Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann are the overwhelming favorites to take on the biggest job in German football. Both men come with formidable reputations but also significant drawbacks. DW analyzes the candidates.
Bayern Munich go into Sunday's Bundesliga match against Hertha Berlin without a clear future. Following Carlo Ancelotti's dismissal, the team is at a crossroads after a string of unconvincing performances and suggestions from top brass they have lost their identity.
Former player Willy Sagnol has taken charge on an interim basis, but is considered to lack the top level experience to lead one of Europe's powerhouses. Trailing Dortmund by three points in the Bundesliga and reeling from a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, the Bavarians need a speedy solution.
President Uli Hoeness has said the club will have made a decision by the time they return to Bundesliga action after the international break, in a fortnight.
Former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel is the bookies' frontrunner, with Sport Bild's Christian Falk claiming talks have already been held between Bayern and the 44-year-old.
Tuchel certainly fits the bill in terms of fulfilling Bayern's expectations for on-field performances. He is a meticulous student of the game, possessing obsession levels matching those of Pep Guardiola. One of the qualms during Carlo Ancelotti's time in the dugout was his more laidback approach to training and match preparation.
During his stint with Dortmund, Tuchel proved his tactical prowess, reinventing a team which had started to look stale towards the end of Jürgen Klopp's tenure. He would come to Bayern with a clear plan of attack, tweaking and modifying his approach until perfected.
Yet it's Tuchel's off-field persona that could prove a stumbling block. Despite winning the DFB Pokal - Dortmund's first major trophy in five years - last season, he was let go and replaced with Peter Bosz. Tuchel's prickly character - defined by a big ego, controlling nature, and intense personality - ran into trouble with the chiefs at Dortmund, leading to a toxic atmosphere between playing staff and management.
How Tuchel would respond to interference from Bayern president Uli Hoeness and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge - who already hold differing opinions - is the big unknown. Could the head honchos take a back seat, accepting Tuchel requires a mandate to reach his potential, or will Tuchel himself accept he needs to wind down his expectations? And would he be able to manage the big egos among the Bayern squad?
These are the questions Hoeness and Rummenigge must consider before taking a chance on Tuchel.
Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann has been linked with a future role at Bayern ever since his club defeated the Bundesliga champions 1-0 at home last season. He repeated the feat earlier this month with a deserved 2-0 home victory. The intial speculation has now ramped up following Ancelotti's departure.
It's not out character for Bayern to poach a rival club's personnel - that's partially how they've stayed at the top for so long. But would they be able to convince both Hoffenheim, and Nagelsmann, to agree to a mid-season switch? After all, Nagelsmann appears grounded despite his young age of 30, and he's still learning his trade.
Nagelsmann has proven himself on the Bundesliga stage, but is yet to show he has the goods on a continental level - Hoffenheim failed to navigate qualifiers for the Champions League and have lost their opening two Europa League group matches. That inexperience would surely harm his chances of snaring the Bayern gig, given Champions League glory has long been the club's ultimate goal.
If Bayern were to go ahead with Nagelsmann, it would be in everyone's best interests to pounce at the right time. The partnership appears inevitable, but is likely a few years away yet. Or at least until the start of next season.
Bayern's only likely alternative to Nagelsmann or Tuchel, with most high-profile coaches tied to contracts, would be keeping the role in-house.
Willy Sagnol has been installed as interim coach and has one game to prove himself before the international break. Although a fan favorite the former fullback's spell as Bordeaux coach was far from a resounding success.
Along with the recently appointed sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, Sagnol could form one half of a duo capable of reinstalling Bayern's proud identity, yet it would be a gamble to leave them in charge of on-field exploits. Unless, of course, Bayern's senior players, who reportedly lost confidence in Ancelotti, take on that responsibility themselves.
With Salihamidzic admitting the new coach should ideally speak German, the rank of outsiders possibly in the running dwindles.
Germany national team coach Joachim Löw has been linked with the move, but is unlikely to split coaching duties between club and country leading into the 2018 World Cup. Former Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp has inevitably been mentioned, too, but the charismatic coach has has teeth stuck in to a long-term project with Liverpool in the English Premier League.
Former player Xabi Alonso, who retired from football last season, has expressed an interest in management, but he would have to earn his stripes before landing such a prestigious gig.