Bayern Munich hires Vincent Kompany as coach, ending lengthy search for Tuchel replacement

Vincent Kompany is the unlikely new coach of Bayern Munich after a lengthy search that saw the German club rejected by several top candidates.

The 38-year-old former Manchester City captain arrives at Bayern tasked with overseeing a turnaround after his predecessor, Thomas Tuchel, led the team only to a third-place finish in the Bundesliga, 18 points off champion Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern said Kompany had signed a three-year contract. Kompany was Burnley's manager in the English Premier League and won praise for his team’s attractive style despite relegation this past season. He had been under contract at Burnley through 2028. There was no immediate confirmation of the size of the release fee.

Kompany said he saw the Bayern job as a welcome challenge and signaled he would bring the same tactical philosophy to Germany.

“As a coach, you have to stand for what you are as a character: I love having the ball, being creative — but we also have to be aggressive and courageous on the pitch," Kompany said in a Bayern statement. "I’m now looking forward to the basics: working with the players, building a team. Once the basis is right, success will follow."

Kompany's old coach at City, Pep Guardiola, praised Kompany's coaching skills last year and said it was “written in the stars” that the former center-back would manage City one day. Guardiola is fondly remembered at Bayern, where he coached from 2013 through 2016. Since then, no coach has lasted two full seasons at Bayern.

Bayern’s board member for sport Max Eberl said the club was hoping for “more continuity” in its coaching after signing Kompany.

A former City teammate awaits Kompany at Bayern. Forward Leroy Sané played alongside Kompany from 2016 until the Belgian left the club in 2019. He'll also join forces with Harry Kane after the two went head to head in the Premier League when the forward played at Tottenham.

Even though he arrives at a low point for Bayern, Kompany will still be expected to win trophies and potentially reach the 2025 Champions League final, which is to be played at Bayern's own Allianz Arena.

Kompany’s appointment is one of the most prominent roles for a Black coach in European soccer in recent years.

“Whilst we were initially confident in retaining our manager, the changing dynamics of the situation made this impossible,” Burnley said in a statement.

“We understand the allure and prestige of a club like Bayern Munich and respect Vincent’s ambition to explore new opportunities. We wish only the best for Vincent and would like to put on record our appreciation for his dedication every single day he was a part of this football club.”

The announcement ends a search that took more than three months since the club said in February that Tuchel would leave at the end of the season.

Kompany was far from Bayern’s top choice and his record last season with Burnley is hardly typical of a new coach for the 33-time German champion team.

Rejections from Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso, Germany’s Julian Nagelsmann and Austria’s Ralf Rangnick shook a club that is used to getting its way.

Running out of options, Bayern tried — and failed — to persuade Tuchel to stay after all, even though he led the team to its first season without a trophy since 2012.

In a sign of how chaotic the process became, Bayern’s approach to Tuchel came weeks after he said honorary president Uli Hoeness had insulted him with comments claiming Tuchel didn’t help young players develop.

This season ended an 11-year run of consecutive Bundesliga titles for Bayern. A narrow loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals partly redeemed the campaign, but Tuchel’s tenure ended on a low note with a 4-2 loss to Hoffenheim in his last league game.

Kompany is swapping the Championship for the Champions League and Bayern may hope he can be its answer to Alonso.

Both are relatively early in their coaching careers, both were successful at the highest level as players — Kompany has a statue outside Man City’s ground — and both played under Guardiola.

Like Alonso, the Belgian also has experience of playing in Germany after spending two years with Hamburger SV from 2006 before his 11-year stay at City. Kompany took his first steps in coaching with Anderlecht in Belgium before moving in 2022 to Burnley, where he completely changed the team’s playing style and earned promotion to the Premier League in his first season in charge.


AP soccer:

James Ellingworth, The Associated Press