With the majority of the players away on international duty the fallout from the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann and his replacement with Thomas Tuchel will not be fully felt at Bayern Munich until the middle of next week when their stars return to the Säbener Straße. Captain Joshua Kimmich may be one of those most affected by the departure of the coach with the two having a particularly close working relationship.
When the news broke on Thursday that Bayern had savagely ditched coach Julian Nagelsmann with nine Bundesliga matches left this season, it is fair to say the decision took everybody by surprise. When the players put out their initial reactions via social media, it was Kimmich who straight away leapt to defend his former mentor.
“I completely understand that this is a big topic at the moment” Kimmich explained on Friday while preparing for Germany’s friendly with Peru.” But there has been no confirmation from the club, so I can’t and won’t say much about it.
“I can only say that Julian Nagelsmann is an outstanding coach. I’ve had a lot of top coaches, and I’d say he’s easily in my top three.”
The 28-year-old was Nagelsmann’s closest confidant and his first point of contact in the team. The two had even spent time together over Christmas such was the level of friendship between them.
The unveiling of Thomas Tuchel on Saturday gave the Bayern bosses Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic the chance to explain their decision, but Kimmich seemed to contradict them hours later after Germany had beaten Peru in Mainz.
A supposed breakdown in trust between the players and the 35-year-old coach was cited by Kahn and it was intimated that the players had stopped playing for the coach- exemplified by their 2-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen.
“’No, I wouldn’t say that” Kimmich told TZ. “The reasons are that we didn’t win enough games and weren’t successful enough. Of course, we are represented in all competitions. You could see that we didn’t perform properly in the Bundesliga. We only won five out of ten games.
“But I can say that the coach has not lost the dressing room. I’ve already been through a couple of coaching changes: it wasn’t the case that it was indicated internally in the dressing room because the players were dissatisfied. We were surprised.”
Kimmich doesn’t speak for the entire squad, but his opinion does hold a great deal of clout at the club and with Manuel Neuer already at loggerheads with the club’s hierarchy, the club cannot afford to upset another key member of the squad. Thomas Tuchel will have a job on his hands to build up the relationship that Nagelsmann had and while a 100% professional, it is clear that Kimmich is somewhat miffed at the club’s actions.
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