Jonker replaces sacked Van Gaal
Bayern Munich have placed their faith in Andries Jonker to lead them into the UEFA Champions League next season after parting company with Louis van Gaal today. Van Gaal was sacked after yesterday's 1-1 draw against Nurnberg saw the record German champions drop to fourth in the Bundesliga with just five games of the season remaining.
Jonker, who was Van Gaal's right-hand man, has been placed in charge for those five games and given the task of leading the club into the top three, something which the Bavarian club are confident he will achieve. "He enjoys the utmost faith within this club," said Bayern's director of sport Christian Nerlinger. "We have faith in him and believe that he will be able to master this challenge.
"It was not just a spur of the moment decision to pass the responsibility over to him. We know how much he cares for this club and that he is happy here and enjoys the team's respect. He has shown that today. He is 100 per cent convinced that we will reach the goals we have."
Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge explained that there had been "no alternative" but to part company with Van Gaal last night. He and the club's decision makers met at the club's headquarters after yesterday's draw in Nurnberg and they informed the Dutchman of their decision soon after.
And president Uli Hoeness said it was a decision which was a long time in coming. "It all started getting messy when he (Van Gaal) dropped Hans-Jorg Butt and replaced him with Thomas Kraft," he said. "That brought insecurity into the defence and we could not hold out for much longer.
"Football should be enjoyable, but there has been nothing enjoyable about football at FC Bayern for a while now. And to say that he had the players behind him was a myth."
Hoeness carried on by blaming Van Gaal for the recent crowd protests against his own person, saying the Dutchman's opposition to the planned bid for Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had created divisions in the club.
"The Manuel Neuer issue would never have escalated like it did and we would never have had any problems with the fans," he said. "Problems were created which were totally unnecessary and which have ripped the club to pieces. Louis Van Gaal should consider what he has done."
Bayern now find themselves in the same situation they were in two years ago before Van Gaal arrived having parted company from one coach in the hope that the move will provide a spark to the team.
Jupp Heynckes managed to lead Bayern into the Champions League after replacing Jurgen Klinsmann in 2009 and Jonker will now have to do the same before Heynckes returns to the club in the summer.
"He held a remarkable speech in front of the team," reported Rummenigge. "He said that will take over everything which was good, but that he will change things which, in his view, are in need of being changed. I believe that Andries Jonker has a very clear plan."
His first game in charge could be crucial as Bayern host second-placed Bayer Leverkusen next weekend knowing a defeat would end their hopes of finishing second this season and leave them only third place to play for. And that is not something they can take for granted either as they trail Hannover by one point.