Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge delivered some harsh words for Germany's FA in his Sunday media interviews. Among other things, the FCB chair criticized the DFB for scheduling a needless friendly against Turkey last week and lamented the fact that the national team had become a "marketing machine".
On Wednesday, Nationalmannschaft technical director and head of public relations Oliver Bierhoff struck back.
|Oliver Bierhoff.||Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Speaking to Germany's SportBild on Wednesday, national team administrator Oliver Bierhoff flatly denied that the national team had scaled up its efforts to use its players for commercial purposes.
"Statements like this enter the discourse occasionally, but they do not correspond to the facts," Bierhoff said, "Repeating falsehoods doesn't make them true. Since the 2014 World Cup we have neither increased marketing activities nor the number of partners. Actually, especially after the 2018 World Cup, we've significantly reduced such activities with the team."
Rummenigge's statements essentially accused the DFB of exploiting the players for financial purposes. Bierhoff remained adamant that there existed no truth in such a charge. The 52-year-old cited ramped up efforts to involve players in charitable causes and school visits.
He also referenced the September call-ups, which generously excluded six Bayern and Leipzig players from national team duty after both clubs reached the semi-finals of the delayed 2019/20 UEFA Champions League.
"If we were focused solely on marketing, we wouldn't have been able to do without the Bayern players in September," Bierhoff noted.
The national team veteran's words do ring true for those who remember how aggressively German national team players were used to promote sponsorship deals prior to the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger constituted two examples of players who were thrust into a ubiquitous media blitz of commercials and press junkets.
Prior to the 2014 World Cup, the FA utilized Marco Reus to serve as the face of multiple merchandising and marketing deals.