“My wife sometimes wondered who she was with there”
This is how satisfaction must feel: Thomas Tuchel was fired in Paris on Christmas Eve because they did not trust him to win the Champions League. Five months later, he proves the opposite with Chelsea. Remarkable scenes play out.
HParis St. Germain had hurriedly terminated him as coach because he did not win the Champions League with the French. The fact that he narrowly failed in the final at Bayern just a few months earlier made the decision all the more curious.
Five months later, Thomas Tuchel is at the top of European football: with Chelsea, whom he has been coaching since January, the 47-year-old football teacher won the Champions League final on Saturday evening against Manchester City coached by Pep Guardiola 1-0 (1 : 0).
It was a German evening without a German club. The celebrated winning goal was scored by the only 21-year-old national player Kai Havertz in the 42nd minute. It was his first ever goal in the Champions League.
Afterwards there was no stopping it. Tuchel was the first to storm the winners’ podium, kissed the silver handle pot – and then let his Chelsea pros and the overjoyed Havertz walk to the cheering fans in the stands. Then remarkable scenes played out that one is not used to in the otherwise reserved Tuchel.
Family photos on the pitch
With his two daughters by the hand and his wife Sissi, who jumped wildly into his arms, the German coach enjoyed his greatest sporting triumph. Namely those whom Paris, which failed in the semi-finals at Manchester, had not given him credit for.
“I’m walking through a film,” said Tuchel, describing his emotional state: “It’s the most beautiful thing that could have happened. My family is here. My parents, who drove me to every soccer field, my wife, who was already in the Landesliga Süd and sometimes wondered who she was with. My grandmother, who is now over 90 watching at home. I know how happy they are. For them this is now. And for the fans. The whole game is for the fans. The game is a completely different game when there are fans. “
14.110 were allowed in the dragon stadium in Porto after so many ghost games in the corona pandemic. They saw a victory for the coach Tuchel. Thanks to his brilliant tactics, which demystified Pep Guardiola’s Manchester, Chelsea won. The otherwise strong offensive Manchester managed just seven shots on goal.
“We also needed luck to go out without conceding a goal,” said Tuchel, who led the wandering Chelsea team to a Champions League spot in the league by giving them structure and self-confidence in just a few weeks.
This could be seen again on Saturday. While Guardiola tampered with his tactics too much and, for example, ordered Ilkay Gündogan, who had recently been so strong on the offensive, back into defensive midfield, Tuchel relied on what had made Chelsea so strong in recent weeks: a good defensive and lightning-fast attacks. Tuchel relegated the English champions to a harmless team that evening. Only a few have achieved this in the recent past.
The German coach hat trick
Tuchel described it this way: “We felt it yesterday, we felt it the day before yesterday. We are the stone in the shoe of Manchester City. If we can take the lead, then we will strike, and then it will be a defensive battle, and it will be it. “
For Chelsea it was the second Champions League victory after 2012. At that time, the club won at Bayern despite oppressive superiority. This time too, the Londoners were outsiders, but this time they deserved to win.
At the same time, the win also meant a German coach hat trick. In 2019 Jürgen Klopp won the title with Liverpool FC, in 2020 Hans-Dieter Flick won the title with FC Bayern. Now Tuchel sits on the European coaching throne. And fully deserved.