Over the last week or so a number of names have been mentioned after Carlo Ancelotti vacated his coaching position at the Säbener Strasse. Julian Nagelsmann was named as a viable option to take over after the season, whilst Thomas Tuchel and Luis Enrique were among the favourites to step right into the coaching position if the club chose to go for a long term solution. On Wednesday morning Mats Hummels made headlines when he told Sky that he had answered questions regarding Jürgen Klopp, but the defender added that he got his information about the state of affairs in the ongoing hunt for a new coach from the papers.
On Wednesday night it seems like Hummels and his teammates now have been told who their next coach is going to be. It’s 72-year-old Jupp Heynckes who is once again set for a return to the Bavarian juggernaut. Most Bundesliga fans will remember his last stint at the club, which ended in the win of the club’s first treble in 2013. Additionally Heynckes has another two championships from the 88/89 and 89/90 seasons from his first stint at the club.
Several media reports have stated that Bayern’s bosses thought that the negotiations with Thomas Tuchel were too longwinded and in the end Hoeness and Rummenigge lost their patience. Whilst Hermann Gerland and Mehmet Scholl have been mentioned as a possible duo to take over the reins at the club until the end of the season, it seems like Jupp Heynckes was ultimately preferred. The experienced coach has already had the position of the placeholder once before. Back in 2009 the notoriously red-faced coach took over the team for the last five matches of the season after Bayern’s experiment with Jürgen Klinsmann had failed spectacularly. Back then the club secured 13 points from the last five matches of the season and salvaged a second place finish in a campaign that can only be described as dreadful.
Besides this stint and Heynckes’s friendship with Uli Hoeness, there are also a number of other factors that show why the upper echelons of the club decided to get the 72-year-old out of retirement. The way Heynckes gracefully stepped aside when Pep Guardiola was hired early in the season during his last campaign at the club showed that he is both loyal to the club and hasn’t a history of making demands that clash with the bosses.
Furthermore, with Neuer, Boateng, Müller, Alaba, Martinez, Ribery and Robben there are still a number of players at the club who hold the coach in the highest of regards. Over the years Heynckes has developed a talent for being close to his group of players and getting the best out of them. Furthermore, his off the pitch personality doesn’t cause a fuzz and most journalists respect the coach’s work over the years. Granted, former Köln and Bayer Leverkusen coach Christoph Daum has said that the man is “suited for ads for sleeping medication”, but this sort of calm and measured approach might just be what the doctor has ordered given the current circumstances.
What to expect from Heynckes
It is clear that the 72-year-old is going to work on the off pitch matters as well as some of the things that have been going wrong on the pitch. If media reports are to be believed there is currently an internal rift between the players from Spain and the rest of the squad, because of several dinners between the former Italian coach and the players from Spain. Several players have so far been under the impression that the Spanish player at the club were given preferential treatment by Ancelotti. Given Heynckes man managing qualities there are few men who are better suited to work out such a tricky situation. During his last stint at the club one of his greatest and most undervalued accomplishments was the containment of the egos that were roaming around the dressing room in the Allianz Arena at the time.
Additionally Heynckes is likely to be more hands on when it comes to finding a tactical set up than his predecessor. How much the playing style will differ from Ancelotti stands to be seen, as the 72-year-old is known to adapt his way of playing football to the players that he has at hand. However, some of the players who haven’t managed to perform during Ancelotti’s stay are likely to be happy to see a new face. Thomas Müller was among the main stays during the 2012/13 season, and given the fact that Heynckes has managed to get the best out of the talented Raumdeuter it seems likely that his performances aren’t going to suffer. Furthermore, players like Joshua Kimmich and Kingsley Coman have complained that they weren’t developing as footballers under the Italian’s regime. If anything, one can be sure about that Heynckes is going to give those players a new lease of life during his time at the club.
Placeholder, but what next?
It would be rather surprising if Heynckes sticks around for more than one season. Right now Julian Nagelsmann and Jürgen Klopp are among the candidates to take over his spot on the bench next year. The babyfaced Nagelsmann has shown that he can produce great results despite his very young age. The question most likely on the minds of the bosses at the Säbener Strasse might be if such a young coach can get through to the more experienced members of the squad. Furthermore, in his current environment the 30-year-old isn’t experiencing any of the drawbacks and challenges that come with being the head coach of Germany’s biggest club. The media attention and the forces at work surrounding the club are much greater than in Sinsheim. These questions can certainly not be ignored, and if Nagelsmann fails these apparent drawbacks are sure to be highlighted and the club will face harsh criticism if the experiment of hiring a young and inexperienced coach fails.
Jürgen Klopp on the other hand has shown that he is a capable manager at Mainz, Dortmund and Liverpool. Despite the rivalry that blossomed between Bayern and Dortmund during his time at BVB, Klopp has always praised the officials at Bayern and kept a good relationship with them. The 50-year-old once revealed that Uli Hoeness gave him a call to hear if he might be interested in coaching Bayern one day. This day might actually come far sooner than most Dortmund fans would have hoped for given the current situation. Klopp’s style of heavy metal football has shown to produce great results both nationally and in the Champions League, but has had its drawback when it comes to the defensive side of the game.
All things considered, Bayern have two very strong candidates on their hands here, but both of them come with certain risks if they were to be hired. However, now that Heynckes once again has been brought in to steady the ship, all these matters can be considered carefully. This move means that Bayern’s bosses have bought themselves some time in their decision making process, which might not be a bad thing given that the next man in charge very well could be the manager who takes the club into a new era.