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Bayern crisis: Tuchel defends his changes and goes offline to protect himself

The setting sun cast its last rays on Rome and bathed the city in a deep orange as FC Bayern was driven from the Italian metropolis’s airport to its hotel early in the evening on Tuesday. The day before the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico this Wednesday (9 p.m., DAZN), Thomas Tuchel and his captain Manuel Neuer went straight to the press conference in a hall of the large building after arriving at the Waldorf Astoria team hotel .

After the 3-0 defeat in the top game of the Bundesliga against Bayer Leverkusen, the coach and the team of the German football record champions are under enormous pressure. “When you go down like that, it does something to you, it makes us think,” said Neuer. “The coaching team discussed the points quite openly.” They didn’t behave in a “football-smart” way against league leaders Leverkusen. His team now has to play with more conviction again and communicate a lot. “We have to try to learn from our mistakes as quickly as possible. And we will be motivated to show who we are.”

Happy with the game plan

He himself would never say that Lazio is a small opponent. In the past, we sometimes had problems against supposedly smaller opponents. “It’s nice to be able to play again quickly after a defeat like that against Leverkusen,” said Neuer. “You have to be able to get up again and again.” You still have the opportunity and the goal of winning the Champions League, as club boss Jan-Christian Dreesen recently emphasized.

After Neuer, Tuchel came onto the podium. The 50-year-old appeared very tidy, relaxed and focused. Regarding his change of the basic order against Leverkusen, which was heavily criticized by experts, he said: “It is completely normal in football to adjust the basic order.” Top teams would often do this, before or during games.

Coach Thomas Tuchel before the Champions League game in Rome

Source: dpa

Tuchel said he was initially “offline” after the defeat against Leverkusen “out of self-protection” and didn’t read the reviews and reports. However, he basically heard Thomas Müller’s angry speech. Tuchel said that there was a discrepancy and that the team was unable to carry the good training performances into the stadium. “Like with a backpack,” said Tuchel about the problems in the way he played. Lazio is very strong, very homogeneous and very difficult to beat. “It will be an emotional game,” said the Bayern coach. “I can’t imagine anyone underestimating the game. On the contrary. But it’s also important not to be completely reduced to rubble. We want to play with confidence.”

“Pressure is a privilege”

Does he feel increasing pressure? “No. I don’t feel any growing pressure. The pressure is a great privilege. It’s a sporting pressure. It is necessary to remain confident. It is necessary to be self-critical. And to stay calm the stronger the so-called pressure gets.”

The team is always self-critical and they treat each other very openly and honestly. “I am convinced that we have everything we need to show a reaction. It can become more difficult to show the reaction. But it’s a good option. The starting position is 50-50, right from the start.”

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Tuchel also commented on Matthijs de Ligt. The Dutch central defender surprisingly did not play against Leverkusen. Tuchel said de Ligt had a slight back problem shortly before the game against Bayer and needed treatment. This was not known until now. De Ligt told BILD after the game that he was in top shape. There was a few percent uncertainty with de Ligt, he didn’t want to gamble, so he made the decision not to let him play, said Tuchel on Tuesday evening in Rome.

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Is de Ligt only number four central defender? “I can’t share categories like that,” said Tuchel. Of course, de Ligt fits his system. The player is currently experiencing a difficult moment. But nothing has changed for de Ligt. “He is a natural fighter. We will count on him and need him.”

Debate about starting eleven

Before the midday departure, Tuchel had his team train at the club headquarters on Säbener Strasse. A video of the training from “Sport1” is circulating on social media. The players can be seen running – and Thomas Müller’s voice can be heard. The world champion runs next to Joshua Kimmich, turns to him and says: “First you have to be on the pitch.”

Thomas Müller during training on Tuesday in Munich – afterwards there are discussions about his statement

What: AFP

What exactly it was about is unclear. Neither played against Leverkusen from the start. Fans are discussing the video on social networks. Before the game in Rome, there were some indications that Müller would be in the starting eleven against Lazio. “The defeat lingers because it was an important game,” said Bayern sporting director Christoph Freund on Tuesday. “We are now happy that things are continuing straight away. I am convinced that we will present ourselves differently against Rome.”

He warned: “Lazio has a lot of internationally experienced players. You have nothing to lose and will throw everything into the balance. They can defend very well and are very hard-working as a team. So it won’t be an easy task.”

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