Next Bayern manager: Will Alonso, Mourinho or Zidane replace Tuchel?

Xabi Alonso, Jose Mourinho, Zinedine Zidane

Thomas Tuchel is on his way out of Bayern Munich. The 50-year-old coach might well have a Bundesliga title to his name but that credit has quickly evaporated.

Three defeats in the space of eight days pushed Bayern bosses to act and it was announced earlier this week that Tuchel would go at the end of the season in a “sporting realignment”, in the words of CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen.

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Bayern are behind Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen by a margin of eight points in the race for the Bundesliga, facing their first trophyless season in 12 years. Losses to Leverkusen and Bochum in the league bookended a disastrous Champions League last-16 first-leg loss to Lazio with Bayern looking a shadow of themselves under Tuchel.

In truth they only just got over the line in the race for the league title last year when the former Chelsea boss replaced Julian Nagelsmann, with Borussia Dortmund flubbing the title on the last day of the season, and have never truly convinced with Tuchel at the helm.

From the moment they lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig in the DFB Super Cup at the start of this season, the writing appeared on the wall. Although Tuchel signed a two-year contract in Bavaria, he will see that ripped up by mutual consent at the end of the current campaign.

Like at Liverpool and Barcelona, talk now turns to who will be the coach come next season. It’s not an easy recruiting environment with so many other elite clubs in the search for a manager.

Here we select some of the runners and riders who have been linked with the position.

Xabi Alonso

First and foremost, Xabi Alonso is the standout candidate not only for the Bayern job but for Liverpool too.

Jurgen Klopp has more or less anointed the 42-year-old as his successor and he has a deep affinity with the Kop owing to his success as a player at Anfield. A move to Merseyside makes sense should he decide to leave Leverkusen.

Claudio Pizarro Xabi Alonso Bayern
© IMAGO – Claudio Pizarro Xabi Alonso Bayern

That said, Bayern chiefs have got Alonso high on their list, according to the latest reports from Kicker, although they concede his head might well have been turned by Liverpool.

But don’t forget Alonso has a playing history with Bayern too, spending three seasons at the Allianz Arena under Pep Guardiola from 2014 to 2017 before hanging up his boots.

He has made an incredible start to his managerial career, seemingly having his pick of any job he likes in summer.

Conditions at Bayern would be excellent – as they would at Liverpool – and it remains to be seen what will be Xabi’s choice.

Zinedine Zidane

A report this week in Spanish outlet Sport claimed that Zidane was ready to make his comeback to the managerial scene in the event of three jobs coming up.

One has been well known for a while; the France national team job. The second was Juventus and the third… Bayern Munich. Convenient timing.

Although Zidane has no playing affinity with Bayern, he has worked alongside former Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

© IMAGO – Zidane

That was before he took the top job for himself, leading los Blancos to a near-impossible three Champions League crowns in a row.

Zizou had a strong command of the dressing room given his imperious reputation as a player and has the air of a man who makes people sit up straight and listen.

He supposedly is demanding full control of the sporting aspect if he takes control at Bayern, something not even Guardiola was given, and although he is an attractive name, it would be an outside shot to see him pitch up in Bavaria.

Jose Mourinho

There were heartbreaking scenes in Rome in January when Jose Mourinho was dismissed from his post as manager.

The Special One had forged an incredible bond with Roma supporters during his time with the club, winning a UEFA Europa Conference League and reaching the Europa League final in successive seasons.

Alas, it couldn’t last and he was shown the door with Daniele De Rossi coming in to replace him amid a run of poor results.

© IMAGO – Mourinho

Jose was back in the media limelight almost immediately, telling Rio Ferdinand that he was ready for a quick managerial return. Then came a Bild report that he was learning German. Go figure.

The 61-year-old claims he turned down the biggest contract in football history with Saudi Arabia while at Roma while Al-Ahli, Al-Hilal and Al-Shabab have all been linked with a move for the Portuguese. That he hasn’t taken the money, yet, perhaps indicates that he feels his time at the top is not yet over.

Mourinho has won titles across the continent and would supposedly like to add the Bundesliga to his collection.

Moreover, Bayern would give him a good chance for another crack at the Champions League.

He comes with his own baggage, however, and it would be a radical departure from Bayern to see them go in this direction.

