One of club football’s most prestigious jobs is on the market after Bayern Munich parted ways with Niko Kovac last night. Bayern’s 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt proved too much for Bayern to stomach and after a meeting with Karl Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness, Kovac left the club ‘by mutual consent.’
The timing smacks of a knee-jerk reaction particularly as Bayern face a Champions League tie with Olympiakos on Wednesday and then host arch rivals Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Assistant coach Hans Flick has been placed in charge for those games with a full-time appointment likely to be made during the upcoming international break.
Success at Home Masking Internal Problems
The former Croatia international won the domestic double in his first season in charge and started this campaign with a 7-2 hammering of Tottenham in the Champions League. However the boat has been rocky for some time in Bavaria. Since Pep Guardiola’s departure in 2016, Bayern have been through 3 permanent managers and are now onto their second caretaker boss.
Bayern’s run of domestic success has continued with a run of seven successive Bundesliga titles but Champions League success has proved illusive. Bayern haven’t made the final since they beat Dortmund at Wembley back in 2013, with many critical of the team’s home exit to Liverpool last season.
Bayern have also been dealing with a transition in their squad having waved goodbye to the likes of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery this summer. Bayern have invested heavily in renewing the squad with Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard notable summer arrivals. However Philip Coutinho has struggled to settle having arrived on loan from Barcelona, in a move that looks similar to the James Rodriguez’s unsuccessful loan stint.
Bayern have decided to act with the club fourth in the Bundesliga and facing multiple challengers at home in the likes of Dortmund, RB Leipzig and a revitalised Borussia Monchengladbach. Whoever comes in will need to takeover the rebuilding job and provide an immediate challenge for the Champions League title.
Bayern are never short of potential management candidates so who would they like, who’s available and who might they get.
The former RB Leipzig manager is currently still employed by Leipzig’s paymasters Red Bull, but is no longer directly involved with the team, working instead as ‘Head of Sport & Development Soccer. The door to Munich appears open should Rangnick want a return to football’s frontline.
Still biding his time, Mourinho comes with a guarantee of trophies and hasn’t ticked the Germany box off his management bucket-list having won titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. However his tempestuous nature may not sit will with Bayern and he’s best known for working with veterans so may not be a natural fit. It’s believed Mourinho would prefer to stay in London, but the chance to out-trophy old rival Pep at one of his former clubs will be tempting.
The interim coach would do his chances a power of good by beating Dortmund on Saturday. Stabilising and convincing Bayern’s hierarchy he can go for the Bundesliga title this season is the furthest ahead Flick can be thinking.
The former Juventus coach is on sabbatical but could he be tempted back by a club of Bayern’s stature? Allegri took Juve to five Serie A titles and two Champions League finals before being moved on in the summer. He seems unlikely to return to Italian football but Allegri may well decide to wait until the summer before taking another job.
Erik ten Hag
The Ajax coach is highly sought after having re-establishing the Dutch champions amongst Europe’s elite. The Dutchman previously coached Bayern’s second team under Guardiola’s stewardship and Bayern do like coaches with a connection to the club. It seems only a matter of time before he moves on from Ajax but again may not want to go mid-season.
The former Arsenal manager is now 70, but remains keen to return to management. Wenger works well with young players and was linked with Bayern when they suffered a wobble last season. Wenger would be a safe pair of hands for one to two seasons, however his reputation took a hit in his final year at Arsenal
Their former nemesis is the manager Bayern would most like to tempt. However Klopp is fully committed to Liverpool and won’t leave a club currently top of the Premier League.
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