Bayern Munich accept Jupp Heynckes will leave at the end of the season
The Bundesliga leaders have seemingly given up hope of persuading coach Jupp Heynckes to stay on beyond May. With Julian Nagelsmann stuttering at Hoffenheim, the next Bayern boss is a mystery.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has accepted coach Jupp Heynckes will leave when his contract runs out at the end of the campaign.
Bayern president Uli Hoeness had said last week that it was "possible" the 72-year-old could stay on, but Heynckes himself was adamant after the 2-1 defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday that he will walk away as per his agreement with the club.
"That's what Jupp said, and that's the way it is," Rummenigge told reporters on Tuesday.
Heynckes, in his fourth spell coaching the German champions, returned to Bayern in October as a short-term fix following the surprise sacking of Carlo Ancelotti.
The 2013 treble-winning boss had an immediate impact and they won nine games in all competitions before coming unstuck against his hometown club Gladbach at the weekend.
His insistence that he does not want to remain coach beyond the end of this term has renewed the speculation as to who might take over in the close season.
If not Jupp, then who?
Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann had looked in pole position, the dynamic 30-year-old coach having impressed everyone in the Bundesliga by leading a modest Hoffenheim side to fourth place last season.
But things have not gone well this term, with Hoffenheim being knocked out in the Champions League playoffs by Liverpool and then crashing out of the Europa League group stage.
They have also begun to falter in the Bundesliga and sit seventh after 13 games having won just once in their last seven matches.
"We will calmly deal with the issue," added Rummenigge.
Thomas Tuchel has been mooted in the media but given the way he fell out with Borussia Dortmund's hierarchy last season, he may well be wary of having to deal with Rummenigge, Hoeness and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic at Bayern. They may also be wary of him.
While there is uncertainty about who will be in the dugout next season, Rummenigge tried to shed some light on who might be a new addition on the pitch come the January transfer window.
If star striker Robert Lewandowski was to suffer an injury, the German champions are severely lacking effective cover. Thomas Müller has been injured and in any case is not an out-and-out striker.
Hoffenheim's Germany forward Sandro Wagner has emerged as the most likely candidate to beef up Bayern's squad but it is far from a done deal.
"If the coach wants him, we will continue to strive for him," Rummenigge said. "But we will not pay any old sum to Hoffenheim."
Playing second fiddle to Lewandowski is unlikely to perturb Wagner, who is reportedly keen to return to his hometown and boyhood club with his family still living in Bavaria.
There was good news on the training pitch for Bayern on Tuesday with Müller, Franck Ribery and Rafinha completing a full training program for the first time since being injured.
They could now be in contention for Saturday's home game with Hanover.