Pitchside

The highly-influential team manager Bayern Munich trust for success

Pitchside

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This is Kathleen Kruger, and if you haven't heard of her then it's time we put that right.

She is not only Pep Guardiola's go-to girl for all first team administration issues, including flights, sponsorship, obligations and accommodation, but also a vital part of the all-conquering European champions' success.

Kruger was there at Old Trafford as Bayern took on the struggling Premier League champions in the first leg of their Champions League tie, and she is always around the Bavarian giants, across every aspect of how the squad functions.

Just 28 years old, Kruger is Bayern's 'team manager' and is much more than what some less-than-enlightened men may see as just the blonde woman on the team's bench.

When she is not chatting with Guardiola on the touchline, she can often be seen conversing with Bayern's influential sporting director Matthias Sammer and key members of the squad and board.

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For the Munich side, looking after key personnel, particularly the players, is absolutely crucial - and that is exactly what Kruger ensures.

She was a player herself, we should not overlook. Kruger played professional football for Bayern ladies for six years with a distinguished career that also saw appearances for Germany's U17 side between 2000-02.

She has worked for Bayern off the field since 2009 and decided to take the huge step of breaking off her studies in international management to take on the exciting but daunting position of team manager.

Kruger keeps a fairly low profile, not wishing to take any attention away from the players or coaching staff, but she was a prominent figure during the club's treble-winning celebrations at the end of last season.

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"I prefer to do my work in the background," she has told German newspaper Bild.

Kruger is the only woman in her position out of all the 18 Bundesliga clubs, but she is happy to be working in top-level football.

"They’re all nice guys," she said. "No one at the club has ever treated me with anything but respect."

The admiration and respect the players at Bayern have for Kruger is obvious and was openly evidenced during the club's Bundesliga title celebrations last year.

Franck Ribery, the club's star winger, demanded that she made an appearance at the very front of the balcony in front of the gathered supporters, singing her name repeatedly into the microphone.

She may only very rarely be given the credit she deserves, but she remains perfectly content with her role at a club she says brings the best out of her.

Her only weakness? "Sometimes I need a kick up my ass," she has said.

Well, considering she is also looking after all administrative and player-welfare issues with the Bayern ladies alongside her all-encompassing role for the men's team it does not seem as though she is lacking any drive whatsoever.

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