Christian Falk is a leading sports journalist working with SPORT-BILD and reporting mainly about FC Bayern and Die Mannschaft. During his long career, Mr. Falk has interviewed a large number of people. This time, we turn the tables on him and make him the interviewee. Users of BayernForum.com have teamed up together to ask Mr. Falk a number of questions regarding his job and more.
BF: Can you describe your typical day?
CF: The best thing in my job is that I never really know what is going to happen the following day. Of course we have one to two editorial office conferences daily, in which I can participate via telephone- or video-calls from all over the world. When I get the commitment for an interview with, for example, Toni Kroos, it is usual for me to be sitting on a plane to Madrid the next day. On my journeys with the German national team it is possible that I’m away from home for ten days. Doing that for 18 years, I can say: today I have as much fun as on my first day.
BF: What are the best and worst parts of your job, and do you ever get a break?
CF: To get to know all those interesting people and being allowed to ask everything I want is the most exciting thing for me. It’s not always easy especially when you have to write an unpleasant truth. After we wrote about Robben getting called Alleinikow (allein is German for “alone”) by his teammates in the cabin, because of his former egoistic way of play, he didn’t speak to us anymore. This is a pity, but if it is right, the players have to bear the truth. If we celebrate Arjen because of his goals, he feels good, too.
BF: Which exclusive news pieces you reported on are you most proud of?
CF: It’s difficult to say of which I am the most proud of, because every information is different. I got the most headlines because of my report that Philipp Lahm was going to end this career and was not going to be Bayern’s next sports director.
However, when I talk to football fans, most of them remember that Lukas Podolski threw me in a pool during the preparations for the World Cup in 2014 or that Bastian Schweinsteiger offended me at a press conference, because I called him Chefchen Schweini (chefchen means “mini boss”) in an article in April 2011.
BF: How often do you come across some really important news but for legal or other reasons you’re unable to make them public?
CF: For journalists the maxim has to be: If you hear about news and you are able to verify it than you have to write about it, without looking at the consequences. Often, the time after publishing such things can be very difficult until they get confirmed. It can happen that they talk about you spreading Fake-News, the reason for that are the clubs bosses who don’t want to tell the truth in the beginning. We had that case just some weeks ago, when we reported about the transfer of Goretzka to Bayern. There were bad reactions when Schalke’s sports director Christian Heidel said that that isn’t true. And at the end we were right…
BF: How many sources is your minimum before you decide to break a story, and how big is the pressure to break it first?
CF: A good source is always the first step, but before you write about something, you have to find at minimum a second source which confirms the news. The more the better. Otherwise you would risk getting used by one side which wants to push through its own interests. As a journalist you always have to make sure that you are not getting exploited. It doesn’t matter how high the pressure is to be the first one breaking the news.
BF: How do you think that social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter have affected sports journalism?
CF: Many people have a critical opinion on social media, because everybody can write their unfiltered opinion. I have to say that I benefit from it. With the many reactions, I can see what the people are interested in. Furthermore, it gives me the possibility to spread my news faster on my Twitter-account @cfbayern. With my blog on cfbayern.com I want to make my work more transparent and to show the fans how the relationships between stars and journalists really are. Meanwhile, my blog is available in English, too. The FC Bayern fans follow the club from all over the world, so I think it’s necessary.
BF: Which would you say are the most well-informed sources regarding FC Bayern news?
CF: In that case, I hope that my colleagues and I from “Sport Bild“ and “Bild“ are doing the best job.
BF: Who do you predict will be FC Bayern’s coach next season?
CF: Should Rummenigge and Hoeneß not persuade Heynckes to stay, my choice would be Thomas Tuchel.
BF: It’s no secret that FC Bayern are likely to enter the market for a winger in summer. How likely would you say is it that FC Bayern buy an established big name rather than a promising talent?
CF: It wasn’t long ago that I denied a transfer from Gareth Bale to Bayern Munich, a topic which came up in English media. As long as Ribery and Robben are playing for Bayern there will not be a new star for the wings. Especially when you look at the fact that with Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry there are two big talents who are waiting for their chance. If there isn’t any cheap star like James this Summer on the market, Bayern won’t buy any players for the wings until 2019.
BF: Which players will most likely never leave FC Bayern?
CF: I think that Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels and Joshua Kimmich are going to end their careers in Munich.
BF: Bonus question: You get 10 penalty kicks against Manuel Neuer. How many would you score?
CF: I missed my only try against a big club, when I had to play as a youth player against 1. FC Kaiserlautern. I doubt that I would score even one against Neuer. He is the best goalkeeper I’ve seen in twenty years of sports journalism. And in that time I also saw legends like Oliver Kahn and Gigi Buffon.
BF: Thank you very much, Christian! We look forward to seeing many more of your articles and Tweets.
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