After two rejections, a Bundesliga veteran has emerged as the favorite in the coaching search at FC Bayern. According to media reports, Ralf Rangnick has the best chance of landing the lucrative and challenging job with the record football champions.

In Munich, the 65-year-old, who is currently the national coach in Austria, is becoming more and more of a focus in the search for a successor to Thomas Tuchel.

The former Bundesliga coach is the first option at Säbener Straße, reported “Münchner Merkur/tz”. According to broadcaster Sky, Rangnick is also not averse to the move. There have been no official announcements from Bayern or Rangnick.

Bayern and Coach Tuchel are parting ways after the season. Xabi Alonso (Bayer Leverkusen) and Julian Nagelsmann (DFB national coach), who were also initially courted, have already turned down the Munich team in order to continue in their current coaching jobs.

Emery prefers to stay on the island

Now another coach has joined in: Unai Emery has extended his contract with Aston Villa in the Premier League until 2027 and is not available for a move to Bayern. The Birmingham club announced this after The Athletic portal reported. The 52-year-old, who had won the Europa League four times with Sevilla FC and Villarreal FC and had also coached Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal FC, was considered a candidate.

Other names circulating include Roberto De Zerbi from English club Brighton

Bayern sports director Max Eberl said on ZDF at the weekend that he hoped for a “timely” decision and that the “finish straight” would be reached “soon”. “We want to do it as quickly as possible, but also as thoroughly as possible,” he emphasized. A decision this week seems possible.

Change of opinion at Rangnick?

The Bayern bosses around Eberl had already spoken to Rangnick before Alonso and Nagelsmann’s cancellations, it was said. The Baden-Württemberg native was a coach at VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96, FC Schalke 04, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. He also coached Manchester United in the Premier League and has been the selection coach for the Austrians since June 2022, with whom he is currently preparing for the European Championships.

“He simply has quality and can make any team better. It doesn’t surprise me that Bayern is looking in this direction,” said Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen in a media round. The Dane was brought to Saxony by Rangnick in 2013. When asked about his ex-coach’s possible involvement with the record champions, Poulsen (29) said: “I have 100 percent confidence in him.” Rangnick is “an outstanding coach. He has shown that often enough.”

Most recently, the veteran coach, often referred to as a football “professor,” had dismissed a possible move from Vienna to Munich. “I still have a contract until the World Cup qualifiers and our focus is now on the European Championships,” said Rangnick a few days ago at a workshop for the European Championship coaches.

ÖFB: No request

If Bayern wanted to get rid of the coach from the Austrian Football Association, they would have to be prepared for a transfer payment. In the Alpine republic, people initially appear calm. “Ralf Rangnick has a valid contractual relationship, the ÖFB has not received any inquiries. The full focus is on the UEFA EURO 2024,” association sports director Peter Schöttel told the APA news agency.