Why have Bayern Munich sacked Carlo Ancelotti?
We sat down with Michel Munger the editor-in-chief at @bayerncentral to discuss Carlo Ancelotti's departure and what it means for Bayern Munich.....
Q. First of all, why are Bayern letting Ancelotti go? Only a few points away from the top of the Bundesliga, 2nd in the UCL group, things don’t look too desperate on paper. Could you give us an idea as to way Bayern have come to this decision?
A. Ancelotti’s dismissal has a lot more to do with form, player support and the ability to whip the team into shape than with pure standings. The team could have regained the top spot in the Bundesliga and qualified for the Champions League knockout stage, but the way it plays is the problem. Poor tactical decisions have left the midfield and defence unable to defend against the counterattack. Players such as Thomas Müller and Arjen Robben have dropped hints about not being happy with the coach. If you lose the dressing room, you lose everything and you are bound to lose big games.
Q. I’ve always thought there has been a certain group of clubs in Europe that have always behaved in a certain way which has put them above the rest. Bayern Munich have always been one of those clubs. A club who are more than fair to their managers etc. In your opinion, is the decision to let Ancelotti go perhaps moving away from the clubs’ traditions?
A. They usually are better structured. The last time they fired a coach early in the season, when they let Jupp Heynckes go in October 1991. However, the problems discussed above lead to players not supporting their coach anymore, which makes it impossible for anyone to squeeze performances out of them. What I do not understand is why the club’s top managers did not choose between a summer dismissal and allowing Ancelotti to keep trying until the late season.
Q. Understand you may not have had much time to consider it but who would be your ideal replacement for Ancelotti?
A. It is a massive question but the best long-term replacement would be Julian Nagelsmann, the current head coach of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. He knows how to organise his players, make them press, defend aggressively and capitalise on chances. The change in philosophy would be extremely interesting after years of possession-oriented play. He also sees relationship management as important. Getting him will not be easy as he is under contract until 2021, though.
Q. How is Jurgen Klopp regarded as by Bayern Munich fans?
A. It is a love-hate relationship. Only haters will fail to recognise his achievements, but let’s remember that Klopp made enemies in Munich when he compared the club to Chinese copycats once the Bavarians regained the upper hand against Borussia Dortmund in 2012-13. It would make a lot of people uncomfortable to see the former Bayern-slamming man in the Bavarian dugout.
Q. After the PSG defeat many people speculated that it was further proof Bayern had fallen away from the absolute European elite. Do you agree with this view? And if so what do Bayern need to do to get themselves back up there? Ancelotti sacking enough?
A. I will not pretend that Bayern are among the elite at the moment. There is a mountain to climb. It should start with a coach who has a better grip on the team, who can implement smarter tactics and offer a vision to change the team’s playing style. About every opponent is happy to leave the Reds the ball and catch them on the counter. What if we turn the tables on them and switch to a “strong organisation” style?
Q. How would you summarise the Ancelotti era? Happy/sad to see him go?
A. I advocated Carlo Ancelotti as a successor when it was unclear if Pep Guardiola wanted to extend his contract in Munich. Naturally, I am sad that things did not work out. I was more than ready to be patient with the Italian, who I thought would find solutions to make Bayern the champions of Europe again.
However, one has to surrender to the facts. Ancelotti’s tenure was marked by severe coaching mistakes and things got worse with time. The PSG loss was the final straw. In the end, Carlo may have been incompatible with Bayern’s ambitions and his tactics outdated. The team needs fresh input from a new coach.
Q. And finally, with Ancelotti gone what are your expectations for the season? Both in Europe and domestically. Can Bayern still challenge for the Champions League?
Let’s be realistic. Firing the coach in September is risky business because it brings instability. Jumping over that hurdle will be hard enough. Winning the Bundesliga title against a resurgent Borussia Dortmund would be an achievement and making it to the Champions League quarters would be equally satisfying. Anything beyond that would be a juicy bonus.