Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Magath out at Bayern.

Well, I missed this when it came out.

Bayern Munich seems to have fired Felix Magath today, after dropping 5 points from their last two matches in the Bundesliga. Bayern now sit in fourth place in the Bundesliga. Magath has been replaced with Ottmar Hitzfeld, the same man who Magath replaced.

Magath guided Bayern to two consecutive seasons in which they won the German double; the Bundesliga championship and the German Cup. Bayern have already been bounced from the German Cup tournament earlier this season, so a defense of that double is not possible. Bayern have advanced to the knock out stage of the UEFA Champions League and will face Real Madrid.

Ottmar Hitzfeld will guide the club at least until the end of the season. Hitzfeld was replaced in 2004 by Magath.

I can take this event in two ways and both of them have something to do with a guy who is currently a shitty Chelsea midfielder, Michael Ballack.

On one hand, this has everything to do with the departure of Ballack to Chelsea. Without his presence and creativity in the midfield, Bayern has been unable to really get any type of presence on the pitch this season. The absence of Owen Hargreaves due to injury and mentally because of the expressed interest from Manchester United hasn't helped the Bayern midfield this season. Mark Van Bommel was brought in to "try" and replace Ballack, but his touch just isn't the same. The sudden retirement of Deisler was yet another blow to the weak midfield to boot. So the Bayern Munich club that has slipped to 4th in the Bundesliga and has been dumped from the German Cup is not the one that won two straight German doubles. This firing has more to do with Ballack leaving the club than anything else.

Or does it?

Is this the final act in a very revealing performance that has shown that Felix Magath isn't really that great a coach? Sure he guided Bayern to two straight doubles, but did the success of the last two seasons have that much to do with Magath running the ship or with Ballack in the midfield? Magath never won a championship as a manager until he was given the keys to the most talented club in Germany. Now that the club no longer has the main creative spark, he has been unable to guide FC Hollywood to the top of the league. Are we seeing that Magath really cannot coach a squad the doesn't have a truly gifted and talented midfielder running the match? I think we have.

I hope that Hitzfeld can turn things around for the club. They have to face an equally unimpressive Real Madrid squad that will probably have a new coach either before or right after that face Bayern, so if Hitzfeld is to steady the ship, that will be where he has to hit the mark. One has to expect that if Hitzfeld fails to get Bayern to the Semi Finals of the Champions League and fails to climb to at least 2nd in the Bundesliga (which I still think they can win) he will be sacked at the end of the season and a new face will be brought in.



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