The power of imagination

Individual imagination as the basis for collective success. Position by position, players who offer their idea of performance. In the control centre, a manager who wants to do justice to his own notion of Bayern football with the selection of these players. At the beginning, a team full of positive thoughts. At the end, six titles. Really unimaginable. But so was an all-electric Gran Turismo until recently, too. So what’s behind this?

03/03/2021 Reading Time: 4 min

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Great successes are the result of strong performances. To prepare for these, training is essential. However, this training doesn’t only happen on the pitch. Sports psychology as part of modern training theory postulates that mental preparation and the attitude to ‘the game’ are at least as important, especially in the high-performance area. Physical exercise enables players to compete at the highest level. The barriers to being an extraordinary player are broken in the mind. Critical game situations are anticipated, simulated in the mind’s eye. Theoretical solutions are conceived and squared with how their own body feels, rehearsed in practice in upcoming training and – as soon as the situation suits – implemented 100 per cent in the match.

"You don’t win titles by imagining you want to win titles. You win titles when you know you’re ready for a match because in your mind and in training you’ve prepared for everything so that you can have a decisive influence on a match."

― Oliver Kahn, Member of the Executive Board of FC Bayern München AG

You are the star of the movie in your head

The player makes himself the star of his own mind movie. He allows himself to show great things in critical moments and develops the confidence to solve problems for his own position. Between winger and boss of the touchline, between standard programme and creative finesse – from a certain level of play one thing above all lies between them: the desire for the intellectual game.
 

Hard training and physically demanding work are indispensable. But in between there are also frequently periods of relaxation in which to collect yourself and develop and play out scenarios in your own head. Some players do that in the dressing room, completely lost in thought, like Robert Lewandowski. Others, like Manuel Neuer, find it easier to collect thoughts with positive effect for the next match during a simple run through the woods or in the warm-down after training. It’s about working out the better solution for certain situations on the pitch, delving into it, feeling and storing the associated patterns of movement within yourself in order to have another game-relevant tool in your arsenal for the next match.

"You’ll always find a ball, a playing field too. And in a game, it doesn’t matter where you come from, how educated you are or what you own. Only talent counts, the ability to be imaginative and creative. I think that’s the essence of our culture. Football makes us freer than anything else."

― Sócrates, Brazilian national team player and football philosopher

Imagination is creative basic endurance

What we perceive as creativity happens on the pitch through the power of positive thinking. To be stopped as a striker in the opponent’s last defensive line towards the goal? It doesn’t have to be the case. Better to pull back a bit with the ball at your feet. Head towards the middle of the pitch until the opposing team’s defensive midfielders start looking for access. Create uncertainty in your opponent. Slow the pace down. Place the ball against the run direction from left to right, let it bounce back from the right and then close directly? Yes! Left foot, inside instep kick. Not easy. But it could work. Yeah, it does! So the whole thing again. Played out in your head, already done a thousand times on the pitch in your mind. Until the rest is also there. 

© Imago

© Imago

Champions League. Semi-final against Lyon. A magnificent 1-0. Serge Gnabry, boss of the touchline. That’s exactly what happened. At least as far as the obvious is concerned. A dream goal in Lisbon that you couldn’t even have imagined a few seconds earlier. Out of nowhere. Serge Gnabry scored it. Playing between two opposing lines against six men. How, when and where he conceived it, only he knows. The fact is, Gnabry was ready to create exactly this masterpiece. Or to ‘stir the pot’ as the boss himself shows in his goal celebration gesture.

“That’s just individual class.” A statement that you often hear from coaches – especially when they are deciding on the line-up of world-class teams, as Hansi Flick does. As coach and conductor of the orchestra he has to create a grand vision for the game. This, too, initially springs purely from his imagination. A symphony of rhythm, timing, harmonious playing and soloists for the decisive moments. Tactical unity, communication in the organisation between attack and defence, playing culture between short pass and counter-attacking football and always flashes of genius that turn challenging situations into goal celebrations. The coach’s script as an expression of his imagination. The team composition that reflects which players use their personal imagination for the good of the team. Players you could say, who offer variations on the FC Bayern system, who bring flexibility without jeopardising the unity and the unifying idea of the game. Wanting to win, you don’t have to imagine that. It’s an all-consuming mentality. But based precisely on this mentality approaching the game with positive imagination is the key to victory.

"The ability to delve right into the details of a subject matter intellectually and to develop it situationally in your head is creative acting. When the players manage to convert what they’ve imagined into a physical feeling/something tangible and bring it on to the pitch, potential turns into reality."

― Christian Luthardt, Sports psychologist of FC Bayern Campus

We’ll gladly be nerds to be successful


For all the athleticism and cool – it takes real ‘football nerds’ to think up new offers for the game for themselves, devise them in their minds and train on the pitch. And it takes a coach who shapes a piece of ‘future’ from all these individual offers. The opportunity in that? Not to see six titles as a goal that has been achieved and then be faced with the question “what now?”. Rather to understand that six titles are the result of “we can imagine football” – a way of thinking that knows a lot, but knows no ending, because it is always looking for new challenges.
 

What has all this got to do with Audi? Audi loves football. The kind of progressive thinking that connects Audi and FC Bayern is lived every day in the development of new models. Mobility is the issue to which Audi, as a team, devotes all its imagination. Every employee for him or herself in his or her area, department by department, united under our club emblem: the four rings. Audi’s sextuple is the Audi RS e-tron GT. With concentrated imagination Audi brought this first all-electric, super sporty symphony onto the road. A great success, but certainly not the end of the journey. The makers are already thinking about the details that will become creative solutions from which the next big coup will develop. The future begins anew in our heads every day through the power of our imaginations.

 

Future is an Attitude.

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi RS e-tron GT: Power consumption, combined*: 20.2–19.3 kWh/100km (NEDC); 22.5–20.6 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

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Our vision of electromobility

Our vision of electromobility

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Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.8–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.8–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

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