FC Bayern Munich is expected to change a lot with Thomas Tuchel as coach. The former Dortmund and Mainz player attaches great importance to tactical discipline. In the past, working against the ball and focused pressing was important to him. What does this mean for players?
A basic question should be which system Tuchel will use at FCB. Until about two years ago, the 49-year-old preferred a back four. But at Chelsea he almost always relied on a three- or five-man chain.
Because Tuchel acted almost exclusively with trained full-backs as defensive wings – actually more with a chain of five. However, this could lead to problems for Bayern, because FCB has an excellent attacking team, especially on the wings. For Kingsley Coman in his current form, he needs to find a place in the starting XI. That would speak for Bayern’s old 4-2-3-1 system as a basic formation.
FC Bayern: Possible winners of the change of coach
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a back four or five – in the past the new coach has relied on real full-backs who like to find their way into the offensive. Joao Cancelo should suddenly be the top favorite for a starting XI place at right back. Under Julian Nagelsmann, the Portuguese was only a substitute on several occasions.
This was mainly due to Coman, who played his right wing position. He is probably no longer a competitor at Tuchel – so Cancelo has to prevail against Benjamin Pavard, Josip Stanisic and Noussair Mazraoui. And in the right-back position, not in a central defender mixed role. Cancelo has very good chances there.
Serge Gnabry was also a loser in the chain of three that Julian Nagelsmann recently preferred. The right winger does not like to play the wing defender position and did not satisfy the ex-coach there either. After being substituted at half-time against Borussia Mönchengladbach, he did not return to the starting eleven there.
Gnabry was allowed to play again as a center forward against FC Augsburg, but didn’t know how to convince here either. He was not involved in any of five team goals – against Leverkusen he was again on the bench. He doesn’t have his best position on the double ten, nor as a single or double striker – he’s a right winger. If Tuchel returns to 4-2-3-1, Gnabry should be back in his best position.
Sadio Mané has not yet been the big coup that everyone thought he was last summer. Initially he started as a centre-forward, but had his problems there. Then Nagelsmann pushed him back to the left wing position, where he could shine. After a long injury, which also caused him to miss the World Cup, this position no longer existed in the new system. So Mané went back to the top – with moderate success. Three substitutions, an assist in the starting eleven against Augsburg and a substitution after 45 minutes against Leverkusen have been on paper since his return.
That should get better under Tuchel. If a back four is played again, Mané is likely to go left again. In addition, Tuichel also played more often with wingers up front at Chelsea, and Mané could possibly use them more effectively here as well. The new coach is said to have convinced Hasan Salihamidzic with his concept for Bayern – which is likely to have played a major role in Brazzo’s top transfer last summer. Otherwise the head of sports might look bad.
Phone, Gravenberch, Mazraoui
In addition to the clear individual beneficiaries, various reservists also get their chance to prove themselves again and to be recommended for larger tasks. Mathys Tel has recently had rotation assignments – at 17 he can actually be satisfied. But there is more. Noussair Mazraoui had just fought his way into the RV position when he was injured. Recently there was a lack of a position for him. Now he has to prove himself against Cancelo, but everything is open.
And Ryan Gravenberch will also get another chance. For the Dutchman there was hardly any playing time under Julian Nagelsmann. He was only allowed to start against Gladbach in 2023, when he left the field after 45 minutes. He has also been on the bench four times since the Winter World Cup. Although Tuchel’s aggressive midfield pressing hardly corresponds to Gravenberch’s strengths, he may still be able to convince the new boss.
Very little may have changed for the national goalkeeper in terms of sport. But with Julian Nagelsmann, the coach who was partly, if not primarily, responsible for the dismissal of his close friend Toni Tapalovic is now gone. In this respect, the 2014 world champion should be happy about the change of coach. But a trusting relationship with the head coach is also very important for his sporting future. It remains to be seen whether he will have that with Thomas Tuchel. The tense relationship with Nagelsmann could have led to further unrest.
FC Bayern: Possible losers of the change of coach
Most recently, the Croatian was repeatedly referred to as Julian Nagelsmann’s darling. Josip Stanisic was a clear beneficiary of the back three, acted variably as a right central defender and, if necessary, moved to the back four. Nagelsmann relied on Bayern’s homegrown talent.
There are several hurdles to be overcome under Tuchel: First of all, the three-man chain has to remain, otherwise the competition with Cancelo and Mazraoui doubles on the right. He also has to convince the new head coach again. Stanisic may not play too much this season.
Similar to Stanisic, Benjamin Pavard was also a winner of the back three. On the one hand, he showed outstanding performance. On the other hand, he was finally allowed to play in his desired position again. Recently it was even said that a contract extension at Bayern would be an option again. There is said to have been a secret meeting with his advisors.
But should Tuchel now switch to a back four, that’s a bad sign for the Frenchman. As a central defender, he will probably not be able to get past Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano – and the competition is also enormous on the right. It threatens the bank and possibly a summer transfer instead of extending the record champions.
Of course, the midfield strategist will not lose his regular place – Joshua Kimmich is set. However, his role under Thomas Tuchel is likely to change significantly. The ex-Dortmunder relies on a structured style of play and has given his team a clear tactical corset in the past.
Kimmich is currently the free spirit of the team at FC Bayern. The nominal six often surprised with offensive excursions and anything but structured positional play. In addition, Joshua Kimmich was considered a close confidant of Nagelsmann. The two are said to have maintained a very close relationship. At the DFB press conference on Friday, Kimmich put Nagelsmann “in the top three of my previous coaches” and described him as an “outstanding coach”.
Similar to Kimmich, Leroy Sané’s free spirit under Thomas Tuchel could no longer develop freely. In his previous teams, there was usually only one player who acted as a creative anchor – and Jamal Musiala should clearly have the “Mason Mount role” at FC Bayern. Sané plays world class in his good games, but it could be too rare for Tuchel.
Anyone who thinks of the legendary angry speech of the then Mainz coach against Shawn Parker will probably also discover some similarities with Leroy Sané: “Shawn, Shawn! What ideas do you play football with? You come to training and only do what you want. There is not a single ball for our game, it’s just your own game. Here’s another trick, there’s another trick and here’s another idea – and not one of them works. It’s up here for me, honestly!” Thomas Tuchel raged at the time .
FC Bayern: The coaches of the past ten years
|Thomas Tuchel||24.03.2023||06/30/2025 (preliminary.)|
|Willy Sagnol (Interim)||28.09.2017||05.10.2017|