Bayern Munich are currently in the United States taking part in the International Champions Cup where they will face AC Milan, Internazionale and Real Madrid. It will give stateside fans a first glimpse of the Bavarian powerhouse under new boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The seasoned Italian took over at the end of last season when Pep Guardiola departed for the bright lights of Manchester City and the Premier League. But while his successor was handed a mandate to deliver something of a tactical revolution at Bayern, Ancelotti is not that kind of manager.
“My style is always the same. The most important thing, as I said, is to develop a relationship with my team and to find the right solution for playing on the pitch, together with them,” said Ancelotti in an interview with ESPNFC.
Indeed, Ancelotti, who has previously coached AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, is not the sort of manager who walks into a club intent on getting everyone marching to the beat of his individual drum. The 57-year-old Italian has a reputation for leaving things that are working alone and quietly tinkering to improve things that could be better.
It’s as style that may not garner headlines about “tactical revolutions” or “defensive master-classes,” but it’s proved enormously successful for the man from Reggiolo who’s won three European titles – three with Milan, one with Real Madrid.
“I don’t want to make a revolution. Because what this team did in the last three years with Guardiola was really good, they played really well, I don’t want to change a lot,” said Ancelotti. “Of course I’d like to put (forward) my idea, the players have to be convinced by it. And after that try, we will try and continue this way because this is a good way, I think.”
Bayern have seen their share of ins and outs this summer. Striker Mario Gotze has returned to Borussia Dortmund, while defender Mats Hummels has gone the other way, leaving Dortmund to return to Bayern where he began his career. The Bavarians also signed Renato Sanches earlier this summer.
The Portuguese, the first ever to wear the Bayern jersey, was a standout player in Portugal’s successful Euro 2016 campaign earlier this summer. He will add another dimension to Bayern’s already quite formidable midfield.
Just as he has had at other clubs, at Bayern, Ancelotti will reap the benefits of having a talented squad at his disposal. When you coach the best players in the world it would seem that winning trophies should come easy. However, that’s not always the case.
Ancelotti must be given credit for his somewhat understated ability to let players play their game without overly interfering with them. His teams may not display the obvious personality of a Guardiola or a Jose Mourinho team, but they win things.
“Because we are a strong club with really good players the idea is to play good football, to attack well, to score a lot of goals, to try to avoid goals. Good football is not complicated. Good football is simple.”
When Mourinho was appointed manager at Real Madrid, he was expected to deliver La Decima – Real’s 10th European crown. He didn’t, but Ancelotti did in his first season in charge.
Guardiola was handed a similar mandate at Bayern. He too fell short. Don’t be surprised if the man from Reggiolo with the raised eyebrow and the half-smile yet again manages to succeed where his predecessor failed.
Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan - Wednesday, July 27, 9:30 p.m. EST on ESPN2
Bayern Munich vs. FC Internazionale - Saturday, July 30, 5:00 p.m. EST on ESPN
Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid - Wednesday, August 3, 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPN