Carlo Ancelotti has said little in public since being sacked by Bayern Munich. He is off on a holiday – “a 10-month holiday” – initially at least in his wife’s native Vancouver. He has treated his departure as something thoroughly unremarkable.

“Was I surprised? No, it’s part of the job of being a manager,” he said. “It happens, you move on.”

It may be pride that keeps him from saying more on the record. Yet if he wasn’t surprised, he should have been. Because a club such as Bayern Munich removing a manager – one who dominated the previous domestic season, was desperately unlucky in a German Cup semi-final loss and only fell to two offside goals in the Champions League against Real Madrid – in late September is the equivalent of them hoisting a giant white flag above the Allianz Arena.

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We got it wrong. We surrender. That is the message. And no amount of post-fact spin is going to change that. Because if, as has been suggested, problems were rife, you have to wonder how the club could only have noticed 14 months into his tenure. And why they didn’t cut the cord in the summer, when the 2017/18 campaign could still have been salvaged.

“From my perspective, I always thought my relationship with the players was good,” Ancelotti said. “It’s always been that way, in 22 seasons of management. I don’t know if some of them were against me, but the bottom line is that I had decisions to make. That’s the manager’s job. It then becomes a question of whether the players have the intelligence to accept this and whether the club has the strength to support the manager.”

It is about more than that, of course. Clubs have to do what is best for the club and sometimes that means not supporting the manager. But the odd thing here is the timing. And who the club, if you buy the narrative peddled in the Bavarian media, chose to support. That is, players such as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, guys in their mid-30s with contracts that expire in June. The rest is conjecture, with a range of senior names – from Thomas Muller to Jerome Boateng to Mats Hummels – roped in

to the “mutiny’ albeit without ever quite speaking out. Singling them out as a bunch of Fletcher Christians is unfair, but the club are doing little to discourage it. In terms of public perception, attacking Ancelotti for not getting along with star players is a little like criticising Jose Mourinho for being too idealistic or Roy Keane for being too wimpy: it doesn’t fit what we have long believed and it doesn’t fit reality.

But that’s where Bayern have gone with it. And it’s ironic that, to replace him, they opted for someone who also comes with the reputation of being a “players’ coach”. Never mind the fact that Jupp Heynckes hasn’t worked in more than four years or that many seem to have forgotten the reason he left in the first place: his Bayern side lost the 2011/12 Champions League final to a sub-par Chelsea side and they did in front of their home crowd.

That is what prompted them to hire Guardiola and it has always been a delicious irony that Heynckes won a treble in the months after they had told him his methods were old-fashioned, he was too close to the players and he would be leaving to make way for Pep.

The working theory now is that Heynckes is the “safe pair of hands” to guide the club past Celtic on Wednesday night, through the group and knock-out stages of the Champions League, presumably with a sixth successive Bundesliga title thrown in for good measure. Whereupon, next summer, they will turn to the next young German savant, most likely Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann or possibly Thomas Tuchel, the former Dortmund boss.

It does feel as if the tandem at the top, Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, view this season as a final chance to squeeze as much as possible out of their golden generation. Robben and Ribery – 34 and 35 next summer – will be given one last run under Heynckes before being cut loose.

The pair will figure out whether Boateng can actually stay fit and be the player he was before 2014. Robert Lewandowski, 30 in the summer and perpetually linked with moves elsewhere, will get another crack at the big prize. Arturo Vidal will go on the market.

Cash raised from those departures, coupled with savings made by the relative inactivity of 2017 (a net spend of £60 million is a pittance for a club this size) and new investment will lay the foundations for the new Bayern.

And 2017/18 will be nothing more than a transition season and the clearing of the decks.

That’s the “creative destruction” theory. Despite sitting five points behind Borussia Dortmund going into the weekend, you would still expect them to finish as German champions, while a Champions League run can’t be ruled out either. That is merely a function of the polarisation in the game whereby the ultra-rich, no matter how often they screw up, always get second, third and fourth chances simply by having more.

Bayern remain as strong at goalkeeper (Manuel Neuer, when he returns from injury), centre-forward (Lewandowski) and full-back (David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich) as any team in the world. That, and a little luck, can take you far in Europe.

By the time the season ends, Hoeness might even have the nerve to spin it his way. If they succeed, he is a genius for bringing in Heynckes who, of course, at 72, has to make way. If they lose, he paved the way for the rebirth with his long and painful goodbye to yesterday’s stars by giving them one last bite at the cherry.