Sky says Bayern have approached Lopetegui; Schmidt rules himself out

Then Real Madrid's coach Julen Lopetegui gestures on the sideline during the UEFA Super cup soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Lillekula Stadium. Marius Becker/dpa

Bayern Munich have approached Julen Lopetegui in their prolonged search for a new coach, Germany broadcaster Sky reported on Saturday.

The Bild newspaper also said the Spaniard was now on Bayern's shortlist after Bayer Leverkusen's Xabi Alonso, Germany's Julian Nagelsmann and Austria's Ralf Rangnick all turned the record German champions down.

The 57-year-old most recently coached English Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers, but resigned in August. He has been strongly linked in the English press with West Ham United.

Lopetegui has previously coached the Spanish national team, Real Madrid and Sevilla, among others, but has never stayed long in a job. Bayern have only appointed German speakers since 2017 and Lopetegui is not fluent.

Bayern board member for sport Max Eberl told Sky before the Bundesliga game with VfB Stuttgart he would not comment on speculation.

He said Rangnick turning them down in midweek was "surprising" but "it is what it is and now we are moving on."

He added that another "door" may have suddenly opened without specifying. The club is acting "very, very sensibly" and "very, very conscientiously," he said.

Bild also reported that German Roger Schmidt, the Benfica coach, was also an option but he told reporters: "It's clear to me that I'm staying with Benfica until 2026. That's what I want. That's why I've signed a new contract."

The 57-year-old added: "I'm not on the market. I have a job at Benfica."

Bayern need a coach because of a previous agreement that Thomas Tuchel would leave at the end of the season, having surrendered the Bundesliga title to Leverkusen for the first time in 12 years. Many Bayern fans would like Tuchel to now stay but a recent spat with honorary president Uli Hoeneß makes that unlikely.

Club president Herbert Hainer told reporters "the agreement stands" between Bayern and Tuchel that he will leave in June.

Former Bayern technical director Michael Reschke said he does not understand "all the excitement. It's not the end of the world that Bayern haven't found a coach yet," he told Sport1. "Everyone would be well advised to simply trust (sporting directors) Max Eberl and Christoph Freund."

Former Bayern goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff has suggested an interim solution where former Bayern coach Hansi Flick, who won the treble with the club in 2020, returns for one season.

He fell out with boardroom figures when quitting in 2021 to take the Germany job, but was fired as national coach and it is unclear if he would be welcome back in Munich.

"Hansi Flick, who is currently out of a job, could take over for a year. The advantage of this solution would be that Eberl could take his time to look for a candidate to take over in 2025," Pfaff told the Münchner Abendzeitung.

Jürgen Klopp is taking at least a year's break when he leaves Liverpool at the end of the season. However, his previous history with Borussia Dortmund makes it unlikely he would want to coach Bayern.