Mourinho, Wenger and the candidates to replace Kovac at Bayern Munich


Bayern will want a big name for the vacant coaching position on a permanent basis but who has been in the running to take the job full-time?

Bayern Munich are on the lookout for a new permanent head coach following the departure of Niko Kovac.

The Croatian was the club’s third permanent manager since Pep Guardiola left in 2016, but despite winning the domestic double last season, left the club by mutual consent on Sunday.

Assistant coach Hansi Flick has been promoted to the position of interim head coach while the search continues to replace Kovac. Will Bayern seek an experienced, proven coach or will they opt to take a punt on a lesser known one?

Jose Mourinho

Having won three of Europe’s top-five leagues, a Bundesliga title would be another milestone achievement for Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager has also lifted the Champions League title with Porto and Inter and another success in that competition would give Mourinho one over Pep Guardiola, who could not guide Bayern Munich to Europe’s biggest trophy.

Mourinho would be available immediately and has received the backing of former Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger: “I can imagine Mourinho in Germany,” he told Bild. “I remember he was always asking me about Bayern and the Bundesliga. During our away games, there was always Bundesliga on TV.

“He really knew every single soccer professional, even from the smaller teams. He was also learning German. He has not worked in the Bundesliga, so I can well imagine that he would be tempted by a commitment in Germany.”

Arsene Wenger

Another manager that would be available immediately has been former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. The 70-year-old has been out of management since he left the Gunners at the end of the 2017-18 season. Wenger indicated recently that he has been still interested in management, but would not consider a job in the Premier League: “I had opportunities to work in England but I turned them down.”

Fluent in French and English, as well as German, Wenger’s competence in various languages would ensure no problems communicating with the Bayern Munich squad, which now has a core of French players (Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman).

Erik ten Hag

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag was previously part of the coaching team at Bayern Munich, having coached their reserve side from 2013 to 2015. Success at Utrecht led him to Ajax in December 2017 and then his first full season in Amsterdam resulted in a domestic double as well as an extremely impressive Champions League campaign that ended at the semi-final stage.

Ten Hag would be interested in returning to Bayern, saying the club has been still ‘in his heart’ but insisted he would not leave Ajax until the end of the current season: “I feel a strong connection with my team and everyone at Ajax. I can confirm that I stay at Ajax this season.”

Ralf Rangnick

A former German Cup winner as Schalke head coach, Rangnick has been now better known as the driving force behind RB Leipzig. Initially appointed as sporting director, he also took on a coaching role in 2015-16 to guide them to promotion to the Bundesliga. He appointed Ralph Hasenhuttl as head coach for the following season, but was back in the dugout for 2018-19 as interim coach until Julian Nagelsmann took the job.

Now working as head of sport and development for Red Bull and overseeing all their clubs including Leipzig, Salzburg, New York and Brazil, he has been contracted until 2021. That could prove a major stumbling block for Bayern as they would have to offer compensation, while his experience as a sporting director could cause issues as Hasan Salihamidzic currently occupies that position in Munich.

Massimiliano Allegri Sampdoria Juventus

Massimiliano Allegri

Many Bayern Munich fans didn’t take to Kovac as they felt he did not have enough experience or achievements for a club of their stature. Those accusations could not be levelled as Massimiliano Allegri, the only coach in history to win four consecutive domestic doubles.

Allegri has been currently on sabbatical after deciding to leave Juventus in the summer, but has been told to turn down Bayern in favour of Manchester United by fellow Italian Fabio Capello.

“He’d be a good fit at Bayern Munich, although I don’t know how welcome Italians are in Germany after [Carlo] Ancelotti,” he told Radio Anch’io Sport. “England’s exciting, there’s the possibility of working well and the Premier League has been a championship that enriches you. If I was Allegri, I’d go to Manchester.”

Thomas Tuchel

Bayern Munich had previously been interested in former Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel, but after failing to convince Jupp Heynckes to stay on, found that their first-choice candidate had already agreed to manage Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel has been still in charge of the Ligue 1 side, who would be unwilling to let him leave mid-season to return to Germany, while the 46-year-old has been happy at his current club.

He also ruled out the possibility of a summer 2020 move, telling reporters “I’m not interested because I’m PSG’s coach. I have a contract for this season and the next season also. I can’t think of other clubs.”

Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hinted that he would likely have stepped down had they beaten Liverpool in the Champions League final. A 2-0 defeat in Madrid meant that the Argentine felt he had something left to prove at the club and thus he stayed on for the 2019-20 season.

However, this season has not gone as well despite it being Spurs’ first full campaign in their new stadium. Pochettino’s struggles have seen him come in for criticism and many fans feel he has taken the club as far as it can go. Bayern would offer him a fresh start in a new country.

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“The rumours happen in any club when you don’t win,” Pochettino said last month. “That doesn’t mean they are true and you need to care or pay attention about what has happened. But I understand it’s the business.”

Hansi Flick

Bayern Munich appointed Hansi Flick to be one of Kovac’s assistants at the start of the season and the former Germany number two has been appointed caretaker following Kovac’s exit. Flick has not managed at the highest level, with his most notable coaching job coming from 2000 to 2005 when he was in charge of then-third division Hoffenheim. 

Flick has been not seen to have the experience to become Bayern’s head coach on a long-term basis, but with many of their preferred candidates not available until next summer and Jupp Heynckes unlikely to come out of retirement again, the 54-year-old could end up taking the reins for the rest of the season.


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