Christoph Freund is joining Bayern Munich as sporting director in September after earning an exceptional reputation for developing talent at Red Bull Salzburg.
bundesliga.com has everything you need to know on the new man in charge of transfers at the Bundesliga champions.
Born in Salzburg, Freund was a youth and reserve player at the local Austrian Bundesliga club (then known as Austria Salzburg). He didn't make a breakthrough to the first team there but played as a midfielder for several clubs in the Austrian second tier and regional leagues - including WSG Wattens and SV Grödig.
Freund joined the newly renamed Red Bull Salzburg in 2006 as a team manager and continued to work behind the scenes as the club began to dominate Austrian football. Persistent failures to make it through the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds led to a major realignment of Salzburg's approach in 2012 with the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as sporting director (a role Rangnick also took at RB Leipzig at the same time).
Freund was promoted to sporting co-ordinator by Rangnick and gained responsibility in implementing Salzburg's new focus on developing young players for Europe's major leagues. Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Kevin Kampl were early fruits of that approach, while Konrad Laimer was the first of many graduates of the club's youth academy to move to the Bundesliga.
With Rangnick deciding to concentrate on his work in Leipzig in 2015, Freund was appointed his successor as sporting director at Salzburg. He intensified the youth development approach, developing a series of huge talents including Erling Haaland, Karim Adeyemi, Dominik Szoboszlai, Dayot Upamecano, Amadou Haidara, Mergim Berisha, Junior Adamu and Nicolas Seiwald.
Salzburg's record on the pitch also progressed during Freund's time as sporting director, with the club being crowned Austrian champions in each of his eight seasons in charge, as well as qualifying for the Champions League group stage for the first time in 2019/20 - and being ever-present there since.
Freund's work earned him plenty of admiration across European football, with the Austrian confirming that he turned down an approach from Chelsea. But when Bayern came calling for him to succeed Hasan Salihamidzic as sporting director, he couldn't turn them down.
Watch: Borussia Dortmund's Karim Adeyemi is just one of many top players nurtured at Freund's Salzburg
What they say
"Along with the fact that he's a great person, he is modest, his ego isn't too large and he works to serve others, first and foremost. Thanks to his 20 years of experience, he has a great network and determinedly follows his way of doing things." - Ralf Rangnick.
"I know him. He is really hard-working, knowledgable and reserved. He's a top man in the football industry. We've seen him achieve everything possible in Austria with Salzburg. I think he is capable of succeeding at Bayern." - Lothar Matthäus.
"We are delighted that we have been able to bring in such an experienced and successful sporting director for FC Bayern in Christoph Freund. We are convinced that he is the right person to strengthen the team in the future, together with Thomas Tuchel’s coaching team and technical director Marco Neppe." Jan-Christian Dreesen, Bayern Munich CEO
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