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Football: FC Bayern Munich: The Thomas Tuchel era is also canceled

The next disappointment in Munich: Coach Thomas Tuchel has to leave FC Bayern at the end of the season.

Photo: imago/MIS

When the breaking news hit the tickers on Wednesday that FC Bayern would be parting ways with Thomas Tuchel early at the end of the season, the news value at least felt limited. The fact that the marriage between the German football record champions and the 50-year-old head coach has long been a very unhappy one was made clear by the last three defeats in a row, including all the accompanying effects.

Now the inevitable official separation is clear: Thomas Tuchel has to leave again a year before his contract expires, after just around 15 months in Munich. His record so far includes eleven defeats in 44 competitive games and only one title – the 2023 championship, which was achieved literally at the last minute and only thanks to Dortmund’s mistake in the draw against Mainz.

“We came to the decision in an open, good conversation to mutually end our collaboration in the summer,” CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen was quoted as saying in the press release. The communiqué was sent by FC Bayern when Tuchel’s training session had just begun. Dreesen formulated the reasoning in the statement as follows: “Our goal is to carry out a sporting realignment with a new coach in the 2024/25 season.” Until then, everyone is “expressly required to do this in the Champions League and the Bundesliga to achieve the maximum possible. I also explicitly hold the team accountable for this.”

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Dreesen particularly referred to the round of 16 of the Champions League. In the first leg last week, Munich lost 0-1 against Lazio, after the 0-3 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen and before the 2-3 defeat in Bochum. Dreesen said they are “convinced” that in the second leg on March 5th in their own arena “with our fans behind them they will reach the quarter-finals.”

In the Bundesliga, Bayern are eight points behind leaders Leverkusen before next Saturday’s game against RasenBallsport Leipzig. Winning the twelfth championship title in a row seems unrealistic. The Munich team has long since been eliminated from the DFB Cup – at the hands of third division club Saarbrücken. The likely scenario is the first titleless season in twelve years. Bayern hope to find a viable coaching solution by the summer, also with the help of Max Eberl, who is to be appointed as the new sports director at the supervisory board meeting on Monday. So far there is only speculation about possible successors for Tuchel.

Tuchel was also quoted in the message – and it was said that, in contrast to Dreesen’s detailed statements, only two narrow sentences were sent by the head coach: “We have agreed that we will end our collaboration after this season. Until then, I and my coaching team will of course continue to do everything we can to ensure maximum success. Just out of self-protection, he is probably aiming for a somewhat amicable farewell from Munich. The sporting problems and tensions in the internal climate between coach and team make it doubtful whether this will succeed.

At FC Bayern they hope that the decision to separate will have a liberating effect and that the community of convenience will come together, based on their respective self-interest and sporting ambition. If the crisis continues, an earlier departure from Tuchel cannot be completely ruled out. In any case, the coach is entering the last third of the season as a “lame duck”. The Tuchel era is therefore canceled, just like the Julian Nagelsmann era, which was previously considered and ended very suddenly and which followed Hansi Flick’s almost 20-month term in office. The last coach to stay in office at FC Bayern for at least two seasons was Pep Guardiola. The Catalan even stayed for a full three years before leaving for Manchester City in 2016. Since then, there have been seven names on the Munich coaching list in eight years.

Today’s national coach Julian Nagelsmann came in 2021 as a great hope and was reportedly hired by Leipzig for more than 20 million euros before he signed a five-year contract. He was supposed to shape FC Bayern with an attractive style of play, title wins and his youthful freshness. But the management duo at the time with CEO Oliver Kahn and sports director Hasan Salihamidzic ended the Nagelsmann era before it had really begun – even though there were still chances of winning the title in all three competitions.

Curiously, the reasoning at the time that the coach had lost the dressing room would now be much more consistent with Tuchel. The fact that Tuchel was available also contributed significantly to Nagelsmann’s departure in March 2023. “What do you want?” Tuchel asked at the time, Salihamidzic reported on the first phone call. He replied: “If you don’t feel like it, then hang up.” Kahn and Salihamidzic are long gone. Now those currently in charge at FC Bayern are no longer in the mood for Tuchel. At least that is definitely mutual.

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