Bayern boss backs under-fire Ancelotti
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists the German giants are backing head coach Carlo Ancelotti despite their Champions League and German Cup exits in a little over a week.
April has been little short of a disaster for Bayern and Ancelotti, who is in his first season as head coach.
On Wednesday, Bayern lost their German Cup semi-final 3-2 at home to rivals Borussia Dortmund, just eight days after being dumped out of the Champions League’s quarter-finals by Real Madrid.
The cup defeat leaves them winless in their last five games — their worst streak without a win for 17 years.
Rummenigge has made it clear he and club president Uli Hoeness are backing Ancelotti — for now.
“Carlo is a very good and experienced coach,” Rummenigge told German daily Bild on Friday.
“His contract (until 2019) is well known and will not be discussed.”
Ancelotti says he has no problem with the flak coming his way.
“It is absolutely normal, we have to live with criticism,” said the Italian.
“I have to stay cool. They trust me and I trust my club.”
– ‘Too little’ –
Bayern started April 13 points clear in the Bundesliga and in the running for the treble of Champions League, German league and cup titles.
Their league lead has now been cut to eight and Rummenigge says injury, plus unfavourable refereeing decisions, were behind the European and cup exits.
He means the shoulder injury which ruled star striker Robert Lewandowski out of the 2-1 first-leg defeat to Real and the red card shown to Arturo Vidal in the away defeat in Madrid, when Bayern lost 4-2 after extra-time.
“One shouldn’t forget: two weeks ago we were right up there with a A1 mark next to our name!,” said Rummenigge.
“Then things happened which one can’t influence: injury, refereeing decisions, and sometimes the necessary luck is missing.”
Bayern have the consolation of being able to sign off April with a fifth-straight Bundesliga title on Saturday.
They will be confirmed 2016/17 German league winners if they a win at Wolfsburg and second-placed RB Leipzig lose or draw at home to Ingolstadt.
However, club president Uli Hoeness admits the Bundesliga trophy is not enough to quench Bayern’s insatiable appetite for silverware.
“We have to accept things the way they are now, but we have to sit down and see how we can go things better,” Hoeness told Munich newspaper AZ.
“In the long-term, one title is a bit too little for us.”
Hoeness says splashing out on new players is not the answer and Bayern have already recruited for next season.
“It is often said that the transfer market is the magic bullet, but I do not see it at all,” said Bayern’s president.
Defender Niklas Suele and midfielder Sebastian Rudy will join from Hoffenheim for 2017/18 as cover for retiring pair Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso.
Ex-Bayern and Germany midfielder Mehmet Scholl predicts big changes at the Allianz Arena for next season.
– ‘Crazy things’ –
“The bosses will now ask, do we have the right people at Bayern?,” Scholl told broadcaster ARD.
“Do (Kingsley) Coman, (Douglas) Costa or (Renato) Sanches help?
“Uli decides on a gut feeling, Kalle (Rummenigge) with his head.
“I believe they will do crazy things now.”
Yet Rummenigge has ruled out any panic and says the club will not rush into filling the director of sports role, which has been vacant since Matthias Sammer quit in April 2016.
“We haven’t been knocked out of competitions because we don’t have a sports director,” said Rummenigge.
“Competence is more important here than getting the vacancy filled.”
Should Ancelotti be sacked, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann, at 29 the youngest coach in Bundesliga history, would be a prime candidate to replace him.
He was named Germany’s coach of the year for 2016 and Bayern have already tried to poach him — to work in their youth academy in 2015.