According to Bild and Sport Bild writer Christian Falk (private blog), Ajax Amsterdam have received inquiries from Bayern Munich for the services of their manager, Erik ten Hag. Ten Hag, who has so far orchestrated a fairy-tale season for the Dutch side in Europe, used to coach the Bayern reserves from July 2013 to June 2015. His tenure overlapped with that of Pep Guardiola’s in Munich, and he has said that he is still fond of the club.
Here’s Falk’s take on the EtH links:
Erik ten Hag (49) was already coach of the FC Bayern Amateurs (2013-15), before he came to Ajax Amsterdam via FC Utrecht. He name is indeed constantly heard at Säbener Straße. Internally at Ajax Amsterdam word is that inquiries from Munich about their coach have already been made. According to our research, however, there has not been any direct contact with ten Hag himself thus far.
Ten Hag’s affinity for Bayern is well documented. Last month, in an interview with SZ, he had this to say:
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag: "I watch Bayern play every weekend. Bayern have become my club. Since Pep, football in Germany is different, I looked at almost every training back then, and I took a lot of methodical lessons on how to transfer his philosophy to the pitch." [SZ] pic.twitter.com/RhHIFjOyXQ— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 11, 2019
While these inquiries haven’t amounted to anything concrete, it makes sense that Bayern would sound out potential replacements for Niko Kovac in the event that they choose to hire a new coach for the 2019-20 season. Despite Uli’s repeated backing of the coach, it’s clear that Kovac’s job is far from secure, and if he fails to win the double then he may find his tenure cut short.
As far as replacements go, ten Hag is one of the few that makes logical sense. He speaks German and is well-versed in the club culture, which is something that will make him more suitable to the Bayern bosses than someone like Mauricio Pochettino or Antionio Conte. In addition, he is a disciple of Guardiola and aims to play dominant, possession-based football, which fits Bayern’s philosophy in the post-Louis van Gaal era. Ten Hag’s results in the Champions League for Ajax also speak for themselves, although he did finish second in his group and failed to beat Kovac’s Bayern even once.
With this promising young Ajax squad likely to be torn to pieces over the coming summer (Frenkie de Jong has already been confirmed for Barcelona), it’s not impossible that ten Hag could see his future elsewhere. Could that future be here at Bayern? Perhaps. At the very least, this rumor is far more plausible than the links to Jose Mourinho or Thomas Tuchel. We should take them seriously.