Unai Emery

Kicker’s latest report about the Bayern managerial situation on Wednesday night threw up a few interesting names, not least Unai Emery, the Spanish coach in charge of Aston Villa.

The 52-year-old has earned the plaudits for leading Villa towards the Champions League places this season but has elite-club experience in his own right. He was coach of Paris Saint-Germain before being replaced by Tuchel at the Parc des Princes and also had a spell at Arsenal.

© IMAGO – Emery

His reputation, however, has been forged in Spain primarily. He is four-time Europa League winner, three with Sevilla and one with Villarreal, and is reckoned to have impressed Bayern bosses with the manner in which his Yellow Submarine side eliminated their club from the Champions League quarter-finals in 2022.

That season they reached the semis on a fraction of the budget of other teams, before being eliminated by Liverpool over two legs. This is an intriguing link and one that would make sense should Emery decide to quit on Villa.

Jurgen Klopp

A potential non-starter.

The Liverpool manager stated his intentions in January to quit Anfield at the end of the season, citing fatigue, believing he did not possess the energy to go on for another season.

Presumably the vacancies at Barcelona and Bayern have not altered his thinking. According to the latest information, he is still planning a sabbatical.

© IMAGO – Klopp

“Jurgen Klopp will not coach any club or national team for a year after this current season. That remains unchanged,” agent Marc Kosicke told Sky Germany this week.

Klopp had some ding-dong battles with Bayern in his Dortmund days, eclipsing them to take two Bundesliga titles, and it would be a remarkable turnaround for the 56-year-old to move to the Allianz Arena at this stage of his career.

That said, he didn’t take much of a break after leaving BVB before ending up at Anfield.

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte is one of the most famous out-of-work coaches in the world at the moment. He hasn’t worked for almost a year, since a controversial end to his Tottenham regime, but is among the names in the frame for both Barca and Bayern.

Reports from Spain last week had Conte offering himself to Barcelona; he has no contract the hard-up Catalans would need to extricate him from and could set about his planning for next season straight away.

© IMAGO – Conte

But the situation in Bavaria has brought another report, this one from Bild, saying Conte “dreams” of managing Bayern. He has super-club experience in abundance having managed Juventus, Inter and Chelsea, but has never proven himself to be a long-term solution.

This would be an interesting move but should be classified as unlikely with no concrete links between Bayern management and Conte at the moment.

Hansi Flick

When it emerged that Tuchel was in trouble, there was speculation that Bayern could reach for help from a familiar face.

The club had done similar back in 2017, after Ancelotti was sacked. Back then it was Jupp Heynckes, beloved treble winner, who stepped into the breach, guiding Bayern to the title and to the Champions League semi-finals before retiring definitively at the end of the campaign.

© IMAGO – Flick

This time it was another treble winner, Hansi Flick, who was mentioned. He won six trophies in total in 2020 while in charge of Bayern, adding another Bundesliga in 2021, before informing the club he wished to step down in order to take over the national team.

It could not have gone much worse while in charge of the Mannschaft, being eliminated from the World Cup at the first hurdle. He was dismissed back in September, the first Germany manager in history to be sacked, and replaced by Julian Nagelsmann.

He remains available but made it clear to Bayern that he would not consider a caretaker role. Since then he has been distanced from a Bayern return altogether and instead could end up at Barcelona, where he is among the frontrunners.

One of the most successful coaches of modern times, Flick deserves another high-profile job.

Sebastian Hoeness

The same Kicker report which named Emery among the contenders also listed Sebastian Hoeness.

The Stuttgart manager has earned the plaudits for lifting his side to the Champions League places this season – only four points off Bayern – having finished 16th last term.

© IMAGO – Hoeness

That position meant they would face a relegation playoff against Hamburg, which they ultimately won comfortably over two legs.

Since then however, Stuttgart’s progress has been serene with ex-Bayern under-19 and reserve team manager Hoeness carving out a reputation as one of the best emerging coaches in Germany.

The 41-year-old is the son of former Bayern striker Dieter Hoeness and a nephew of former club president Uli. He’s got Bayern in his blood and comes with the recommendation of ex-midfielder Dietmar Hamann.

This might be a job too soon for a relative novice, however, and his interests might best be served with another season in Swabia.

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