Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti is coming under increased scrutiny with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge speaking of “consequences” after the team’s heaviest defeat in the Champions League group stage.
Bayern’s 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday was just the latest blow for the Italian coach, whose side gave away a two-goal lead to draw with Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga last Friday, coming after a third-round loss to Hoffenheim.
“It was a very bitter defeat,” Rummenigge said after PSG’s clinical display. “A defeat which must be talked about, which must be analyzed, and from which we must draw consequences.”
Ancelotti raised eyebrows with his starting lineup, leaving experienced wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben as well as defender Mats Hummels on the bench, while Jerome Boateng didn’t even make the squad. The Germany defender watched from the stands despite no notice given of any injury. Robben only came on when Dani Alves, Edinson Cavani and Neymar had already put the French side out of sight.
Kylian Mbappe, another big-money signing beside Neymar, also starred for PSG.
Ancelotti acknowledged that he would face criticism for his lineup but remained defiant.
“I’m someone who thinks a lot about the lineup. I don’t regret anything,” the Italian said. “It’s true that in Robben, Ribery and Hummels a lot of good players were on the bench. But I always have good players on the bench. That’s how it is in top clubs. Good players have to sit on the bench, that’s my job,”
Rummenigge did not show much sympathy for the coach or the players.
“I think what we saw tonight wasn’t Bayern Munich,” said Rummenigge, who ended his post-match banquet speech at the five-star L’Hotel du Collectionneur by saying, “It’s important that we turn the tide quickly and present ourselves as Bayern Munich. And then also to show that we’re a team that has made a splash in Europe and nationally over the last years, and to return to that.”
Ancelotti, who led Real Madrid to its 10th Champions League title in 2014 after claiming two titles with Milan in 2003 and 2007, was appointed by the Bayern bosses primarily for success in Europe’s premier competition.
Bayern won the last of its five titles in 2013 with Jupp Heynckes at the helm for what was a treble including Bundesliga and German Cup titles.
Heynckes’ successor Pep Guardiola and now Ancelotti have suffered by way of comparison. Despite being considered one of the best coaches in the game, Guardiola failed to win the Champions League in three seasons with Bayern. Ancelotti’s side was outclassed by eventual champion Madrid last season, but it is Bayern’s performances against other sides that have been causing most concern.
Bayern struggled to beat 10-man Anderlecht in a flattering 3-0 home win to open its Champions League campaign earlier this month, and the side’s performances away from home in the competition have also been causing alarm.
Ancelotti’s side has won only two of its last nine European away games, losing five.
Robben, who had tempted fate in Paris by saying “Money doesn’t score goals,” was more reticent after the match.
“Every word I say is one too many,” the Dutch winger said in response to questions over his substitute role.
Bayern next faces a trip to Pal Dardai’s well-organized Hertha Berlin side in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
“We have to show a reaction there. We have to win there and nothing else,” Robben said. “It’s also the last game before the international break. We’re already three points behind Dortmund.”
Attention, once again, will focus on Ancelotti’s selections.