It has now been confirmed that Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and coach Felix Magath are parting company with immediate effect. Ottmar Hitzfeld, who led them to the Champions League trophy in 2000-01, amidst multiple domestic triumphs, will take over until the end of the season.
The club have confirmed reports, and Magath will leave the faltering Bavarians after slipping up in both the matches following the Bundesliga winter break.
They went down 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund on Friday and drew 0-0 against Bochum at home on Tuesday, a result that saw them slip to fourth place.
Veteran Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said after the Bochun draw that any talk of winning a third consecutive championship is firmly on the back burner.
“Even FC Bayern cannot have a season ticket for the title,” said the former Germany keeper. “We can also have a weak phase.”
With a trip to neighbours Nurnberg looming this weekend, Magath was coming under pressure for the first time since taking over in 2004.
His tactics were criticised by both club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Franz Beckenbauer before Tuesday’s goalless draw, which was played in front of the lowest crowd ever to attend a Bundesliga fixture at the Allianz Arena.
After the game Magath said: “I think our performance was better than in Dortmund. We played with more engagement and had the odd good chance in the first half.
“Therefore, we can be happy with the draw.”
Apparently not in the Bayern boardroom, where the only option left was to charge Ottmar Hitzfeld with turning the ship around, and making something out of the Bavarians’ season.
The Bundesliga title is looking difficult unless Werder Bremen and Schalke collapse, and Real Madrid stand in their way in the Champions League. However, Hitzfeld is one coach who knows about beating Los Merengues with Bayern, having dumped them out in the semi-finals in 2000-01. However, he has also been at the wrong end…