Berlin: Germany coach Joachim Loew has emerged as a possible replacement for Bayern Munich boss Louis van Gaal when the latter leaves at the end of the season, one year early, press reports said on Tuesday.
Mass circulation Bild, who broke the story of Van Gaal's premature departure on Monday, said that contact has already been established between Bayern bosses and Loew, who guided Germany to third place in the 2010 World Cup.
Loew, however, has pledged his commitment to the national side until at least the end of the European Championships in June-July 2012 whereas Bayern need someone to take over at the end of this season.
Another possibility cited in the press is veteran Champions League-winning coach Jupp Heynckes, currently at Bayer Leverkusen, whose contract is running out.
Former Germany captain Matthias Sammer, now director of sport at the German Football Federation (DFB), is also reportedly in the frame, as is Turkey coach and former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink.
Martin Jol, formerly at Ajax, Hamburg and Tottenham, has also been cited as a replacement at the Allianz Arena.
Van Gaal, whose contract was due to run until 2012, had his job cut one year early after a string of poor results, with the German giants losing their last three games -- their worst run in more than 10 years.
Only one year after taking them to the league and cup double and a Champions League final, Van Gaal has presided over a much less successful season, with Bayern currently fifth in the league, 19 points off the pace.
The 59-year-old Dutchman has remained silent since the news broke of his early departure and did not attend a terse news conference at Bayern Munich on Monday.
Bild tracked him down, only to get this reply, according to the paper: "I'm angry. I'm not used to journalists ringing me up. This has really disturbed me. I'm not saying anything over the phone."