It has now been over a week since FC Bayern management decided to part ways with Carlo Ancelotti. Much speculation has followed as to who will become the next manager of the club’s senior squad. Several prominent “hats” have been tossed into the ring as prospective replacements. But is there someone among those actually prepared to do the job?
Borking Bayern’s future
The Munich club like to promote themselves as “FC Hollywood”. The implication is that they field a side composed entirely of “stars”. Real Madrid, similarly, often identifies itself as “galácticos”. That is, the club is laden with so many stars that it is a galaxy.
Indeed, some of Carlo Ancelotti’s problems likely began this past spring when Bayern took James Rodriguez on loan from Madrid’s galaxy. Don’t get me wrong. If I were starting a club and wanted to compete at the highest level, I would definitely be delighted to have James on my side.
But that was not what faced Bayern this year.
The difference between goals and the goal differential
Scoring goals is only one-half of the goal differential equation. And, at least last season, goal differential is what won Bayern its 5th Bundesliga title in a row. The club saw Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso depart last May. Replacing them ought to have been the first priority.
Like James, Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle were also acquired in spring. The two Hoffenheimers are much more in keeping with what the club needed. But the system still needs to adapt to them and vice versa. That will take time. Apparently for FCB’s higher management, one win and one loss in Champions League while sitting 2nd on the league table—14 points on 7 matches—is already too much regression.
Which brings us to one of the favorites to step in now at the Allianz Arena: Julian Nagelsmann. The current manager at Hoffenheim—3rd on the table also with 14 points—Nagelsmann is known as “a player’s coach”. That is likely very appealing at this point since Ancelotti is now said to have been dismissed in part because at least a few of Bayern’s stars didn’t/don’t like him.
Of course, Lahm himself—famously among others—made many of the same complaints against Jürgen Klinsmann as Germany’s men’s national team manager. Indeed, if you’ve ever been a part of any sort of team sport at any level you know that there are always those who’d prefer to be playing for someone else.
Nagelsmann, however, would bring instant star power to the position. He’s very personable and supporters would like him, if they don’t already. He also has the advantage of having previously managed Rudy and Süle. He’s young and he could be the manager for a very long time.
Thomas Tuchel has also had his share of mentions as a potential new manager at Munich. He is also a fairly young man with a reputation for putting players first.
Tuchel served his tutelage under Jürgen Klopp at Borussia-Dortmund, so he has seen Bundesliga pressure first hand. On the other hand, Tuchel did not last long after Klopp departed for Liverpool.
Based on the conditions of his own departure from BVB, one could say that Tuchel may be familiar with the pressure, but he’s not yet much good at handling it.
For just the briefest instant, Joachim Löw’s name was introduced into the conversation, at least via social media. Löw has his plate full at the moment trying to qualify the team he inherited from Klinsmann for next summer’s World Cup finals.
The likelihood of his current charges repeating their performance from Brazil 2014 at Russia 2018 are good, but not great. That’s mainly because Löw’s legacy as national team manager was secured with the semifinal thrashing of hosts Brazil last time. The loss to hosts France in the semifinal of the Euros in 2016 did little to bring him back to Earth.
Though his side look very impressive in qualifying thus far, he has little to gain in 2018 and a lot to lose. Resuscitating Munich’s current drive for the Champions League title, on the other hand, could place his name above even Guardiola among current coaching “legends”. He might even become “Germany’s del Bosque”.
Repatriating Jürgen Klopp? Ranieri to the rescue? Revelation of Silvia Neid? …Satan?
Ancelotti won three titles in his brief stay in Munich. He may not have been Pep, but by most objective standards, neither did he completely suck.
Whoever ends up pacing the home side touchlines at Allianz this year, they will need to know that life is tough for those managing at the club level. Nowhere tougher than Bayern. Each candidate will have to measure the demands with the potential rewards.
Not unlike Satan did in Milton’s Paradise Lost, each must also query of their own personal Beelzebub: “Is it better to rule in Hoffenheim/Anfield/Nantes/etc. or to serve in Hollywood?”
If this post made a difference to you, please consider making a donation. Soccity will only remain ad-free if we receive support from our readers. Use the DonorBox below to make a contribution swiftly and securely: