Fifth place in the Bundesliga is not what one would often expect to find Bayern Munich. Nor would one expect the record champions to struggle in the early stages of the DFB Pokal. Yet here we are. The Bayern bosses have already tried a remedy in parting ways with coach Niko Kovac, but perhaps the biggest decision lies in who they call on to lead the team moving forward.
In an interview with Bild, incoming Bayern board member Oliver Kahn assessed the club’s current predicament:
The times are over where it was enough for Bayern Munich to somehow win games and somehow be crowned champions. Football has evolved to become a bit of a spectacle.
Kahn is definitely right that the Bavarians cannot cruise along on autopilot and still expect to fill their trophy case. It may seem that we say it at the beginning of each new season, but this just might be the most difficult Bundesliga campaign for Bayern in a long time.
By “spectacle,” Kahn clearly means something other than the fashion in which Bayern lost to Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend — in spectacular fashion. In terms of the style, Kahn wants Bayern to play attractive soccer. He elaborated,
Spectators who come to the stadium today also want to see an attractive soccer match. That’s part of the philosophy of FC Bayern! Dominant, attractive, attacking, and that people recognizable things in terms of technical skill and speed that they don’t see on other teams. The expectations for those qualities have grown as well as for the manager, who also has to play this style of soccer.
Kahn was very cautious about just choosing any name, big or small, when it came to the looming managerial decision:
I believe that it’s important to get away from any old name, from big names. You have to think about what kind of soccer Bayern Munich stands for and which coach suits it. You want a coach that can shape an era. You can’t just shoot shoot from the hip, trumpet any old name far and wide. You have to think carefully!
If you look at the current generation of players, you see something striking in times of crisis: the players are rarely able to take matters into their own hands and pull themselves out of the swamp. Today they expect the coach to give very, very clear instructions, to provide a system dictates how they play soccer.
So, basically, if Bayern were to post a job advertisement, it would pretty much read:
Wanted: a manager with a calm presence, able to get his point across simply. Candidate should have no problem instituting a clear, possession and attacking-based system that puts the team in the best position to win games and competitions. Handling pressure situations needs to come second nature. Knowledge of the German language not 100% necessary, but come on, we don’t want a repeat of Carlo Ancelotti.
So, who best fits these criteria? Does such a perfect manager even exist? Will Bayern be able to convince him to come out of retirement yet again? Only time will tell.