As Bayern Munich enjoy a well-earned winter break atop of the Bundesliga by 11 points and back among the favourites for the Champions League, it’s easy to forget that just a few months ago the Bavarian club were in utter disarray.
Indeed the quick, decisive job Jupp Heynckes has done to turn around the rot the German champions amassed under Carlo Ancelotti has been quite staggering. Yet that return to the straight and narrow and inevitable success comes with its own problems further down the road.
While things may be rosy at Bayern right now, there’s the unenviable task of one day having to replace Heynckes. And in many ways, it should prove to not only be difficult but perhaps even impossible for whoever ultimately comes in and takes up the reigns.
Pep Guardiola, considered the best coach in the world by most, learned this the hard way. After taking over from Heynckes shortly after a historic treble-winning season, the former Barcelona manager spent his time in Munich trying to match the perfection that had come before him. Yet, despite his best efforts, it was never to be.
Indeed, it’s with that in mind that the Munich board may look to avoid past mistakes in appointing big-name coaches that are expected to win it all at the very first attempt. Younger, talented coaches from within the Bundesliga would not only be welcomed by the fans but also garner more sympathy and, crucially, less pressure to succeed immediately.
At 44, Thomas Tuchel is still a young coach that not only has big-game experience with Borussia Dortmund but also holds an impressive reputation for instilling attractive, attacking football wherever he goes.
If Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann is deemed too inexperienced – which seems to be the case – then the fantastic work Ralph Hasenhuttl has done at Ingolstadt and then RB Leipzig over the past two years will surely push his name forward instead.
Despite the blockbuster appeal of snatching Jurgen Klopp from Liverpool, it’s unlikely that the ex-Dortmund coach would leave the Premier League side before next season. Yet if an older, proven coach is required then all signs point towards German national team coach Joachim Low.
This coming World Cup may prove to be Low’s last – especially if he retains it – and few German-speaking coaches can lay claim to the tactical flexibility and man-management that the 57-year old has shown over the past 10 years.