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Bayern Munich appoint Vincent Kompany as coach

May 29, 2024

Bayern Munich's search for a head coach has been a seemingly endless drama. But former Burnley boss Vincent Kompany is the surprise answer.

Vincent Kompany on the sidelines as Burnley head coach
Vincent Kompany was most recently relegated with Premier League BurnleyImage: Tim Markland/PA Images/IMAGO

Belgian Vincent Kompany, 38, has been named Bayern Munich coach.

Ever since the news was announced that current boss Thomas Tuchel would be leaving at the end of the season, Bayern Munich have desperately tried to find their next head coach. Xabi Alonso, Julian Nagelsmann, Ralf Rangnick, Hansi Flick, Unai Emery, Erik ten Hag, Oliver Glasner and Roberto De Zerbi were all among reported targets who either cooled interest or outright rejected concrete approaches. There were even talks late in the season to try to get Tuchel to stay on, but, in the end, Bayern have continually been left empty-handed.

Now, though, the search has ended with Kompany being appointed on a deal until 2027.

"It's a great honor to be able to work for this club. Bayern is an institution in international football," he said in a statement.

"As a coach, you have to stand for what you are as a character. I love having the ball, being creative, but we also have to be aggressive and courageous on the pitch. I'm now looking forward to the basics: working with the players, building a team. Once the basis is right, success will follow."

Who is Vincent Kompany?

Kompany is a decorated former player who won England's Premier League four times with Manchester City. He started his career at Anderlecht in Belgium and then spent two years in Hamburg, where he learned German. He was capped 89 times for Belgium and played at two World Cups.

As a coach, Kompany started his career at Anderlecht, which he led to a cup final in 2022. He was then appointed head coach of second-division English side Burnley. Kompany guided Burnley to an impressive 101-point league-winning campaign, improving his stock as a coach. However, after winning promotion to the Premier League, Kompany and Burnley struggled and were relegated with just 24 points to their name.

Vincent Kompany (right) in action for Hamburg
Vincent Kompany (right) played in the Bundesliga for HamburgImage: dpa

Is he a surprise choice?

In short, yes. Coaches who have just seen their team relegated don't normally keep their job, let alone get appointed the head coach of Bayern.

Looking at the club's history of coaches, the appointment of a young, developing coach is not Bayern's style. There are arguments to be made that Niko Kovac and Julian Nagelsmann were both coaches looking to take the next step and, therefore, fit the same description. Still, the majority of Bayern's coaches arrive as household names like Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola, Louis van Gaal, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Felix Magath, Giovanni Trapattoni or Franz Beckenbauer.

Pep Guardiola is seen celebrating in Munich in 2015
As Bayern head coach, Pep Guardiola won three consecutive Bundesliga titlesImage: Stefan Matzke/sampics/picture alliance

Perhaps the last time the Bundesliga club made such a surprising appointment of a young coach was with Hungarian coach Pal Csernai 45 years ago. The relatively unknown Csernai, a coach the players loved, broke down hierarchies and created a new era of unity at the club, winning two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup. He also led them to the 1982 European Cup final.

Given Bayern's inability to sign any of their preferred candidates, perhaps they felt the time was right to turn to a younger coach. They'll certainly be hoping Kompany can do as Csernai did and deliver a new era for a club that has been struggling to put all the pieces together for more than just this season.

Will he be a good fit?

Thanks to his illustrious playing career and his well-mannered character, Kompany is one of the more high-profile younger coaches in football today. Pivotally, he can speak German (as well as English, French and Dutch).

Under Kompany's management, Burnley played an exciting, attacking style of play. This was ineffective in the Premier League and the Belgian was at times exposed but did adapt as the season continued, which brought the team more stability. Although their improvement came too late to save them from relegation, the development could be seen as encouraging.

Kompany is heavily influenced by Guardiola, his former head coach at Manchester City. The Belgian's preference for possession-based football is evident, and despite their lowly league position, they were one of the better teams in the bottom half of the league when it came to passing.

Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich

Burnley's Kompany lacked a ruthlessness though, ending the season with the worst xG (expected goals per shot) of all Premier League teams. Perhaps Bayern Munich feel that his possession-based approach with better players will change that.

Where does this leave Bayern?

It leaves the club hoping that even though Kompany wasn't so much their eighth choice, he will turn out to be the right choice.

Time will tell, but there is no denying that the Belgian carries a certain aura when he enters the room. This is a player who boasts a glittering career, has dealt with difficult characters, and, as a former captain, has experience in handling changing-room dynamics and high-pressure situations at the top level of the sport. The German record titleholders clearly feel this, combined with his playing style, can be effective for the current group.

After a few years of turmoil culminated in their first trophyless season since 2012, Bayern Munich find themselves in unfamiliar waters. For Kompany, this offers the kind of chance most coaches could only dream of when taking charge of the German record titleholders.

Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen said: "All of us at the club agree that Vincent Kompany is the right coach for Bayern and we are very much looking forward to working with him. Vincent Kompany represents exactly the togetherness and team spirit that we need."

Edited by: James Thorogood and Mark Meadows