Niko Kovac landed the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double last term at the Allianz Arena, yet it didn’t save him from the sack and now everyone in Germany is talking about who the next Bayern Munich manager will be?
The ex-Croatia midfielder and coach spent time as a player in Bavaria and did sterling work at Eintracht Frankfurt.
This is one of the top jobs in European football, however, and despite success last season a heavy defeat by his old club proved terminal for Kovac.
A chastening defeat by Frankfurt in the Bundesliga comes just weeks after battering 2019 Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 in London.
Whoever he turns out to be, the next Bayern Munich manager takes over a team in transition.
Senior players and proven winners like Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben left the Allianz after many years of loyal service in the summer.
There is a younger feel to Bayern’s squad now, but that talent has to deliver on its potential.
Munich is obviously a high-profile role and attractive position. They are giants of German football and the dominant force of the Bundesliga in recent years.
Some heavyweight coaches are, according to the betting at least, in the running to be the next Bayern Munich manager. Here, we take a detailed look at some of those.
Jose Mourinho on everyone’s lips
Success in England, Italy and Spain only leaves Germany as the last of the big four major footballing countries in Europe where Jose Mourinho hasn’t been yet.
The Special One won the UEFA Cup and Champions League with Porto in his native Portugal before embarking upon a stellar tour of the continent. At Chelsea, he won the Premier League in both of his spells.
In a short but sweet stint with Inter Milan, Mourinho landed a historic treble – beating Bayern in the 2010 Champions League final. Real Madrid changed him, however, and not for the better.
Mourinho, who had worked as Bobby Robson’s interpreter at Barcelona before striking out on his own in management, had an uneasy relationship with the Spanish press. Los Blancos are one of if not the most demanding clubs in football.
Again, he was relatively successful at the Bernabeu winning La Liga. Mourinho then returned to England with Chelsea and later managed Manchester United to Europa League success. He has in short done it all.
The link is an obvious one. Mourinho as next Bayern Munich manager makes sense, because for all his faults he has won something everywhere he has been. Will the Allianz hierarchy have him, though?
Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge run a tight ship in Bavaria. Other great modern coaches like Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti have gone to Munich and won silverware.
Bayern, much like Real Madrid, is a brand that transcends Germany. Moving for Mourinho would make major headlines across Europe and beyond.
Hans-Dieter Flick and Ralf Rangnick leading German contenders
Since 2009, Jupp Heynckes is the only German to manage the country’s biggest football club. Hans-Dieter Flick is in interim charge of Munich following Kovac’s sacking.
That puts the former assistant to Germany national boss Joachim Low in with a chance of getting the job full-time.
Flick played for Bayern in midfield during the 1980s, but has spent the majority of his coaching career as somebody else’s second.
As a manager in his own right, he was at Hoffenheim for five years before their meteoric rise to Bundesliga mainstays.
Flick was Low’s right-hand man for a successful World Cup campaign in 2014 and then became sporting director of the DFB.
He only returned to Bayern as an assistant to Kovac over the summer. Whether or not he wants the job for keeps or is happy with a backroom role remains to be seen.
Another coach with time served as a director is Ralf Rangnick. The man who took Hoffenheim on that remarkable journey from obscurity to the German top flight has enjoyed high-profile roles both in management and upstairs.
Rangnick went on to be sporting director of Red Bull’s football brands, Salzburg in Austria, MLS franchise New York and Leipzig.
He has since flitted between coaching the latter and directorial work for those international benefactors.
The next Bayern Munich manager betting suggests Rangnick may be more likely to take the job on than Flick. However, the chopping and changing of his roles within the Red Bull empire is slight cause for concern.
There isn’t really scope for Rangnick to do that in Munich. Bayern chiefs Hoeness and Rummenigge are ensconced in board and executive roles.
They don’t need someone who the face of it is a director that doesn’t mind stepping into the dugout.
Juve dynasty makes Max Allegri next Bayern Munich manager material
Italian coach Max Allegri is on sabbatical after several successful years with Juventus. They are Serie A’s answer to Munich with the Turin titas the dominant domestic force.
