Recently shortlisted for the FIFA “Best Men’s Coach Candidate,” Erik ten Hag was one of the main reasons why Ajax Amsterdam won their first double since 2002 and reached their first Champions League semi-final since 1997. Coaching Bayern Munich’s reserves from 2013 to 2015, speculations of a possible return intensified last season. Ten Hag achieved remarkable success with Ajax while Niko Kovač failed to get rid of the departure rumors throughout most of the season.
As Bayern have struggled in the beginning stages of the Bundesliga season, the rumors of Kovač’s exodus have flourished once more. When asked if he would accept a return as head coach for the Bavarian giants, ten Hag told Kicker:
I do not exclude anything... But I’m almost 50 and not a dreamer, it’ll happen — or it won’t happen. I’m totally happy and happy with Ajax, even though I know that I will not be a coach here for 10 years... The day will eventually come to say goodbye.
Ajax has started the 2019/20 campaign well despite losing both Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong. They have won both of their Champions League games 3-0, one of them away to Valencia. They currently sit on top of the Eredivisie having won eight out of ten games. Talking about his previous experience at Bayern Munich, ten Hag had only positive words to say:
Pep Guardiola was there, and more importantly, Matthias Sammer with his strategic approach and mentality, which he brings to a club... Under Guardiola, Bayern played dominantly... everyone on the pitch knew what he had to do.
Bayern will play away against Olympiacos today while Ajax will host Frank Lampard’s Chelsea tomorrow.