November 24, 2017

Will Carlo Ancelotti Be Remembered as a Bayern Great Or as a Failure?

It’s old news: Carlo Ancelotti’s managerial tenure at Bayern Munich has been over for two matchdays now. After a disappointing start to the campaign, the Bavarians opted to cut Ancelotti’s contract short. Bayern’s 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was the final nail in the coffin for the Italian. Former boss Jupp Heynckes has now replaced Ancelotti at the helm, much to the delight of most Munich fans.

Heynckes led Bayern to a famous treble in the 2012-13 campaign and he will go down as the most successful coach in the club’s history. In terms of style and substance, that Bayern side were a class above their rivals; both in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. On paper, it ranks as one of the greatest Bayern Munich teams of all-time and he may find it tougher this time around.

Ancelotti had the very difficult task of following both Heynckes and Pep Guardiola – two of the greatest head coaches in modern times. Yes, the Italian also deserves to be recognised on a list of recent greats but those two, especially Guardiola, were on another level. Pep’s failure to win the Champions League will haunt his Bayern legacy but his Bundesliga record of 82 wins in just 102 games speaks for itself.

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Guardiola’s 80.4% win rate is miles clear of any other Bayern coach in Germany’s top flight, and that stands him in good stead to go down as a Munich legend. In second place, Ottmar Hitzfield enjoyed a fairly successful 58.4% ratio. Meanwhile, Ancelotti departed with 42 wins in 60 matches in all competitions – losing only nine games during his stint at the Allianz Arena. Comparatively, Guardiola ended with 19 defeats in his spell with Bayern.

Fans never really adjusted to Ancelotti’s way of playing, and that was part of the wider issue during his time in Germany. At Real Madrid, the Italian was liked by the vast majority of the Santiago Bernabeu crowd but it wasn’t like that at Bayern. He never really clicked with the Bavarians fan base and that may affect his long-term standing as one of the most successful managers in the club’s history.

Bayern have won the Bundesliga title in each of the last five seasons and a sixth successive league crown beckons if Heynckes can get the most out of his players. At the time of writing, Bayern odds for the title are 2/5 with Betsson and Heynckes will be confident of rebuilding after Ancelotti’s struggles so far this campaign. Munich’s key players should play with much more freedom now the Italian is out of the exit door.

You could claim that Ancelotti was treated unfairly at times in Germany but he was always going to have a near-on impossible task following Guardiola and Heynckes. At the end of the day, he won two Bundesliga titles and he deserves to be recognised as a successful, albeit a very brief one. He won’t be remembered as a raging triumph but to label him a flop would be very harsh indeed.

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