Thomas Tuchel appears set to move abroad after rejecting a head coaching offer from Bayern Munich. With Jupp Heynckes to leave at season's end, DW looks at the candidates in Germany to replace him.
This time, Bayern Munich didn't get their man.
According to several reports in Germany, Thomas Tuchel has rejected an offer from the five-time defending Bundesliga champions to become the club's head coach next season. German publication Kicker has reported he will instead take the head coaching job at Arsenal of the English Premier League. However, the mass-circulation newspaper Bild has linked him with Paris Saint-Germain.
Tuchel parted ways with Borussia Dortmund last season after coaching them to their first German Cup title since 2012. He has remained on the market ever since, and Bayern were reportedly very interested in his services.
Bayern, who currently sit atop the Bundesliga table, are currently coached by Jupp Heynckes, who came out of retirement in October after the club parted ways with Carlo Ancelotti. However, Heynckes, 72, has insisted his return to coaching is only temporary and has repeatedly said he will leave the club at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Where does this leave the Bavarian club? With Tuchel off the board and Heynckes presumably departing soon, there are still coaches in German football that Bayern could install next season.
Ralph Hasenhüttl, the Bayern challenger
Bayern have shown a propensity of looting clubs who challenge their title dominance of their players and, occasionally, front office personnel. Ralph Hasenhüttl, 50, certainly fits the mold after coaching RB Leipzig to a second-place finish in the 2016-17 Bundesliga season — the club's first in Germany's top division.
The Austrian coach has not been able to replicate similar results this season — Leipzig currently sit in sixth place after 27 games. On the flip side, he has had surprising success in the club's first European season, leading his Red Bulls to the quarterfinals of the Europa League.
However, Hasenhüttl has criticized his players for being to selfish — he was quoted in German magazine Sport Bild as describing his star striker Timo Werner as "someone who isn't satisfied when the team has a 4-0 lead and he hasn't scored yet." The jury is still out as to whether he can handle a locker room filled with egos —something that Bayern is known for having.
Hasenhüttl's contract with Leipzig runs until June 2019. If Bayern are willing to pay compensation, Leipzig may let him move south to Munich.
Julian Nagelsmann, a Hoeness favorite
Julian Nagelsmann, 30, was heralded as a coaching wunderkind after leading Hoffenheim to a club-best fourth-place finish last season. The hype has dissipated this season, though, due to mediocre results in the Bundesliga and failure to reach the Europa League knockout stages.
Nonetheless, Nagelsmann, who reportedly has a buyout clause with Hoffenheim after the 2018-19 season, has caught the eye of Bayern president Uli Hoeness. Sport Bild reported in October that, while Tuchel was the favorite of club chairman Karl Heinz Rummenigge, Hoeness was keen to make Nagelsmann Bayern's coach next season. Hoeness and Nagelsmann were also spotted sitting together at Bayern games last season.
Heynckes, however, has not hopped onto the Nagelsmann bandwagon. In October, he told the Rhein Neckar Zeitung that the Hoffenheim coach needed "a few more years to gain international experience."
Born just over 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from Munich, Nagelsmann supported Bayern as a child and has said he plans to move his family to Munich. He very well could be Bayern's coach someday, but whether he will get the job next season is unclear.
Niko Kovac (right) with former Bayern teammate and current Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic (left)
Niko Kovac, once part of the family
Not since Jürgen Klinsmann in the 2008-09 season has a former Bayern player taken the helm as head coach. Niko Kovac, who played two seasons with Bayern in the early 2000s, could be the next to do so.
Kovac, 46, has coached Eintracht Frankfurt back to German football relevance. His Eagles currently sit in fourth place and could qualify for European competition for the first time since 2013. The Croatian has also coached his team to the semifinals of this season's German Cup after losing in last season's final to Borussia Dortmund.
The one black spot currently on Kovac's coaching resume is his lack of coaching experience in European competition. By the same token, he has coached at the international level, having taken the Croatian national team to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
His success last season at Eintracht Frankfurt has earned him a contract extension until June 2019. Success this season could put him into the frame for the coaching job at Bayern Munich, the highest profile club coaching position in Germany.