Where do Bayern turn next and will they woo Alonso?

Where do Bayern turn next and will they woo Alonso?
Departing Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel brought in England captain Harry Kane last summer

Bayern Munich are facing the unusual prospect of a trophyless season, but whatever happens in the remainder of the campaign it will be a summer of change for the German giants.

On Wednesday, Bayern confirmed manager Thomas Tuchel will depart the club in May.

The former Chelsea, Paris St-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss only took over last March but looks set to miss out on the Bundesliga title to Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen.

It leaves Bayern on the hunt for a new manager who will likely be tasked with orchestrating a swift return to dominating the Bundesliga once more.

Will they turn to Alonso? And what next for Tuchel?

BBC Sport, with the help of European football experts Guillem Balague, Mina Rzouki and Archie Rhind-Tutt, takes a look.

A season that swiftly unravelled

It has often felt like a formality for Bayern to win the Bundesliga.

They’ve won it every season since 2012, but are now facing the very real prospect of missing out on the title this season to Leverkusen.

Alonso’s side are eight points clear at the top with 12 games to go and it would take some drop in form for them to miss out on their first league title.

The domestic cup has already gone for Bayern, after they lost to third-tier Saarbrucken back in November, and that leaves the Champions League as their only real chance of a trophy. Even then they will need to overturn a first-leg 1-0 defeat to Lazio in their last-16 tie.

Whatever happens, it looks like a significant summer of change for the club.

“Ultimately, Tuchel was not able to get the Bayern from the Bayern squad,” German football expert Rhind-Tutt said on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Euro Leagues podcast.

He added: “There is stuff you can pin on him, but ultimately there are bigger problems about the squad and players who are likely to go in the summer.

“They are seriously considering getting rid of Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Alphonso Davies – they are wanting to start an upheaval.”

Alonso sought in managerial merry-go-round?

All eyes are going to be on Leverkusen boss Alonso this summer, unless clarity over his future comes before then.

The 42-year-old former Spain midfielder played for both Bayern Munich and Liverpool before retiring and he has been strongly linked with the managerial position at both clubs.

Jurgen Klopp is leaving Premier League leaders Liverpool in the summer and Alonso – who played for the Reds between 2004 and 2009 – appears to be the fans’ favourite to take over.

Balague said: “If you are going to go to a different club next, do you want to go to one that will maximise his potential right now – Liverpool – or one that is a bigger room for improvement, that has dropped a level but is still capable of winning everything – Bayern Munich.

“I think Bayern is the more interesting proposition for him at this stage of his career.”

Bayern want Alonso to replace Tuchel – Honigstein

Rzouki added: “Liverpool has to be the most attractive option but you are also having to live up to Klopp’s reputation and you are also up against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

“I look at what he has – is it going to be Liverpool or Bayern or staying at Leverkusen, people will expect a lot. If I were him I’d maybe hang around and wait for Real Madrid.”

Rhind-Tutt feels Bayern would not be the best fit for Alonso and believes the 33-time German champions could be tempted by other candidates potentially available to them, including Aston Villa boss Unai Emery.

“At Bayern you are forced into playing these political games that Alonso is just not interested in,” he said.

“I have seen how it can wear a coach down and, at this stage, I think Liverpool will be a smarter step for him.”

‘I could see him at Liverpool’ – Is Alonso the next super coach?

Rhind-Tutt added: “I have seen Emery linked with Bayern, while the other low-key suggestion is someone who has had an amazing season in the Bundesliga – that is Sebastian Hoeness at Stuttgart.

“They are playing some of the best football in the league, better than Bayern, who had to change their whole approach to stop them.”

Another manager who could be impacted by movement around the big clubs this summer is Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi.

He is said to be on Liverpool’s list should Alonso choose Bayern or to stay at Leverkusen, but he has also been linked with Barcelona and replacing Xavi, who will also be on the move at the end of the season.

“It does seem like Alonso is who everyone wants,” added Rzouki. “There’s not many other names going around apart from De Zerbi.”

Where next for Tuchel?

Tuchel has won plenty of trophies during his managerial career – Ligue 1 twice with PSG, the Champions League with Chelsea in 2021 and, after taking charge in March, clinched the Bundesliga for Bayern Munich last season.

While failing to win the title this year will be seen as a failure, it has been more to do with the unrelenting and incredible run of form by Leverkusen.

Bayern’s points-per-game average so far this season is actually better than it was in the two previous campaigns – when they did win the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich points-per-game since 2018-19
Season Points-per-game
2018-19 2.29
2019-20 2.41
2020-21 2.29
2021-22 2.26
2022-23 2.09
2023-24 2.27

Tuchel’s stock, therefore, is still likely to be high and make him a candidate for many top clubs this summer.

Reports suggest the 50-year-old German is open to a Premier League returnexternal-link for the first time since he left Chelsea in 2022, while Barcelona has also been suggested as a possibility.external-link

Whatever happens, it is going to be a summer of significant movement at some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

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