April Roundtable 2: Who will be Bayern Munich’s next coach?

miasanrot Separator April 25, 2024

This article written by Lok San Wong

Max Eberl recently expressed the club’s desire for clarity and for a decision to be made as soon as possible, potentially by the end of April. Whether a decision can realistically be finalized by then is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, everyday brings a new name into the conversation. Amidst this sea of rumors, I asked my colleagues their opinion about the most recurrent names as potential replacement for Tuchel and who their preferred choice would be. 

Among the candidates that are cited most often are: De Zerbi, Rangnick, Zidane and Emery. What are your thoughts on each of these candidates?

Roberto De Zerbi

Lok San: I like the fact that he seems to have a very clear vision of how he wants his team to play which is, at its best, progressive and attractive football. However, I think that his style of play can be very all or nothing and that’s a big concern for me. 

Pepe: I like his artificial-transition signature style and the fact that he is a system manager. I don’t know if that style is suited for Bayern, though. Also, Brighton’s performances in the Europa League made me think that he is not very good at making adjustments in-game. If his approach doesn’t work he doesn’t seem to have a plan B. At Brighton he lost several key players so the team’s decline in performance is understandable, but I don’t know if he would be good enough to convince Bayern’s squad to play his style and to man-manage big egos in the locker room. I think him being an option for Bayern is more related to there being a lack of candidates than him being the ideal man for the club. 

Marc: For me De Zerbi is probably the most attractive option in that he has room to grow and could potentially become a coach that they can build around. He is untested at a big club and that is far more concerning to me than anything tactically but if they truly want a coach that might last more than a year or two, he might be the safest bet.

Ralf Rangnick

Lok San: I think the idea of him is fairly attractive on paper. That being said, I’m not sure how good of a fit he would be for Bayern. Bayern Munich as an organization is a completely different beast to say Leipzig. He’s obviously a good tactician and I do think he has very valuable experience but I’m not convinced that he would be able to implement his methods efficiently at the club.

Pepe: Rangnick would be the way to go if the board wants Bayern to develop a “RB football” identity, which I think is wrong because that tactical approach burns out players and doesn’t win leagues (at the elite level) nor champions leagues.

I’d rather Bayern go for a system manager that makes the team stronger in possession and more difficult to crack. Bayern’s biggest issue is that the team always concedes goals and rarely keeps a clean sheet, so I think the next manager should focus on tactics that help the team keep possession, run out the clock, and learn to defend as a unit. RB football tactics with the likes of Rangnick would keep Bayern in a permanent injury crisis and our CBs sprinting half the pitch to cover the gaps caused by an overly attacking pressing style. I don’t think it’s the way to go.

Marc: It is hard for me to understand why they would be interested in Rangnick to begin with. He’s 65 years old having never coached a big side (I don’t count Man U at this point) and never been exceedingly successful at any club he’s been at. He is obviously a smart man but I cannot see his tactics working long term at Bayern and I think every job in his past proves that. I also question how well he’ll deal with the the personalities and ego’s that are abound at Bayern, not just in the locker room but also in the board and everywhere else in the club.

Zinédine Zidane

Lok San: His achievements with Real Madrid are impressive and the players will certainly have a huge respect for him. But the fact that he won’t be able to communicate properly with the players, since he doesn’t speak English or German, is a huge drawback. He’s certainly not the worst option out there but I really doubt they would go for him. 

Pepe: Zidane’s tactics are very limited and almost identical to what Ancelotti does at Madrid, his biggest achievements are immense, but for me they come more from individual performances than tactical prowess. At Real Madrid he had probably one of the best squads in history, but even then, he would win the UCL and still struggle against Valverde’s Barcelona.

At Bayern things would be different because he wouldn’t have the best squad in the world and would have to do more than playing bread and butter tactics. I think he would be a signing very similar to Ancelotti, and if Don Carlo didn’t work, I don’t see why Zidane would be different. I think Bayern right now are a team that desperately requires more than a man manager, and many young players and future signings would benefit more from a system manager that creates a football identity for the long term. 

Marc: While I know Zidane is not a tactical mastermind, I actually disagree with Pepe on this and think that a very good man manager, if he could bring in the right tactical assistants, would actually be a good thing in this club. The language barrier though is a legitimate and concerning obstacle so unless he could at least pick up English reasonably quickly, this might not be a great idea.

Unai Emery

Lok San: He has a proven track record of success in European competitions. He’s managed big teams before although with conflicting results (PSG, Arsenal) and at the moment he’s doing well with Aston Villa where he seems to have a lot of control over everything that goes on. For me, he’s perhaps slightly ahead of the other names mentioned above. 

Pepe: I like Emery and I think a project like Bayern would be ideal for him to take his career to a higher level. Out of the four options, for me Emery is the best one, a system manager who plays balanced and clear tactics, who has been consistent for years. I think he would be a good manager for Bayern if they gave him at least three seasons to get things running, but I wonder if he would fit the club’s tendencies to ignore the managers’ requests for players, assistant coaches and so on. 

Marc: I have to disagree with my colleagues here. For me Emery and Rangnick are neck and neck for least desirable option. While he has routinely done pretty well at mid-sized clubs, his track record at bigger sides to me is mediocre at best. I guess maybe I’d rank him slightly above Rangnick because I think tactically he probably is more realistic but I don’t see him as a good option.

Who would be your preferred choice, either one out of these four, or someone who hasn’t been mentioned yet?

Lok San: I’ll start by saying I don’t think there’s any perfect option out there and any coaching decision will come with a certain level of gamble. With that in mind, I’ll actually move away from the aforementioned names and suggest Ruben Amorim. He’s one of the most highly rated young managers in Europe; he is known for a modern brand of football and has been praised for his communication skills and ability to build strong relationships with his players. He has never managed at the highest level but looking at the available options I think we should actually consider taking a chance on a promising coach. 

Pepe: Unai Emery

Marc: Bayern are clearly in a position where they are being forced to pick between a lot of bad options. Ideally, I think they would find a stop gap solution for the 24/25 season and wait for the Klopp/Alonso market the following year when there is almost guaranteed to be a lot of movement as a result. Even if you miss out on those two, the options available will likely be better than what they’re currently looking at. Moreover, I can’t see any one of the managers we’ve mentioned as long term solutions or guys that you want to build a team around. De Zerbi is the only one that might fit that category.

Then there is the fact that even of these four, Rangnick is the only one that I have not seen conflicting reports on regarding their and Bayern’s interest in the job. If we’re being honest though, I just don’t think there is a preferred choice any more. Maybe if they were willing to wait until after the season, someone unexpected might surface but at the moment, I think we’re going to end up with our 20th choice as opposed to our first or second. I have had a feeling long before this week that Rangnick was the direction they were heading. Unfortunately, I just cannot see it ending well.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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