Who Replaces Niko Kovac at Bayern Munich? Could American Jesse Marsch Get a Look?

Posted By Tyler Everett on November 5, 2019
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As we podded yesterday, the game of managerial musical chairs is just beginning. By the end of the ’19-20 season, we might be looking at coaching vacancies at several of the biggest clubs in Europe. At the moment, no one’s seat is hotter than Unai Emery’s at Arsenal. However, he’s one of a number of managers – Mauricio Pochettino, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Zinedine Zidane and Ernesto Valverde – who could be out of work soon.

But it was Bayern Munich’s Niko Kovac who became the unlikely first sacking of the season at a top-tier club. The German side ended his tenure this weekend following a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

Depending on where you’re willing to look, you can find just about any name you can think of being mentioned as Kovac’s long-term replacement. For now, the club will be led by assistant Hans Flick, who was on Joachim Löw’s staff from 2006 until 2014, when Germany won the World Cup in Brazil.

Ralf Rangnick (RB Leipzig) and Erik ten Hag (Ajax) have been mentioned by the likes of ESPN and the London Guardian as the favorites to take over at Bayern. Other top candidates (some mentioned in No Grass in the Clouds) include, but are not limited to, Arsene Wenger and Max Allegri. And yes, Jose “The Special One” Mourinho has been linked to this position as well.

Bayern have communicated they want a manager who speaks German. That could rule out some obvious high-profile names. However, it does not rule out the one name they should be considering the most: Jesse Marshe.

What about Jesse Marsch to Bayern Munich?

But let us at High Press Soccer be one of, if not the first, to throw out Jesse Marsch’s name. Bayern is probably going to go with someone who is more established and has more experience in a top European league. Regardless, Marsch should be an intriguing possibility for any club seeking a new coach. His work at RB Salzburg has been tremendous, and we’re not just talking about that speech at Anfield.

His team plays hard, thrives in a fun-to-watch system and is fearless. Bayern could use all those things, as one of the most talented teams in Europe has no business losing to Hoffenheim or drawing Hertha Berlin, RB Leipzig and Augsburg.

Marsch has proven his coaching ability in MLS at New York Red Bulls and learned under Rangnick as an assistant at RB Leipzig last season. The soon-to-be 46-year-old will likely be a hot commodity at the end of this year, regardless of what else RB Salzburg accomplishes in Europe. To me, the question is not whether he’ll get a chance with a top club, but which one will come calling.

Youth Movement

Bayern needs to phase in a new generation of players as Benjamin Pavard, Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernández, Serge Gnabry, etc. become the leaders of a club who recently said goodbye to Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. We’re not putting them out to pasture yet, but Jerome Boateng, Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer are undeniably closer to the end of their careers than the beginning (though Lewandowski in particular remains an absolute force). It would make sense to entrust the evolution of the roster to a coach on the rise like Marsch.

Rangnick or ten Hag?

At this point, it’s unclear whether Bayern’s first choice would be Rangnick or ten Hag. However, the Bavarians’ preference between 61-year-old Rangnick and 49-year-old ten Hag will tell us a lot about what they’re looking for right now. Ten Hag’s phone (and by his I mean his agent’s) will surely be busy every time a top job opens over the coming months. Does he want to stay in a great spot at Ajax or join one of Europe’s richest teams? You have to imagine the answer is the latter, but he’s in a position to be picky.

Ultimately, Rangnick strikes me as a bit more likely to be the next Bayern manager, as it seems like his familiarity with the Bundesliga gives him a slight edge over ten Hag.

Bayern does not seem like the type of club to suffer a manager like Mourinho, and I don’t see them going for 70-year-old Wenger, either. Allegri, however, would not surprise me, as long as he’s willing to end his post-Juventus sabbatical after one season at the age of 52.

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