Why Bayern will benefit from incoming Ancelotti evolution and Pep exit
Holly Thackeray | March 22, 2016
Carlo king of calm can unleash brutal Bayern attack
There are still miles to go in Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola’s last term as Allianz Arena overseer and, with the Bundesliga all but wrapped up, attention is of course trained on the Champions League.
Whether or not Guardiola gathers the big prize as his Bavarian leaving present, European triumph will still also undoubtedly be manager-in-waiting Carlo Ancelotti’s aim, with Munich having outgrown their domestic foes once again.
Perhaps another clean sweep will be expected, and the Italian’s ability to adapt may mean he is far more suited to replicating the feted swashbuckling style of Jupp Heynckes than inventive Guardiola.
Ancelotti is the master of embedding himself in a club’s existing culture, rather than reinventing the wheel, and Bayern will be relieved they managed to nab the tactician before Manchester United began seriously scouring the market for a new manager.
To call Guardiola’s stay in Germany anything other than success, especially should he claim the continent’s top club prize (which they are 11/4 with Coral to do), would be picky.
Yet, among the Munich fanbase that appear to have taken some persuading about their current Spanish coach’s more patient playing style, Ancelotti will be expected to harness the evident attacking power housed at the Allianz to devastating effect.
Did Manchester City get the best man?
It’s not often Bayern find their assets acquired by others unwillingly, and there seems to be no great sense of loss or a promising project thwarted by Manchester City’s swoop for soon to be out-of-contract Catalan coach Guardiola, which in itself is truly telling.
The German juggernaut have marched on unabated, while the Sky Blues have capitulated under Manuel Pellegrini since it was announced Guardiola was to seize the City throne. Ancelotti, meanwhile, waits patiently plotting for his first Bundesliga campaign. Did City perhaps miss a trick by not opting for the out-of-work and lower maintenance Italian instead?
There are no guarantees, but this coaching switch seems to be suited, as Guardiola will arrive to find a blank canvas at the Etihad, to craft a footballing identity at his will, much as Arsene Wenger did all those years ago in north London.
While, Ancelotti may just go back to a blueprint that compliments Bayern’s history, as well as his own. Much like Man Utd, some of Munich’s most memorable successes arrived with direct, full-blooded, fluid attacking football and, on their treble-winning run, sublime wingplay.
Of course, there are features of that under exacting Guardiola, when exciting but ageing Arjen Robben is injury free, or with dangerous Douglas Costa and French sensation Kingsley Coman feeding crosses.
Bayern are bagging goals for fun, with Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski recording amazing individual hauls, but there is a certain anticipation in awaiting to see them unleashed by Ancelotti on the counter – what dizzying heights can they truly achieve without constraints?
Ancelotti favours freedom
The former Chelsea gaffer perhaps gave a hint of how he will approach Bayern’s bountiful attacking options as he recently supplied his two-pennies worth on former charge Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent Real Madrid toils.
Ancelotti told press: “There is an offensive position that is not the best for Ronaldo – the centre forward role.
“Cristiano did not like playing with his back to goal, he prefers to find space on the flanks and attack the opposition goal… we soon found out he needed more freedom to cover more of the pitch and be where the action was. Cristiano has to have total freedom so that he is able to believe in what he can do.”
The thought of Munich’s marksmen unrestrained is a daunting one for the rest of Germany’s top-tier, with winger Coman perhaps the obvious beneficiary to thrive down the flanks.
If anyone remembers Ancelotti’s times at Chelsea and Real (especially as the latter emphatically dismantled and conquered Guardiola’s Bayern to clinch La Decima), the Italian is not afraid of good old-fashioned width. And, in the current contingent of flying full backs with Philipp Lahm, David Alaba and co, it will be thrilling to hopefully view Coman and Costa overlapping with those dangerous defenders out wide to lethal effect.
France international Coman notably ruthlessly recently destroyed parent club Juventus’ brief fightback in the Champions League, and will find a familiar face now in charge of his destiny, as it was Ancelotti who handed Coman his Ligue 1 bow, then aged just 16, for former club PSG.
Ancelotti clearly eyed something special, and now the rest of Europe are quickly catching on. Perhaps the emergence of the French attacker will quell all those expected rumours about Bayern’s new boss raiding Real’s leftover tin this summer. Quite simply, Ancelotti shouldn’t need to look elsewhere when he has blossoming talents within.
Off-season ins and outs?
Reportedly want-away Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez and controversial France forward Karim Benzema are top of Ancelotti’s hitlist, but Bayern are already well-stacked in attack.
Though, much depends on Munich’s ability to keep hold of protagonists Lewandowski, supposedly of interest to Los Blancos, and adaptable orchestrator Thiago Alcantara, a known Guardiola disciple mooted to follow his manager to the Eithad.
It goes without saying that Munich must cling on to this pair if they are to become a dominant force on the continent for more than just a campaign. It seems clear in their policy of bringing in European Cup specialist Ancelotti that they want to rule the roost rather than just chip away at the Spanish stranglehold.
Who then, should Ancelotti be eyeing if not Madrid’s expendable Galacticos? After all, they didn’t do too badly when luring Robben.
Speaking of the Dutch attacker, and veteran wing partner in crime Franck Ribery, the Clockwork Orange inspiration should still have space, but it is no secret Bayern have been slowly bedding in a younger generation in Costa and Coman, and they should stay on track with that.
If another addition is to be made to the overcrowded attack, with space opening up should stuttering Mario Gotze depart as expected, a more versatile talent such a coveted prospects Ousmane Dembele (Rennes) or Breel Embolo (Basel) may be just the tonic and more in-tune with building a Bayern for the future.
A strong midfield spine supplemented by the summer splurge on accomplished Arturo Vidal and the strides made by youngster Joshua Kimmich would also do well to be left alone, with Javi Martinez the man to shield defence and co-ordinate from deep.
Defence, however, is the obvious fixer-upper for Ancelotti to get his teeth into. Munich should not allow Premier League clubs to capitalise the market on exciting young ball-playing centre backs, as Athletic Bilbao alumni Aymeric Laporte seems the most obvious fix to slot in behind former Lion Martinez.
Bayern are known for plundering the biggest German talents, so links to the likes of Bayer Leverkusen centre back starlet Jonathan Tah or Schalke prodigy Leroy Sane would seem natural fits.
Yet, if Ancelotti’s words before he agreed to sign on the dotted line are to be believed, the northern Italian may have reason to resist Bundesliga raids.
“Bayern will win the Bundesliga without even taking their hands out their pockets. I must confess that I cannot enjoy Bayern’s games. There is simply too little real competition,” Ancelotti famously said.
Of course, soon to be in the driving season, the manager elect may change his mind, but looking elsewhere for recruits could really benefit Bayern in the long-term.
Of course, the German top-flight is far more competitive than Ligue 1, where many have argued PSG require greater competition if they are to ever become a fierce continental force.
So the logic goes, should Bayern wish to keep improving and stay relevant in Europe, they must stop stealing from their neighbours. Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund defiance may have been the best thing to happen to the Munich men in recent times and, judging by Ancelotti’s quotes, he has recognised that Bayern need bigger tests. So, perhaps the Italian’s arrival will be beneficial not only at the Allianz, but for German football overall…