Bayern's patience runs out for Carlo Ancelotti as coach
The end for Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich seemed to come suddenly on Thursday, but his tenure was under threat even before the side's heaviest defeat in the Champions League group stage.
Bayern's 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday was just the latest blow for Ancelotti, whose side gave away a two-goal lead to draw with Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga last Friday, coming after a third-round loss to Hoffenheim.
"Our team's performances did not meet our expectations from the start of the season. The game in Paris clearly showed that we had to draw consequences," club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said after sacking Ancelotti on Thursday.
Ancelotti's backroom staff was also dismissed, while assistant coach and former Bayern defender Willy Sagnol was appointed interim coach "until further notice."
Rummenigge had already promised "consequences" after what he called a "very bitter defeat" the night before, when Ancelotti's side was carved open again and again by PSG's attacking trio of Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar.
Ancelotti raised eyebrows with his starting lineup, leaving experienced wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben as well as defender Mats Hummels on the bench, while Jerome Boateng didn't even make the squad. The Germany defender watched from the stands despite no notice given of any injury. Robben went on only when Dani Alves, Cavani, and Neymar had already put the French side out of sight.
Ancelotti acknowledged he would face criticism for his lineup but remained defiant after the game.
"I'm someone who thinks a lot about the lineup. I don't regret anything," the Italian said.
Rummenigge was unimpressed.
"What we saw tonight wasn't Bayern Munich," Rummenigge said in his post-match banquet speech at the five-star L'Hotel du Collectionneur. "It's important that we turn the tide quickly and present ourselves as Bayern Munich. And then also to show that we're a team that has made a splash in Europe and nationally over the last years, and to return to that."
Ancelotti, who led Real Madrid to its 10th Champions League title in 2014 after claiming two titles with Milan in 2003 and 2007, was appointed by the Bayern bosses primarily for success in Europe's premier competition.
Bayern won the last of its five titles in 2013 with Jupp Heynckes at the helm for what was a treble including Bundesliga and German Cup titles.
Heynckes' successor, Pep Guardiola, and Ancelotti suffered by way of comparison. Despite being considered one of the best coaches in the game, Guardiola failed to win the Champions League in three seasons with Bayern. Ancelotti's side was outclassed by eventual champion Madrid last season.
With Sagnol at the helm, Bayern next faces a trip to Pal Dardai's well-organized Hertha Berlin side in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
"We have to show a reaction there. We have to win there and nothing else," Robben said. "It's also the last game before the international break. We're already three points behind Dortmund."