Hansi Flick has endeared himself to the Bayern Munich faithful since stepping in as the club’s manager in November. Bayern confirmed on Saturday that Flick will continue as head coach until at least the end of the season, noting that it is “explicitly a viable option” that he remains in charge even beyond that time. So what must Hansi Flick do to keep the Bayern Munich job beyond the end of this season?
How Can Hansi Flick Keep the Bayern Munich Job?
Play Successful and Attractive Football
With Uli Hoeness no longer Bayern Munich president, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is undoubtedly the most powerful man at the club. He will have the most say as to who becomes Bayern’s permanent manager in the summer. And his benchmark for success is that Bayern play “attractive and successful” football.
It is simply not enough to have one without the other. Just ask Niko Kovac. Despite winning both the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal, the Croatian never managed to get himself out of the proverbial hot seat. Of course, that also says a lot about how Rummenigge and the rest of Bayern’s executives define success.
Dominating domestic opposition is now the bare minimum. The true standard for a Bayern coach is how he performs in Europe, meaning Hansi Flick will be judged more on how Bayern fares in the knockout stages of the Champions League than on whether or not the club wins its eighth consecutive Bundesliga title. And just as important in the eyes of his employers will be the manner in which Flick’s team achieves any of its successes.
Put simply, if Hansi Flick can lead this Bayern Munich side to a deep run in the Champions League while playing attractive, attacking football and without totally sacrificing domestic success, he will be the favorite to keep the job beyond summer 2020.
Focus on Youth Development
Successful and beautiful play may be the most important factor in determining Flick’s future, but it is not the only one. Other criteria exist that could help or hinder him significantly. One such criterion is that he places an emphasis on youth development. Or perhaps it is better to say that he continues to place an emphasis on youth development.
Bayern Munich is in a transitional phase, both on and off the pitch. The club’s next manager should have a proven track record of successfully integrating young players. Youthful, talented guys like Jann-Fiete Arp, Lars Lukas Mai, and Mickael Cuisance need someone who can gradually pave a way for them into the starting squad.
Hansi Flick has already briefly shown he has that capability. Under his management, Alphonso Davies has exploded onto the Bayern scene as a more than capable left-back. Similarly, Flick gave Joshua Zirkzee his first Bundesliga minutes, subbing him on in place of superstar Philippe Coutinho when Bayern were near finishing a 1-1 draw with SC Freiburg. The 18-year-old went on to score a critical goal with his first touch of the match. The Dutch wunderkind repeated the feat just a week later, again scoring a game-winner for Bayern after being subbed on late.
By showing such faith in Davies and Zirkzee, Flick has already proved more willing to trust the club’s youth than his predecessors. If he can continue to develop the duo, and perhaps integrate a few more youngsters, his chances of being hired beyond the summer will grow exponentially.
Maintain the Dressing Room
Hansi Flick’s predecessors’ failure to integrate youth was not their only downfall. Both Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovac had man-management issues as well. And each had clearly lost control of the dressing room prior to their sacking.
It so far seems that Hansi Flick is well-liked by his players. Several names, such as Joshua Kimmich, have been outspoken in their admiration for their coach. That could, of course, change very quickly. But for now, it seems Flick has good relations with the players under his management.
Whether it should be the case or not, Bayern’s players will have a strong pull in the decision on Flick’s future. He will do himself a big favor by keeping strong relations with his players, especially influential figures like Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, and even young Joshua Kimmich.
Outperform His Alternatives
Ultimately, Hansi Flick really has to prove that he is a better option than others that are available. After all, that is what has ensured he will stick around until the summer. Of course, Flick has done very well for himself over the last two months. However, he has been helped by the fact that no obviously better alternatives are on the market.
Over the next half-year, Flick has to prove himself a good enough fit for the job that Bayern do not question whether or not they would be better off bringing in someone with slightly more managerial experience, such as Erik ten Hag or Thomas Tuchel.
It is pretty clear Bayern’s executives hope to stick with Flick long-term. Otherwise, they would not have made known that it is “explicitly a viable option.” Nevertheless, Hansi Flick has some work to do to confirm he is the right man for the job. If he can keep this team successful in Europe while playing attractive football, he will be well on his way to earning a long-term contract. Developing the young guys and maintaining good relations with his players will just be the icing on the cake.