffenheim, it was in the lower ranks, reaching the third league but never the second.

From then on, Flick was working as an assistant, first at Red Bull Salzburg to Giovanni Trapattoni and Lothar Matthaus both. Then, he had a sporting director role at the club before moving to be an assistant at the Germany national team for Joachim Low. His last stint before returning to the club he represented as a player was that of a sporting director at the German Football Association after the 2014 World Cup until January 2017. Wherever he went, Flick was respected.

At Bayern, he returned as an assistant manager to Niko Kovac before the Croatian was sacked in November of 2019.

Flick was chosen as the interim manager as the board negotiated with other candidates, one of them being Arsene Wenger. When the Frenchman passed, Flick was to lead the team until the winter break before other options were invested.

As he did well, the club decided to remove the time constraint from his reign and it became a public secret that Flick would leave the club until the summer when Ajax's manager Erik ten Hag would return to the club in which he led the B side. Yet, Flick earned his stay.

Winning five trophies in a single year: Bundesliga, Champions League, German Cup, German Supercup, and the European Super Cup.

"Writing more history in eight months would be quite difficult to do!" as Jurgen Klopp stated himself.

Jose Mourinho was even more critical of the decision not to award Flick the silverware he deserved.

"I think the only chance for Flick to win is if Bayern find two or three new competitions for him to win. So maybe if he wins seven titles in one season, maybe he wins the award. I believe he only won Champions League, the Bundesliga, German Cup, European Super Cup and German Super Cup," the Spurs boss said sarcastically.

Flick did it with style points, not only improving his players and their careers, but dominating other clubs. Against Borussia Dortmund, he has a perfect record of four wins in the same number of games. With two clean wins against Chelsea too.

By far exceeding the win ratio of the man he was assistant to at Bayern. Kovac had it at 69.23% while other notable managers of the Bavarians also fall short of Flick's success. Carlo Ancelotti was slightly better than Kovac at 70% in 60 games, five fewer than Niko. During his longest and most fruitful stay at Bayern, Jupp Heynckes had an impressive win ratio of 76.15% in 109 games.

Pep Guardiola led the team for 161 games and had a win ratio of 75.16%.

In 61 games at the helm of Bayern, Hansi Flick has a win ratio of 83.61%! Only four defeats total, two coming at the hand of the same club and manager Borussia Monchengladbach's Marco Rose.

Flick also plays full-on attacking football, with a goal difference of 190:60!

"For me, the question of playing it safe has never really arisen. I knew this team had enormous quality in attack and I was always a fan of putting pressure on our opponents early on. Our players have now developed a basic trust in themselves. Over time, something very beautiful has arisen," said Flick.

The CEO of Bayern for another final year, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated that the club is finally playing the Bayern style which is something Hansi wants to broaden to dealings outside the pitch. 

"If that's what he says and that's how he feels, then I'm definitely pleased. My point is that FC Bayern needs a clear DNA, and my coaching team and I want to pass that on to the players. This DNA should not only be directly visible in the games, but also in our academy work, in scouting, in all areas. I think it is important, especially in today's world, that it's clear what FC Bayern stands for: Possessing the ball, being dominant, playing attacking football. This is how we develop the position profile for each individual player," said Flick showing the ability to look at the big picture developed at his different sporting and commercial positions.

Conceding only 32 goals for the whole Bundesliga season in the last campaign, the team is showing defensive vulnerabilities this time around with 24 goals conceded already. If there's one bad moment for Bayern at Flick, it's that. But it is overshadowed by the impressiveness of the success and the way of achieving it.

Flick does seem like the perfect match for Bayern as the 55-year-old German knows that signature mentality that is required at Allianz Arena. As Muller noted, everyone knows what they need to do and what is expected of them.

Hansi is clearly beloved and jovial but there is something he puts over niceties when looking at his squad.

"If I'm not always ready for the extra mile, I have no place at FC Bayern. And I have no sympathy if someone doesn't understand that. We don't need a player here who only jumps as high as he has to jump. The attitude must be to want to improve every day. But that's exactly what I see in this team with every little thing: nobody wants to lose even when playing football tennis in training. I think 'vigorously competitive' is a nice way of describing this team."

Jock Stein (Celtic), Stefan Kovacs (Ajax), Guus Hiddink (PSV), Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United), Pep Guardiola (Barcelona), Jose Mourinho (Inter), Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich), Luis Enrique (Barcelona), and now Hans-Dieter Flick (Bayern Munich) are the only managers who won the European treble.

Flick rise was quick and he has a tremendous team, yet to not give him the recognition he deserved for winning five trophies is a blasphemy. Showing nothing more than the childish popularity contest nature of individual awards.


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