Thomas Tuchel chose an elegant outfit for his return to the big soccer stage. Wearing a dark blue jacket, Julian Nagelsmann’s successor sat between CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic when he was introduced as the new FC Bayern coach on Saturday. The headlights in the press room of the Allianz Arena were reflected on his sweaty forehead – and possibly the respect for a Munich starting program that has it all.
The press conference on the day after Nagelsmann’s surprising exit from the German record champions could hardly have been more contrasting. First, the Munich management team declared the release of Nagelsmann (35) with a bewildered expression. Then Tuchel, with his clear ideas about his work as a successor, made for satisfied faces at his side.
Tuchel: “It’s all about winning”
“The DNA of the club is a commitment. It is very clearly defined. It’s about winning, it’s also about the way of winning. The squad is composed accordingly. You can play for any title with this squad,” said Tuchel, who has a contract until the summer of 2025. Kahn and Salihamidzic grinned contentedly at these words.
Six months after being kicked out of the London Premier League club Chelsea and five years after the first ties with Bayern, Tuchel began a delicate mission in his hometown of Munich. In the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League, he can make the first triple steps in crucial games – or lose his first title. “Of course that puts me under pressure. But when you sign with Bayern, it’s about playing for all the titles,” said Tuchel before the groundbreaking weeks.
Munich’s new head coach seemed relaxed, honest and extremely realistic when he spoke about what was to come. “Not all players will be super happy. There’s a big shift when a head coach leaves. Uncertainty can arise there,” said Tuchel openly about the existing situation and the associated risks. “But it’s still the case that we love the pressure, love the stress. That’s what my life is all about.”
From Monday, the Swabian will prepare Munich for the classic game against Dortmund after the international break. The next test of strength is on April 4 in the cup quarter-finals against Freiburg, before a week later the quarter-finals first leg in the premier class at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Explosive: In the 2021 Champions League final, Tuchel won with Chelsea against Guardiola’s Citizens. FC Bayern would like to see Tuchel’s next premier class coup this year.
The 49-year-old’s glorious application certificate convinced the Bayern bosses. “An impressive CV,” confirmed CEO Kahn to the new coach. “We need a top man like that now,” said sporting director Salihamidzic. The sports director started negotiations with Tuchel on Tuesday. “I called Thomas. Then he says: What do you want? I say: If you don’t feel like it, then hang up,” Salihamidzic described the first contact with a laugh.
Unlike the comparatively quick contract talks, Tuchel had to wait a long time on Saturday before the doors to the large press room in the arena opened for him too. Kahn and Salihamidzic devoted almost 30 minutes to coming to terms with Nagelsmann’s time. “We have one of the best squads in Europe. And yet the team’s performance continuity hasn’t really improved. In the second half of the season we cannot be satisfied with the results and the performances we have often shown,” Kahn explained, explaining the release, which was “not a panic reaction”.
Salihamidzic looked even deeper. “The constellation between coach and team didn’t fit anymore,” reported the 46-year-old. The sum of coach and team should have been two, last time it was more like 0.5. The performance curve went “constantly downwards”, many players no longer reached their top form. “You saw the image of all this on the pitch,” said Salihamidzic clearly.
After the lightning change of coach, nothing changes in Tuchel’s professional relationship with Nagelsmann. “I can understand that it feels very humble for Julian at the moment. But it’s not my responsibility. And that’s why I allow myself to accept the job positively and with full anticipation,” he said. However, Tuchel admitted that he had expected to continue his coaching career abroad. The timing of Bayern’s request was surprising.
Bayern goalkeeping coach Calculator stays
At FC Bayern, Tuchel will be accompanied by his proven co-trainers Arno Michels and Zsolt Löw. “My coaching team wasn’t prepared either, so a big thank you to the families for their flexibility,” said Tuchel. He has been working with Michels and Löw for over ten years. He still hopes that he can also guide Anthony Barry to Munich as another assistant. 36-year-old Barry is currently still working for Tuchel’s former employer FC Chelsea.
Goalkeeper coach Michaelrechner, who was recently hired at Nagelsmann’s request, will also be part of Tuchel’s staff. “He’s going on, he’s an absolute top man and will stay with us,” said Salihamidzic. rechner had succeeded Toni Tapalovic. The injured captain and national goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was massively upset by Nagelsmann’s separation from his intimate Tapalovic.
In contrast to Nagelsmann, Tuchel only signed a contract up to and including June 30, 2025. “I feel comfortable with the term. If it’s good, we’ll try to extend it,” said Tuchel. A short contract gives him freedom. He thinks the runtime is perfect. Nagelsmann signed for five years when he took office in Munich in 2021.