Austria coach Ralf Rangnick becomes the latest to turn down Bayern Munich

MUNICH (AP) — Ralf Rangnick became the latest high-profile coach to turn down the vacant Bayern Munich job on Thursday.

Rangnick has decided to remain in charge of Austria beyond this summer’s European Championship.

“I am the Austrian team manager with all my heart. This job gives me incredible joy and I’m determined to continue successfully on the path we’ve chosen,” Rangnick said in a statement on the Austrian Football Association website. “I would like to expressly stress that this is not a rejection of FC Bayern, but a decision in favor of my team and our common goals.”

Rangnick’s decision is an embarrassing blow for Bayern, whose officials had been praising the 65-year-old former Leipzig and Manchester United coach in recent days.

“He has huge skills in developing players and teams. Everything I hear from people around the Austrian national team is very, very positive. And we ourselves have players who work under him,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said this week. “If he were to come, he would be a very good choice for us.”

Rangnick had emerged as the favorite to take over from the departing Thomas Tuchel as other candidates ruled themselves out.

Xabi Alonso stayed with Bayer Leverkusen, former Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann extended his contract with Germany, and Unai Emery opted to stay with Aston Villa.

Tuchel is leaving Bayern at the end of the season following a mutual agreement in February to end their collaboration after a run of three games without a win. Leverkusen went on to win the Bundesliga, ending Bayern’s 11-year reign as champion, but Tuchel could yet lead the club to Champions League glory.

Bayern faces Real Madrid for the second leg of their Champions League semifinal next week after a 2-2 draw in the first leg on Tuesday.

Rangnick may have had cause to reconsider after club powerbroker Uli Hoeneß harshly criticized Tuchel last week.

“We’re extremely happy about his decision,” Austria sports director Peter Schöttel said. “We understood he had two very attractive options and gave him the time to weigh everything up carefully. We’re proud that he has chosen Austria.”


AP soccer:

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