Neil Humphreys: At Bayern, nice guys don't win
Ancelotti pays price for poor results and tactical suicide against PSG
Carlo Ancelotti was hired to succeed where Pep Guardiola supposedly "failed".
The avuncular Italian had to bring the Champions League trophy back to Bayern Munich.
Their humiliating 3-0 Group B defeat by Paris Saint-Germain yesterday morning (Singapore time) suggests a successful expedition in Europe is highly unlikely this season. That was just about forgivable.
But the thought of failure on the continent and at home in the Bundesliga was unacceptable, practically inconceivable.
That was a sackable offence. Bayern's powerbrokers were left with no choice and parted ways with the 58-year-old Italian yesterday.
Assistant coach Willy Sagnol will take charge of the team on an interim basis.
Domestic supremacy is a given, a way of life in Munich. As night follows day, the Bundesliga title follows another dominant league campaign.
Patience isn't a virtue in the boardroom. It simply doesn't exist. Club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had already spoken of "consequences" after Bayern's heaviest defeat in the Champions League group stage.
The one-sided debacle wasn't an anomaly, but the discernible beginnings of a slump, a clear sign of a coach in a rut.
Our team's performances since the start of the season have not met our expectations. The match in Paris clearly showed we had to take immediate action.Bayern Munich chairman ?Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
A two-goal lead against Wolfsburg inexplicably ended up being a 2-2 draw in the Bundesliga last Friday, an embarrassment that followed an earlier defeat by Hoffenheim.
Rummenigge could not hesitate. Even Ancelotti's reputation and resume cannot trump the reputation, resume and expectations at Bayern.
In essence, he was the right manager with the wrong managerial skills.
Always successful, always popular, the charismatic Italian has charmed dressing rooms and press conferences alike for decades.
In an insular, egotistical world of raging superstars, he has long served as a coaching emollient, soothing tension and repairing fractured relationships.
He steadied the ship at Chelsea after the troubled, divisive era of Luiz Felipe Scolari and steered them towards a domestic Double. He massaged egos in Madrid and moved the moneybags around in Paris.
The results were always the same: trophies, lots of trophies. Everything Ancelotti touched turned into silver.
But Bayern are different, Germanic beasts. Guardiola and the Treble-winning Jupp Heynckes rarely had to waste time and energy on flaky temperaments and rebellious divas (aside from the occasional public spat between Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery of course).
Bayern are driven and focused, the most successful products of the Bundesliga coaching revolution. Man-management was less important than tactical nous.
Ancelotti's laconic wit and laid-back outlook on life couldn't cut it in Bayern's colder, clinical environment. The German side crave a coaching template, philosophy and transparent grand plan.
That's a reason Guardiola was spared for so long. Despite never winning the Champions League, Rummenigge and Co. acknowledged a clear strategy was in place and the football was usually fun to watch.
Besides, the domestic pots continued to pile up on the shelf.
But Ancelotti's tactical set-up against PSG was suicidal, a needless act of self-harm that handed the initiative to the hosts.
His decision to plump for a high defensive line with a second-string back four against the most incisive front three in Europe right now was as naive as it was reckless.
Paris needed two minutes to mock Ancelotti's startling decision to leave Mats Hummels on the bench and drop Jerome Boateng altogether.
Dani Alves and Kylian Mbappe on the right and Neymar on the left danced along the flanks, revelling in the space left behind by Ancelotti's narrow formation.
Neither Ribery nor Robben started. The veteran wingers' age should be taken into account, but Bayern offered no width, pace or invention from first minute to last.
After the defeat, Robben was asked if the squad backed their coach. "I won't answer this question," the Dutchman replied.
Coaches can soldier on briefly without the unqualified support of either the dressing room or the boardroom, but not both.
If they lose their players and their paymasters, it's time to clear their desks.
Rummenigge may be partially culpable for Bayern's wayward transfer policy, but the club's tactical shortcomings in Europe are down to Ancelotti.
Bayern were hopelessly outclassed by Real Madrid last season, which isn't a disaster in itself, but the German giants' indifferent performances against lesser sides are more damning.
The recent 3-0 scoreline against Anderlecht flattered Bayern. The Belgian side lost a man and Bayern toiled for long periods.
Away from home, Ancelotti won just two of his last nine Champions League games, losing five of them.
Even worse, Bayern are third in the Bundesliga after a terrible pre-season, confirming that the PSG defeat is part of a wider, unacceptable malaise.
Ancelotti's affable demeanour has served him well in the past, relying on his warmth to fix broken dressing rooms.
But Bayern's automatons are programmed to win. They don't need a proverbial arm around the shoulder. They need tactical direction.
PSG proved there wasn't any.
Ancelotti has now learnt the hard way that nice guys don't last in Munich.