One way or another, Hansi Flick will depart Bayern Munich this summer. The 56-year-old made public his desire to walk away from the Allianz Arena after Saturday’s victory over Wolfsburg, widening the divide between the man in the dugout and those in the boardroom at the Bavarian club.
Flick is widely expected to succeed Joachim Low as Germany national team boss after Euro 2020 even if Bayern Munich continue to dig their heels in over compensation with their manager under contract until 2023. The point of no return, however, has already passed. There can be no repairing the severed relationship between Flick and the club’s sporting director, Hasan Salihamidzic.
There has already been much discussion over potential replacements for Flick. Julian Nagelsmann is a candidate having turned RB Leipzig into a force while former Juventus boss Max Allegri is another to have been linked with the Allianz Arena club.
Most fascinating, though, is the sight of Jurgen Klopp on most bookmakers’ lists of favourites.
Klopp has been tipped as a future Bayern Munich manager for years. In fact, there is a view in Germany that he is destined to one day take over at the Allianz Arena. Klopp is the best German coach of his generation and Bayern Munich is the country’s biggest club. It would make sense if they were attracted to one another.
In some ways, it’s similar to the way Jose Mourinho was always expected to get the Manchester United job at some point in his career. He was a Premier League managerial icon and United are the Premier League’s most iconic club. Mourinho, however, picked the wrong time to pitch up at Old Trafford.
The Allianz Arena would be a difficult environment for Klopp to walk into right now with Bayern Munich on the brink of a generational transition. David Alaba and Jerome Boateng are already confirmed to be on their way out this summer while key figures like Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller are now into their 30s.
What’s more, Klopp would have to succeed a coach who led Bayern Munich to a clean sweep of titles last season. Anything less than complete dominance would be considered failure - see how Pep Guardiola struggled to step out from the shadow left for him by Jupp Heynckes. Klopp could find himself in a similar situation.
Time and time again, Klopp has retired his intention to see out his contract at Liverpool with the 53-year-old tied down until 2024. However, Klopp hasn’t been himself recently. This could be down to personal tragedy or the misfortune his team has suffered since clinching their first Premier League title last year.
What if, however, Klopp needs a new challenge?
His managerial career won’t be complete until he takes the reins at Bayern Munich. There will forever be unanswered questions if he doesn’t one day dit in the home dugout at the Allianz Arena like so many great German coaches of the past have. Liverpool might be where Klopp leaves behind the greatest legacy, but he could still make his mark in Bavaria.
Klopp’s history as a former Borussia Dortmund manager, and a legend of the Westfalenstadion club, might be something of an obstacle to taking over at Bayern Munich, but there has been enough transfer market traffic between the two rivals over the years to facilitate a switch in allegiance for the 53-year-old.
After Liverpool, it’s difficult to envisage where else Klopp could end up. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is known to be a fan of the German, but they would be an awkward fit for a character who has always sought to establish a spiritual connection with fans. The Santiago Bernabeu crowd is more detached than most.
Barcelona would be a better fit for Klopp, but he doesn’t have the past links to the Camp Nou that the Catalans often look for in a manager. Some predict Klopp will take over the German national team at some point, but will he be ready to move into international management in 2024, when his Liverpool contract expires?
Bayern Munich might be one of Klopp’s few feasible options post-Liverpool, even if that time is still a few years off. The Bavarians will probably have to look elsewhere to find a successor to Flick this summer, but they would be wise to make themselves as attractive as possible to Klopp in preparation for the day he might say yes.