Bayern Munich Fires Carlo Ancelotti, Sensing Team Had Lost Its Edge

Bayern prides itself on being not a team but a club in the truest sense of the word, a Bavarian civic institution. It expects its players to dress up in lederhosen for Oktoberfest, and to go out to visit fan groups once a year. It demands its manager engage with its social side, too. Guardiola, single-minded and reclusive, never did.

When the time came to replace him, then, Bayern decided it needed a change of pace: not quite a rest, but not far from it. Ancelotti fit the bill perfectly.


Carlo Ancelotti, right, with the Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the club’s president, Uli Hoeness, and Hoeness’s wife, Susanne, at Oktoberfest earlier this month. An experienced big-club manager, Ancelotti knew how to handle a team and a board room.

Pool photo by Alexandra Beier

He had the résumé: three Champions League victories as a coach, at A.C. Milan and Real Madrid, and a list of former employers that proved he could coach a team of big names and manage a board of considerable egos, too.

Just as significant, though, he had the personality: genial, professional and, compared to Guardiola, relaxed. “Carlo is a calm, balanced expert, who knows how to deal with stars and favors a multifaceted style of play,” Rummenigge said when Ancelotti’s appointment was confirmed. “We were looking for this, and we have found it.”

Ancelotti was exactly as advertised. He is calm, and he is genial. He was popular in Munich, a much more approachable figure than Guardiola: “Down to earth,” in Rummenigge’s words at last year’s annual general meeting of club members.

Ancelotti was just what Bayern had wanted. It just turned out he was not at all what it needed.

On the surface, Bayern appears to have acted with uncharacteristic haste in firing Ancelotti now, just a few weeks into the season and a day after a…

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