5 reasons why Carlo Ancelotti and Bayern Munich are in trouble

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg
These are challenging times for Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti

Defeats against Liverpool and Napoli in the Audi Cup this week served only to emphasise that there are desperate times ahead for Bayern Munich. Carlo Ancelotti's squad were convincingly beaten by both teams in front of their own fans at the Allianz Arena, and the increasing number of empty seats served as a huge warning that there is trouble in Bavaria.

Bayern Munich failed to score in the respective 0-3 and 0-2 defeats, and while the Bundesliga may not test the limits of their undoubtedly talented squad, lifting the UEFA Champions League now seems even beyond Ancelotti's impressive competition credentials. So what has happened to this former giant of the European game? Here are the top five reasons why this is a time of significant transition at the Allianz.

#5 Bayern have lost their identity

Juventus  v FC Bayern Muenchen  - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Philipp Lahm was a hugely influential figure at the club

Philipp Lahm announced his retirement at the end of last season after serving the club for the best part of two decades. A German football legend for club and country, he defined what it means to represent the club, and his influence will be missed as much on the training ground and in the changing room as it will be on the pitch.

However, Lahm's departure follows on from that of Bastian Schweinsteiger in 2015, and the club has been unable to replace these two German heroes that have devoted their entire careers to wearing the club colours. Their respective contributions to the cause cannot be underestimated, their loss to the club cannot be measured.

Without the likes of Lahm and Schweinsteiger, Bayern lack the identity that has defined them over the years.

#4 Carlo needs a rest

FC Bayern Audi China Summer Tour 2015 - Press Conference
Pep Guardiola took a sabbatical away from the game before taking over at Bayern Munich

So does many of the best managers. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have taken recent sabbaticals away from the pressures and intensities of managing at the highest level to take stock and refresh themselves ahead of their next challenges. This has not been the case for Carlo Ancelotti, hopping from the pressures of Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid and now to Bayern Munich without a break over the course of the last decade. And this has no doubt taken its toll on the Italian.

Ancelotti boasts an incredible record as a manager, and his ability to succeed in the Champions League is without a doubt what attracts the biggest clubs to him. However, he has a huge challenge ahead of him at Bayern and even Guardiola who took a year out before embarking on the same project.

Ancelotti is a good fit for Bayern Munich, but they need him at his best.

#3 Alonso no more

Real Madrid CF v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg
The midfield quality of Xabi Alonso cannot be replaced

An incredible player for club and country, Spanish midfield playmaker Xabi Alonso will be considered one of the greatest ever in his position, and his retirement is another departure that Bayern Munich cannot immediately recover from. An incredible talent and calming influence in the centre of midfield, Alonso not only dictated the pace of the game but could also open up defences with each perfectly placed long-range pass.

But while his departure was obviously a huge blow, it also coincided with the exit of Philip Lahm, and to lose two players of such quality is clearly significant. But Alonso and Lahm offer more than just on the field talent, as both players show the intense level of commitment and dedication needed to consistently succeed at the very highest level.

They were an inspiration to the rest of the squad, and not only have they not been replaced, but they are irreplaceable.


#2 The signs of age

Bayern Muenchen v SC Freiburg - Bundesliga
Arturo Vidal is one of a number of key Bayern Munich players that are the wrong side of 30

A look through the ages of Bayern Munich's strongest starting line-up raises concerns about the future. For those in the side that have not already turned 30, they are not far behind. Manuel Neuer, Rafinha, Arturo Vidal, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben have already passed the milestone. Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and Robert Lewandowski will all join them over the course of the next 18 months.

Bayern have attempted to bring in an injection of youthful exuberance in Renato Sanchez, but the teenage Portuguese prodigy has disappointed despite impressing his country at the European Championships last summer.

The club needs players to bridge the gap between youth and experience in order to build towards a better future, and the hands of time suggest that this big rebuilding project is at a very early stage.

#1 Domestic domination provides no challenge

Bayern Muenchen v SC Freiburg - Bundesliga
Domestic success is expected at Bayern Munich

Regardless of the problems, Bayern Munich will again enjoy domestic success in the Bundesliga this season, and will probably add the odd German cup or two to the trophy room along the way. Despite the above concerns, they face few challenges as they go about their daily business, and the size and financial power of the club dictate that domestic success will follow once again.

But it is the Champions League trophy that Bayern Munich again dream of lifting, and the history and demands of the club insist upon such success. Domestic achievements are expected, not celebrated, and like Guardiola before him, Ancelotti knows that he will be judged on his ability to take the club back to the top of the European football tree.

Sadly for the Italian, it is unlikely to happen with this current squad of players, and his tenure at the Allianz already appears destined to end in disappointment.

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Edited by Souvik Roy Chowdhury
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