Bayern Munich decided to part ways with Carlo Ancelotti on Thursday as the Bavarians endured a tricky start to the 2017/18 season
The writings on the wall have been there for quite a while at the Allianz Arena with the constant uncertainty that was looming over the future of former manager Carlo Ancelotti. Despite winning the league title in one full season he was at the club, the failure to get his hands on the Champions League trophy eventually led to his sacking.
While securing a Bundesliga crown is almost a compulsion for any manager that takes up the Bayern job, to prove one’s mettle, winning the elusive competition amongst Europe’s elite is something that the German side have failed to do since 2013.
Neither Ancelotti nor his predecessor – the now Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola- came close to winning the Champions League, and this was something that did not sit well with the fans, the boardroom and in particular, club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Less than 24 hours prior to making Ancelotti’s sacking official, Rummenigge was asked the inevitable question on the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager’s future as Bayern suffered a pounding at the hands of PSG only a few weeks after being humbled by Hoffenheim. He stated that there would be “quick consequences”, and that was exactly how things unfolded.
There were murmurs in the media that his position was getting more untenable with each passing week, but the decision to relive him of his duties with immediate effect certainly sent shock waves around the footballing hemisphere.
With only 60 games in charge, Ancelotti managed to win 42 times – thus amassing a win percentage of 70. While it may not be around the 80 percent mark, it’s certainly a respectable achievement, given he had been in charge for under a year and a half.
Stats may provide the basis for a strong argument, but they do not tell the entire story. There certainly was more than what met the eye in this entire Ancelotti sacking saga. Results may have been a major factor in deciding his fortune, but were definitely not the only one.
Arjen Robben, a player who has been synonymous with the Bayern Munich first team for years, refused to back his manager after the 3-0 defeat to PSG. Despite being fit, the Dutch superstar along with Franck Ribery, were left on the bench, and that decision cost the Italian the game, and ultimately his job.
There seemed to have been chaotic situations behind the scenes at the Allianz Arena, which ultimately forced Rummenigge to take such a harsh decision. Placing Willy Sagnol in charge of the first team without giving him a summer window to recruit the players he would want to work it, poses undue pressure on his shoulders.
Also, with all due respect to the former Italy international, he is no Guardiola, neither isn’t he of the calibre of Ancelotti. While the two managers have won accolades in different countries, Sagnol’s biggest managerial achievements were wins over PSG and Monaco in his first season in charge of Bordeaux.
Failing to win silverware at the French side, he was asked to vacate his position as head coach after a dismal 4-0 drubbing against rivals Toulouse FC. With no managerial jobs available, he settled for a second-in-command role at Bayern.
Despite being etched in Bayern’s history as one of their best right-backs of the last decade, he has a mammoth task on his hands. Not only does he have to win them the league title, but also turn around their fortunes on the European front as well.
For a manager with no previous experience of managing a club like Bayern, this may be too big of a responsibility entrusted on Sagnol’s head. While he may look at Zinedine Zidane for inspiration, as the Frenchman had his fair share of critics initially, the Italian could be in for a rough ride.
He will be given the funds to bolster the squad in January, but he knows that the players that will be available in the window, won’t necessarily be of the calibre that would strengthen the first team. If they would, they are likely to have already played in the Champions League, meaning Sagnol would roughly have a similar squad to Ancelotti’s to try and win the competition.
As Julien Nagelsmann still looks as the hot favourite to take over at the end of the season, Rummenigge should have given Ancelotti time until then to turn things around for the club rather than abruptly sacking him with just few games since the beginning of the campaign.
The Bayern CEO was aware that there weren’t too many big-name managers available to take over the reins, and without having a summer window to bring in players, even the most pragmatic of managers are often taught a lesson in humility.
Only time will tell whether the decision to sack Ancelotti and more importantly the timing of it will prove to be beneficial in the club’s short-term future. As things stand, Bayern are only three points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table.