The Old Lady wasn’t an easy gig for Allegri. He came to Juve having presided over the beginning of a decline at AC Milan and replaced the outgoing Antonio Conte in 2014.
Conte was a club legend after captaining Juventus from midfield in the 1990s. Allegri not only maintained the club, but built upon his foundations and continued their stranglehold on the Scudetto.
Former #Juventus coach Max Allegri is the favourite to take over as the new boss of #FCBayern Munich after Niko Kovac was fired, according to German newspaper BILD https://t.co/KvmjYVj1sv #MUFC #Arsenal #THFC #Bundesliga #UCL pic.twitter.com/zH5RyZQ8Wa
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) November 3, 2019
Bayern are always seen as the same in the German game. Every so often, a team rises up to challenge them but they swat such impudence aside.
Allegri can handle the very unique pressures of this role perhaps better than other leading candidates.
Italian coaching greats Giovanni Trapattoni and Ancelotti have both graced the Munich dugout. Until he wins a European trophy, and he’s twice come close to doing that, Allegri isn’t quite in the same bracket as his compatriots.
He does, however, have all the attributes to be next Bayern Munich manager. Any application from Allegri for the role is sure to be looked favourably on by Hoeness and Rummenigge.
That Juventus dynasty which has brought unprecedented consecutive success – admittedly kickstarted by Conte – makes for interesting reading.
A job abroad is the next step for Allegri, with only a Premier League vacancy offering arguably as much appeal as Bayern.
Ten Hag making real impression at Ajax
During last season’s Champions League, Munich topped their group but dropped points home and away to Eredivisie outfit Ajax. Coached by Erik ten Hag, the Dutch heavyweights ruffled plenty of feathers in Europe.
A young, hungry Ajax side set about eliminating holders Real Madrid and Allegri’s Juventus before succumbing to a late Spurs comeback in the semis. It was an incredible run the likes of which we haven’t seen since the mid-1990s.
Ajax are victims of their own success, of course. Just like 25 years ago, their promising young team was broken up and sold.
Although the Amsterdam club’s academy is perpetual motion for bringing talent through, it must make the manager’s job difficult.
Ten Hag is trying to live up to last season without star defender Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
The spine of yet another Ajax side ripped out, but it’s not only the players’ stock that rose during last season.
Louis van Gaal is the only previous permanent Dutch boss of Bayern, yet Ten Hag may be worth a try. He has played down reports of a switch to the German giants, but never say never.
The only thing that might put Hoeness and Rummenigge off pursuing Ten Hag is the failed experiment with his Ajax predecessor Peter Bosz at major Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Just because that didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean the same would happen with him. Ten Hag isn’t a major name like other next Bayern Munich manager candidates, but that good work with Ajax certainly isn’t going unnoticed.
One last hurrah for Arsene Wenger as next Bayern Munich manager?
Legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger crossed paths with Munich more than once during his dynasty. He also signed plenty of top German players for the Gunners like Jens Lehmann, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil.
Wenger also nurtured current Bayern wide star Serge Gnabry. Arsenal always felt like his seminal work, but the Frenchman has never ruled out a coaching return.
With reports that Munich’s players lost faith in Kovac, Wenger is a figure of far greater coaching stature. It would not be a long-term appointment, though, but similar to Heynckes’ last stint while a more in-depth search for a successor takes place.
Bayern have consistently had top French players on their books in recent years. Besides Ribery and fellow winger Kingsley Coman, they signed World Cup winning defenders Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard over the summer alongside youngster Mickael Cuisance.
That French connection may make the role appealing to Wenger. Throughout his time at Arsenal, he also brought in some of the best compatriot talents to the Premier League.
Reports suggest Wenger is on the shortlist of next Bayern Munich manager candidates. Willy Sagnol was briefly caretaker at the Allianz when Ancelotti left, so he would become the first permanent French boss of the club.
Wenger speaks fluent German – an obvious plus for a foreign coach. Whether he is given the chance of a final club job may depend on how others linked with the role do.