There is a broader narrative at work here. One that speaks of nature of Mia San Mia. One the speaks of demands for salary caps and complaints about financial fair play. It’s bad enough that Bayern lost a Champions League game 3-0. bad enough that they played as poorly as many fans and commentators alike had seen them in many years. But, the loss in Paris against a club that poses an existential threat to Bayern Munich and the traditional eternal clubs of Europe is the real kick in the bollocks.
The Neymar transfer had altered football. It has created a new top tier of the super super rich with seemingly inexhaustible reserves of cash such as Paris-Saint Germain and Manchester City. Suddenly clubs like Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona find themselves on the tier below.
It must be an altogether unfamiliar feeling and an issue that must be addressed. At the political level, the Bayern bosses have been pressuring UEFA for the imposition of a salary cap. Uli Hoeness has been speaking about using the clubs considerable resources to forge a new path, avoiding large transfer fees. On the other side there is the prospect of the end of the 50+1 ownership rule which could open he door to greater investment to Bayern. This is nothing new. What is new is the sudden short term decline on the field that threatens to marginalise Bayern further and established a footballing as well as a financial deficit.
Most Bayern fans that I follow on Twitter paint a picture of a great team that is gradually losing its players and that a period of transition while a new squad emerges is necessary. Moreover, when Pep Guardiola left in 2016 the additional issue of losing one of the world’s best and most celebrated coach. The loss of his incredibly high standards, his motivational skills, his tactical acumen and his feverish intensity could not be replaced but managed. Ancelotti was at a stage of his career to be regarded as a safe pair of hands. A player’s coach. Not sufficiently zealous to piss anyone off but good enough at his job to keep the trophies coming. This is not how things turned out.
In a results based industry Bayern are among the most results based. Ancelotti’s points per game as Bayern coach is a more than respectable 2.28. Never mind the fact that the performances were dropping off. That would be taken care of in time, particularly when Julian Nagelsmann arrives from Hoffenheim which was tipped to be this summer. However, the results are now reflecting the performances and presumably the humiliation in Paris was beyond the pale.
Now, in order to rescue the short term, Bayern have jeopardised the long term. Assuming Nagelsmann was to arrive in Munich in June 2018, an interim coach would need to be appointed. The difficulty there is that there are few interim candidates available of the calibre to lead a challenge in the Champions League and defend the Bundesliga. Two goals which must still be considered attainable this early in the season.
The 500 pound gorilla that everyone is talking about is former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel. But it seems unlikely that he would accept an interim role. He would want a three year contract and the clubs full support. Frankly, Bayern could do worse but if they give Tuchel the keys to Säbener Strasse and he is a success then they may miss the boat with Nagelsmann who could be lured elsewhere in Europe.
So club president Uli Hoeness and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge face a difficult choice: Get a short term lease and hope for the best until their new younger model is released or take an alternative option that doesn’t have the same specs but is available now. Their decision may have consequences that reach beyond this season.