Popular Carlo favoured to keep Bayern on top

BERLIN • Bayern Munich will chase a fifth straight Bundesliga title when the new season starts tomorrow, with new coach Carlo Ancelotti attempting to continue the dominance forged by predecessors Pep Guardiola and Jupp Heynckes.

The Bayern hierarchy are expecting the 57-year-old Ancelotti to keep the Bavarian giants, who kick off the new season at home to Werder Bremen tomorrow, at the pinnacle of German football.

Guardiola left for Manchester City at the end of last season, after sealing a third consecutive league title and the German Cup.

Heynckes signed off by delivering a treble in 2013, when they lifted the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

Like Heynckes, Ancelotti has a reputation of being a father-figure, who instills confidence in his players, in contrast to Guardiola, who dishes out specific instructions.

"Under Ancelotti, I finally feel like I'm trusted again," winger Franck Ribery told German magazine Kicker, before taking a swipe at Guardiola. "I don't need a coach to tell me what I have to do right on the pitch when I have the ball."

In contrast, Ancelotti will start with Bayern having been given the seal of approval by some of football's big names.

"He is not just your trainer, he is your friend. It's incredible," said Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who worked with Ancelotti at Paris-Saint Germain.

Cristiano Ronaldo praised Ancelotti's style after the Italian won the Champions League title with Real Madrid in 2014.

"I wish every player had the opportunity to work with him, because he's a fantastic guy, a fantastic coach," he said.

While Guardiola has won six league titles, three each with Barcelona and Bayern, Ancelotti has three - the Serie A with AC Milan in 2004, the Premier League with Chelsea in 2010 and Ligue 1 with PSG in 2013. But the Italian has won the Champions League three times while Bayern slipped to three successive semi-final defeats under Guardiola's tutelage.

"I'm trying to bring my own ideas here, but Pep's style of play was very good and I hope the players don't forget that," said Ancelotti.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Popular Carlo favoured to keep Bayern on top'. Print Edition | Subscribe