Ancelotti out: what next for Bayern?

Carlo Ancelotti's reign as Bayern München coach is over, with Willy Sagnol appointed caretaker, following Wednesday's 3-0 defeat in Paris – outlines the reasons for his exit and possible replacements.

Carlo Ancelotti cuts a forlorn figure on the touchline in Paris
Carlo Ancelotti cuts a forlorn figure on the touchline in Paris ©AFP/Getty Images

Coach Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Bayern München, just five months after leading them to a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title.

Less than 24 hours after the Bavarian side's 3-0 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain, the three-time UEFA Champions League-winning coach has been relieved of his duties. Assistant Willy Sagnol has been appointed to succeed him on a temporary basis.

"The performance of our team since the start of the season has not met the expectations we put on them," CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. "The game in Paris clearly showed that we had to draw conclusions

"[Sporting director] Hasan Salihamidžić and I gave Carlo an open and serious discussion today and informed him of our decision. I would like to thank Carlo for our cooperation and regret this development. Carlo is my friend and will remain so, but we had to make a professional decision for Bayern."

Highlights: Paris 3-0 Bayern
Highlights: Paris 3-0 Bayern

Why now?
It was always going to be tough for Ancelotti who, despite the abundance of talent at his disposal, has had to deal with the retirement of Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm, as well as managing the egos of ageing duo Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben.

Much has been made of Ancelotti's team selection and rotation this term, as was the case last night in Paris when he decided to leave Ribéry, Robben and Mats Hummels on the bench for the biggest game yet of the new campaign. It was a risk that ultimately cost the Italian his job, though the seeds of discontent were sown last season.

Despite winning the Bundesliga, Bayern's below-satisfactory performance in Europe and the German Cup meant that his first campaign at the helm was not considered an unmitigated triumph. A stark contrast from his predecessor Josep Guardiola, Ancelotti's style was often criticised for lacking intensity and tempo.

Carlo Ancelotti succeeded Josep Guardiola in summer 2016
Carlo Ancelotti succeeded Josep Guardiola in summer 2016©AFP/Getty Images

A stuttering start to this season, coupled with signs of squad unrest, had led to suggestions that Ancelotti may have his contract (due to expire in 2019) cut short by a year. Another factor had been the comparative success of Julian Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim – and the 30-year-old's admission that Bayern would be a "dream job" for him.

Next steps
But with Nagelsmann unlikely to leave Hoffenheim mid-season, Sagnol is a pragmatic choice as interim boss until Bayern can make a more permanent appointment.

The 40-year-old Frenchman made 277 appearances spanning nine seasons in Munich and has a strong understanding of the club, though his lack of top-level experience may concern Bayern fans. His only previous head-coach role was a two-year spell at Bordeaux from 2014–16. Nagelsmann himself is also a relative newcomer.

Thomas Tuchel guided BVB to German Cup success last season
Thomas Tuchel guided BVB to German Cup success last season©Getty Images

The obvious big-name candidate is the more experienced Thomas Tuchel, who has been out of work since his dismissal by Borussia Dortmund in May. The 44-year-old has proven his worth in the Bundesliga, delivering UEFA Europa League football to Mainz after a fifth-place finish in 2010/11. 

A fruitful two-year stint then followed at Dortmund, where he set a record for the most points achieved by a second-placed side (78 in 2015/16) and won the 2016/17 German Cup.

Tuchel's reputation as a tactically-astute and flexible coach who favours an attacking approach also makes him a good fit for Bayern. The fact he put faith in rising stars Julian Weigl, Christian Pulišić and Ousmane Dembélé while at Dortmund will not have gone unnoticed either by Bayern bosses, who have been quite vocal about their ambition to recruit young home-grown talent in the coming years. Plus, he is German.