King Louis given stay of execution

Bayern Munich have confirmed that under-fire coach Louis van Gaal will leave the club at the end of the current season.

It was widely thought inevitable that the Dutchman would be sacked in the wake of Saturday's embarrassing league defeat at Hanover, which followed on closely from losses against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Schalke 04 in the German Cup semi-final.

Though he will remain with the Bavarians in the short term, van Gaal's current deal, which expires this summer, will be dissolved 12 months early, with Bayern citing a "difference in opinion about the strategic direction of the club".

It would appear that the Board are split, with the lack of a suitable replacement a significant factor in van Gaal's "stay of execution."

The club's Honorary President Franz Beckenbauer voiced his support for van Gaal in today's Bild newspaper: "He has made mistakes but has proven to be a great coach. I would much prefer him to a short-term solution."

Van Gaal, 59, won the double in his first season at Bayern and reached the Champions League final in 2010.

Bayern currently languish in 5th spot in the Bundesliga and, with Champions League qualification in real jeopardy, President Uli Hoeness stated at the weekend, "We need to take action, not talk."

A key factor in this decision is that the 2012 Champions League final is to be staged in the Allianz Arena in Munich and on current form Bayern won't even be invited to its own party!

Early favourites to take over the prestigious job include current Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes and former Spurs, Ajax and Hamburg boss Martin Jol.


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