Little has been heard from Ralf Rangnick in the past few weeks. He had left all the rumors about him uncommented, although he had already been approached as the new coach of FC Bayern – and that from the highest level, by club president Herbert Hainer, shortly after the Champions League game against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.

A day later, Rangnick informed Bayern that he would not accept their offer, and that Thursday he sent a press release. Rangnick said he would remain team leader of the Austrian national team “with all his heart,” although this was “not a rejection of FC Bayern,” but rather a decision “for my team and our common goals.”

That was the most beautiful separation lyric. You often read sentences like this when a CEO says goodbye (in truth: has to say goodbye), and then only says the very best after the old company, even though there isn’t much good to say.

Will Rangnick’s warm words console FC Bayern? Hardly. With his rejection, which is not meant to be a rejection, not only does the endless search for a coach for the Munich team enter its next chapter. There is much more to complain about: the urgently needed general inventory at FC Bayern is now cancelled.

There are not many football teachers in the world who can do both: lead a team and rebuild a club at the same time. Modernize it while operations are ongoing, carefully and yet effectively. Ralf Rangnick can do this. He proved that in Leipzig and before that in Hoffenheim, two clubs that still stand on the foundation that Rangnick once laid.

At FC Bayern they know that there is more to repair than the central defense and the left side of the defense. They know that it takes more than a few transfers to get back to their former strength. The separation from Thomas Tuchel should also be seen in this light. Nobody at the club disputes that Tuchel is a well-trained coach and is technically at the top of his game. But what does his football represent? What is – terrible but apt word – his vision for FC Bayern? What ideas guide him, what are the main lines of his work?

All of this cannot be answered, although Tuchel has been in Munich since March 2023. Ralf Rangnick, on the other hand, has a clear profile, not only in terms of game tactics (high pressing and transition play), but also in terms of the architecture of his teams. Rangnick has never demanded outrageously expensive transfers from his superiors, he has always relied on young, development-capable players who often multiplied their market value within a short period of time. Hardly anyone in European football has such a good eye for talent as Rangnick.

It would have been a very exciting experiment if Rangnick, who gained his fame with start-ups like Hoffenheim and Leipzig, had been allowed to overhaul the history-making FC Bayern. That certainly wouldn’t have happened without friction and anger in this proud club, whose Mia-san-mia mantra has recently become nothing more than an empty statement. Rangnick would hardly have been impressed by this. He is considered fearless and assertive (which, by the way, prevented him from succeeding Joachim Löw in the summer of 2021 because the DFB was looking for a good coach and found Hansi Flick).

The polymath Rangnick at FC Bayern, the club that was always more lederhosen than laptop, will remain just a nice thought experiment. This is downright tragic for the club, a missed opportunity for development, and possibly for Rangnick himself too. He has not yet provided proof that he can also control a major club. At Manchester United he fell short of expectations as a coach in 2021/22, and later the club did not want to continue employing him as an advisor as agreed.

Rangnick will be 66 years old in June. He has everything FC Bayern needs. Experience, reputation and peace of mind. Instead, he stays with the Austrian national team. Again the familiar pattern, another start-up. Actually a few sizes too small for someone like him, you would think. At least Rangnick can now call himself a serial entrepreneur, a serial founder in European football.