Bayern name Hopfner to succeed jailed Hoeneß

Bayern Munich on Saturday named their financial mastermind Karl Hopfner as successor to disgraced president Uli Hoeneß, who was convicted this week of tax fraud.

Bayern name Hopfner to succeed jailed Hoeneß
Karl Hopfner (left) sitting next to disgraced outgoing chair Uli Hoeneß. Photo: DPA

The European champions' board of directors voted unanimously to name Hopfner, the current vice president, to head the Bavarian giants.

His appointment will be put to a vote at a meeting of the club's general assembly on May 2nd.

Runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern start the weekend 20 points clear at the top of the table and host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday at the Allianz Arena looking to make it a remarkable 50 league games unbeaten.

But, behind the scenes, the Bavarians have endured arguably the most turbulent week in the club's history.

Hopfner's promotion comes in the wake of his predecessor's fall from grace as Hoeneß resigned on Friday having been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for major tax fraud.

Munich regional court heard how he cheated the state out of €28.5 million ($39.5 million) in what he described as "the mistake of my life".

Having been convicted on ThursdayHoeneß will start his sentence at Landsberg Prison near Munich, where Adolf Hitler wrote his 1924 novel 'Mein Kampf' after the Munich Beer Hall Putsch.

With more than 30 years service to the club, Hopfner takes over as the figurehead having been credited with making Bayern one of Europe's richest teams.

Herbert Hainer, the CEO of German sportswear giants Adidas, succeeds Hoeneß as chairman of Bayern's advisory board.

"We are convinced that the proposed team can continue the growth of the club," said Edmund Stoiber, head of Bayern's management board.

Last November, Bayern posted a record turnover of €432.8 million for the 2012/13 season when they won the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

In 2011, German football magazine '11 Freunde' dubbed Hoeness, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Hopfner as the 'Bayern triumvirate'.

While Hopfner has rarely enjoyed the media limelight like ex-West Germany internationals Hoeneß and Rummenigge, both credit him with turning the club into a financial powerhouse.

He joined Bayern in July 1983 as managing director, having seen the job advertised in Munich-based newspaper the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The 61-year-old eventually oversaw the club's transition to a joint-stock company (AG) in 2001 before taking a seat on the board.

Bayern's honorary president Franz Beckenbauer described him as a "financial genius" for taking the club out of debt.

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger admitted "arguing with Hopfner is always a huge struggle" when it comes to contract negotiations.

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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.