BERLIN, April 5 — A sixth successive Bundesliga title is just a matter of time for Bayern Munich, but their search for a coach to take over next season is proving far more complicated for the Bavarians.
With a massive 17-point lead, Bayern can wrap up the title with five games to spare if they win at midtable Augsburg on Saturday or if second-placed Schalke fail to beat Hamburg SV away.
Bayern have proved unstoppable since 72-year-old Jupp Heynckes, who led them to a league, cup and Champions League treble in 2013, was lured out of retirement in October to replace the sacked Carlo Ancelotti.
Under Heynckes, Bayern have won 18 out of 21 Bundesliga games, seven successive Champions League matches and reached the German Cup semi-finals but, despite everything, the club could not persuade him to extend his fourth stint.
“I discussed it all with my wife and daughter because it wasn’t easy giving everything up at home at my age,” said Heynckes who is living in a Munich hotel.
“You come back to an empty hotel room in the evening, which isn’t fun. Most of the time I just go to bed because I’m tired.”
Bayern’s chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hopes he will find a replacement by April and has established one clear condition: The new incumbent must speak German.
Despite recent dominance of the Bundesliga and an enviable structure, Bayern is not an easy club to manage.
Expectations are so high that even a minor slip-up, or failure to score five or six goals against supposedly inferior opponents, make headlines.
The fact that both Rummenigge and club president Uli Hoeness are among the club’s most illustrious former players and are not afraid to speak their minds in public adds to the pressure.
Former Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel has already pulled out of the race while Germany coach Joachim Loew has also ruled out a move.
“Tuchel told us that he’s signed with another club. One has to accept that, but it’s not a problem for us,” said Rummenigge.
Eintracht Frankfurt coach Niko Kovac, another candidate, also appeared to turn down a move yesterday.
“There are no grounds to doubt that I will be coach here next year,” said Kovac while his sporting director Fredi Bobic said there had been no contact from Bayern and that “it’s not an issue for us”.
That would appear to leave Bayern with the option of luring a coach from one of their rivals, a policy that has made them unpopular among fans of other clubs in the past.
Possible candidates include RB Leipzig’s Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuettl, Augsburg’s Manuel Baum and Julian Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim.
Former Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, now a television analyst, suggested they give Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane a try.
“He’s won everything at Real, what else is he going to do there?” said Kahn, who dismissed worries about the language barrier. “He fits perfectly with the profile Bayern are looking for. There’s no reason why he can’t learn good German.” — AFP