Van Gaal was exhausting, but he changed Bayern forever

For more than 25 years, Hermann Gerland was an important figure in Bayern Munich's locker room. The seventy-year-old club icon was a part of Der Rekordmeister's coaching staff for many years. Now, he is revealing some stories, including about Louis van Gaal.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 02:30, 7 Jun 2024

Gerland was known in Munich as a mentor to many young talents. Over his more than 25 years at Bayern Munich, he played a crucial role in developing the club's future stars, helping shape the careers of numerous players who would go on to achieve great success.

He was also an assistant to Louis van Gaal, a period during which he gained significant insights into the Dutch manager's methods and philosophies. In an interview with the club magazine 51, Gerland shared his experiences working with Van Gaal.

"He was exhausting," Gerland said, reflecting on the intense demands and high expectations Van Gaal placed on everyone around him. Despite this, Gerland acknowledged the profound impact Van Gaal had on Bayern Munich. "But, Louis was also very important for the club's future history," he continued. Gerland views Van Gaal, who also coached Manchester United, Barcelona, Ajax, and AZ, as the architect of Bayern's sustained dominance in German football. "Everything was different for him, while everything was also different after him."

Under Van Gaal, Bayern's playing style underwent a significant transformation. "He had great players practicing short passes until their feet were sore," Gerland recalled. This rigorous training regimen paid off as the players quickly adapted to and mastered this style of play. "But suddenly, those guys were able to master that style of play so well that the football became fantastic. Louis elevated the club to a higher, new level." Van Gaal's emphasis on precision and technical proficiency helped Bayern develop a distinctive and highly effective playing style that set them apart from their competitors.

Guardiola's tenure at Bayern Munich also left a lasting mark on the club. "He is a genius," Gerland stated, praising Guardiola's innovative approach to the game. Guardiola's ability to adapt and innovate, even when the team was comfortably ahead, impressed Gerland. "Even when we were 3-0 up, he would come up with a new idea. I would think: we should bring on a defender, but he insisted on an extra attacker. I had my doubts, but it quickly became clear that he was always right." Guardiola's relentless pursuit of excellence and his tactical ingenuity helped Bayern maintain their dominance and continue to evolve.

Gerland's reflections on Van Gaal and Guardiola highlight the significant contributions both managers made to Bayern Munich. Their influence extended beyond their respective tenures, laying the foundation for the club's ongoing success and shaping the future of German football.

Updated: 02:30, 7 Jun 2024