When the question came about Joker Thomas Müller, football coach Thomas Tuchel played his. “You’ll have to ask my colleagues what you were thinking,” he said – and smiled. Tuchel was a former coach for some time at the start of FC Bayern’s Champions League against Manchester United on Wednesday evening in the Munich Arena. D. He was not allowed to do his job in the coaching zone and in the locker room. After a red card in the last game of last season against Manchester City, he sat in a box as punishment.
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There he saw the game from a doubly unusual but also advantageous perspective: from high above with a better overview – and with a 20 second time delay on a tablet. And because his Bayern won 4-3 after a turbulent final phase, Tuchel’s mood was quite good at the late press conference in the belly of the stadium when he was a coach again. The punishment had its educational effect on the 50-year-old. “We don’t need to repeat it, it was enough,” he said. “The spatial distance also creates an emotional distance.”
His assistants Zsolt Löw and Anthony Barry took over and were responsible for the late substitution of Müller, who came onto the pitch in the 87th minute. They still acted in Tuchel’s interests, as he explained. Because United had substituted a physically strong player in Scott McTominay, the Munich team initially responded with the robust Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting so as not to be at a disadvantage when dealing with opposing free kicks and corners. Müller had to wait, but he recorded his 100th victory in the Champions League with a small share.
“We are not finished yet”
The 34-year-old striker is the third player to achieve this after Cristiano Ronaldo (115 wins) and goalkeeper Iker Casillas (101). “If you want to be a little melancholic and historic, that’s wonderful,” said Müller after his 143rd game in the premier class, in which he almost scored a goal with a shot that hit the post. “If you look back, it was a really crazy long journey in time that I was able to spend in the Champions League. But we’re not done yet – and neither am I.” Therefore, the victory over Manchester is only a “way station”.
It is uncertain where Müller’s path will lead in the premier class this season. For the 20th time, Munich won their opening game on the biggest stage in European football. Until then, Bayern had endured a rollercoaster ride that not only caused problems for Tuchel. “The result is a bit upside down because we didn’t play that well in the first half but we got a 2-0 lead. We played very well in the second half, but ultimately lost the half,” said the coach.
Leroy Sané scored after a mistake by goalkeeper André Onana (28th minute), Serge Gnabry quickly followed up (32nd). After the break it went back and forth. Rasmus Højlund shortened (49th), Harry Kane calmed down (53rd), Casemiro shortened (88th), Mathys Tel calmed down (90th+2), before Casemiro (90th+5) provided one last thrill. After that, Munich’s 4-3 victory was assured. “Every win in the Champions League is a big point, every win against Manchester United is a big point,” said Tuchel. “The reactions after the goals were conceded were very good. We had the game on our side.”
Elisabeth Schmelzerl, Munich Published/Updated: Recommendations: 2 Published/Updated: Elisabeth Schmelzerl, Munich Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 2
However, the positive aspects for the German record champions in the duel with the English team did not obscure Munich’s problem areas. At the beginning in front of the goals, Bayern were dissatisfied with a lack of speed and misunderstandings as a result of unusable running and ball paths. The opponent repeatedly came up with his own attacks. Thanks to the leadership, the Munich team gained a little more structure and security, but the gaps in the midfield and also in the defense made football life on the pitch difficult for them, even until the final whistle.
The in-form national player Leroy Sané also saw it that way. “In the end, we are happy that we got the first three points. Of course, the game was a bit wild,” said the goalscorer on the DAZN streaming service. “We have to make fewer mistakes, all together.” The Manchester United coach was even more annoyed about his team’s missed opportunity against weak Munich. “If you score three goals in Munich, you have to take at least one point,” said Erik ten Hag, who once coached FC Bayern’s second team.
The next chance for points in the Champions League is in just under two weeks. Then the Munich team will play at FC Copenhagen. Tuchel can be close to his team again after his ban has expired. Before that, he may pass on his experiences as a spectator away from the action to his assistant Zsolt Löw. The same role awaits him on Saturday (3.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky). Because he was shown a red card after the game against Leverkusen, he is now not allowed to sit on the sidelines in the league against Bochum.