Five years after they first tried to bring Thomas Tuchel to the Allianz Arena Bayern Munich have finally got their man. But only after the savage sacking of Julian Nagelsmann. Lauded on Monday, but fired on Thursday showed that Bayern will not tolerate even the smallest deviation from total success. The hope now is that Tuchel can deliver the ‘new era’ that was hoped for under Nagelsmann. Is this a marriage made in heaven, or are Bayern fans going to be in for a rocky road?
Had Uli Hoeness not spent so long trying to talk treble-winning Jupp Heynckes out of his retirement plan, then Bayern could have landed Thomas Tuchel back in 2018. By the time Hoeness finally admitted that Heynckes wouldn’t budge Tuchel had taken charge at Paris St Germain and they moved onto Plan C with Niko Kovac.
Since leaving Borussia Dortmund Tuchel has won two French league titles and the French Cup with PSG and the Champions League with Chelsea. Bayern will hope that he can steer the club to success in the remaining part of this season and then onto continued glory.
Tuchel clearly is a highly respected coach and the speed with which Bayern Munich moved when it became apparent that Tottenham were in serious contention to secure his services shows the esteem that Bayern hold him. Herbert Hainer, Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic were prepared to savagely sack Julian Nagelsmann to ensure they got Tuchel rather than anyone else.
Tuchel led Chelsea to Champions League glory over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in 2021 after coming in late in the season to replace Frank Lampard. He had lost the previous year’s final while at PSG. While at Dortmund he achieved the club’s highest points-per-game average in the Bundesliga with 2.12.
The 49-year-old is tactically very astute, demands a lot from his players and plans meticulously. There is however a but with Tuchel. The former Mainz coach has often rubbed people up the wrong way coming across as very impatient, robotic and there has been criticism over his man management of players.
At Borussia Dortmund, PSG and Chelsea, issues off the field/ his personality led to his eventual downfall. Do Bayern believe history won’t repeat itself in Bavaria?
“Tuchel is an exceptionally good coach, that’s clear,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke explained back in 2017 “In principle, he was a top solution to succeed [Jürgen] Klopp because he had incredible abilities on the pitch. But sometimes things don’t work in harmony.”
The club had been warned by Mainz that Tuchel would be a difficult character to deal with and so it proved. There were numerous clashes with scout Sven Mislintat and he once lambasted his players as “technically, tactically and mentally deficient” after a defeat.
At PSG he often clashed with sporting director Leonardo and often complained about not getting the respect he deserved. Most recently his tenure at Chelsea came to a sudden and surprising end when American Todd Boehly bough the club and started splashing the cash. Disagreements over recruitment policy are reported to be the cause of the breakdown. There were also rumours of fallings out with players such as Raheem Sterling.
There is a pattern with Tuchel. Results improve when he arrives and he can bring success on the pitch thanks to his tactical acumen and ability as a coach. The flipside is that his personality and demands often irk and whether that is a great fit at a club such as Bayern with such a star-filled squad remains to be seen.
On paper it is a match made in heaven with one of the world’s top coaches with one of the world’s top clubs. The level of ambition of the pair is equally matched and a harmonious period of success could be on the cards.
But, Tuchel does bring a ‘dark side’ and once the honeymoon period is over it is highly foreseeable that cracks will appear in the relationship and a return to the FC Hollywood days of Bayern’s yesteryear could return.
Strap yourselves in Bayern fans, it’s going to be an interesting ride.