Bayern confirm interest in Van Gaal

BERLIN - German champions Bayern Munich confirmed their interest in Dutch coach Louis van Gaal but said he was only one of several candidates to take over from next season.

Bayern sacked coach Jurgen Klinsmann last week after 10 months following a string of disappointing results and heavy defeats that led to them being eliminated from the Champions League and the German Cup and failing to top the Bundesliga.

Former Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes replaced Klinsmann for the remainder of the season but Bayern said a new coach would take over from July 1.

"Van Gaal is one of them (candidates)," Bayern General Director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the Munich newspaper tz on Tuesday. "But there are several other candidates as well."

Disciplinarian van Gaal, who has coached Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam and the Dutch national side, steered outsiders AZ Alkmaar to the Dutch title this season.

He is seen by many as a natural choice for Bayern as the club seek to return to basics after Klinsmann's frustrating and at times experimental season ended in disappointment after starting with the greatest of expectations for the former Germany coach.

"There is no reason to label one candidate as a frontrunner and another candidate as number two. After the talks we will have with the candidates, we will then sit down and decide who will be the new coach of Bayern from July 1," Rummenigge said.