Rummenigge: We must pull together
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has called on everybody at the club to pull together to bring the current season to as successful a conclusion as possible.
After announcing that Louis van Gaal's contract will be terminated by mutual consent in the summer, Rummenigge wants attention to turn back to the club's on-field issues and for the team to do all they can to ensure they qualify for the Champions League next season.
''Fifth place in the Bundesliga and elimination from the DFB-Pokal have given us without any doubt a difficult situation to master,'' he said. ''Despite the fact that Louis van Gaal and FC Bayern will be going their separate ways in a few months' time, we all agree that we have got to combine all of our strength on still reaching our minimum goals.
''Of course we know that it is going to be very difficult to still reach the Champions League next season, but we will do all we can to achieve it. Only the remaining nine Bundesliga games will decide if we are successful.''
Bayern are even more desperate to play in the Champions League next season since the final will be staged in their Allianz Arena home. They still have the chance of qualifying as defending champions as they prepare to welcome Inter Milan in Munich next week with a 1-0 lead from the first leg to defend.
However, Rummenigge is being realistic about his side's chances, even though he expects his side to beat the Nerazzurri.
''We still have one or several matches in the Champions League and we have got to wait and see if we can reach our objective of at least qualifying for the quarter-finals,'' he added. ''That is all I have got to say.''
Bayern dropped to fifth in the Bundesliga at the weekend after losing 3-1 at Hannover. They are currently seven points adrift of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and what would be a guaranteed place in the Champions League next season.
Third place, which would mean a play-off for a place in the group stages, is currently occupied by Hannover, who are five points ahead. Bayern face seventh-placed Hamburg looking to end a run of three straight defeats on Saturday.
Former Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who took over from Jurgen Klinsmann for just three months in 2009 before making way for Van Gaal, is understood to be one of the leading candidates to replace Van Gaal.
He is currently in charge of Bayer Leverkusen, the side who could well prevent Bayern from qualifying for the Champions League next season. His close friendship with Bayern president Uli Hoeness has made him a natural choice, but Leverkusen's director of sport Rudi Voller is convinced that he would not walk away from all he has achieved in 18 months there.
"I really cannot imagine that happening,'' he told the Express newspaper. "I have spoken to him a lot lately and the word 'Bayern' has never come up. He is doing a fantastic job here.
"We are on course for the Champions League and, have you seen how Mainz's Andre Schurrle (who will join Leverkusen next season) performed against Hamburg? That was a world class performance and I am sure that he (Heynckes) will not want to miss coaching that lad.''
Voller actually believes that Heynckes will end the speculation by himself by signing a new contract as Leverkusen coach.
"I am optimistic that a decision will be made in the coming days,'' he said.
Germany coach Joachim Low, Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp and Mainz's Thomas Tuchel have also been mentioned while Rafa Benitez is believed to be leading the list of foreign candidates.