Hansi Flick has confirmed he will leave Bayern Munich.
The Bayern boss, who led the club to the Champions League, German Cup and Bundesliga crown in his debut season, has fallen out with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic in Bavaria.
Flick was frustrated with the club’s transfer dealings last summer after winning Europe’s biggest club competition, notably the decision to allow Thiago Alcantara to leave and the failure to sign a suitable backup for Robert Lewandowski.
Those decisions came home to roost in midweek, with the club’s exit from this season’s Champions League at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.
Now, speaking after Saturday’s 3-2 win over Wolfsburg which keeps Bayern in pole position to retain their league crown, Flick has announced his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
"I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season," said Flick on Saturday.
"It was important to me that the team learn this from me, because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
"We've done a great job together for almost two years. I'm absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude."
He added: "I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
"This decision was not easy for me. I'm a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
"I'm eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here."
Flick is widely expected to return to the German coaching set-up and replace Jogi Low after this summer's European Championship finals.
He was previously Low's right-hand man for over a decade, playing an integral part in Die Mannschaft's World Cup success in 2014.
However, he insists: "My future is not clear. It's all independent of the DFB. I just decided to take this step.
"Of course the DFB is an option that every coach has to consider."
Bayern captain Manuel Neuer said after Flick's announcement: "The reasons of the decision don't matter to us, it was emotional for all of us because we had such a successful time together. It was particularly important for him to inform us personally."
Talisman Thomas Muller, whose career at the Allianz Arena has been reinvigorated under Flick, added: "He didn't give us the exact reasons, and he didn't have to. He left a lot of energy in the intense past year and a half.
"To be a coach at FC Bayern, you need thick skin. The expectations are very high and you always have to stand by your team."
The 56-year-old initially joined Bayern as an assistant coach to Niko Kovac in July 2019, but was propelled into temporary charge following the Croatian's exit in early November.
Flick was only supposed to be a stand-in as Bayern searched for a big-name replacement, but so impressive was his work, he agreed to remain until the end of the season – before signing a deal until 2023 in April 2020.
The Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB Pokal crowns saw him named German Football Manager of the Year, as well as taking UEFA's Men's Coach of the Year award also.
Further success would come his and Bayern's way as they won a first-ever sextuple in the club's history, adding the UEFA Super Cup, FIFA World Club Cup and German Super Cup.
But behind the scenes he has been at the centre of a growing power battle with sporting director Salihamidzic – the man whom often sits alongside him on the Bayern bench during matches.
Flick is known to be against the club's decision to let David Alaba – who he has made the leader of his defence – leave on a free transfer this summer when his contract ends.
Alaba took to social media after the announcement to declare: "Huge steps together. Last steps together. Fighting till the end coach!"
And he is also furious with the decision to let Jerome Boateng's contract run out this summer; it's understood the ex-Germany international was told his deal wouldn't be extended on the day of the quarter-final first leg vs PSG.
But it was the failure to build on last year's success, that led to a number of late deals to fill holes in the squad back in October, that led Flick to declare recently: "Let me say it this way: I have been the head coach for a year and a half here. We had a team last year that was quality-wise better than this year, everyone knows that."
Of those four last-minute signings, three – Bouna Sarr, Marc Roca and Douglas Costa – have barely played, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has only featured recently due to an injury to Lewandowski.
The club's CEO, Karl-Heinz Rumenigge, urged last week: "We all have to pull together, to work together harmoniously, loyally and professionally.
"That is my clear demand of the sporting management. That's what has always distinguished FC Bayern."
Instead, at a meeting between club chiefs and Flick this week, he intimated his desire that he and the club now go there separate ways.
The only question is whether Flick makes it back-to-back Bundesliga triumphs before he goes.
Bayern will target RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann as their No.1 choice to replace Flick.
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