By signing a contract with FC Bayern Munich, Thomas Tuchel entered into the bet of the bosses to save the goals of the season that were far from lost at the time. But he wisely turned down the role of miracle healer that was intended for him. The failures are neither to be attributed to him nor primarily to the team. A comment.
This text is not about We are who we are go, I promise. But at the risk that Oliver Kahn can no longer hear that either, we have to talk again about the circumstances surrounding the change of coach from Julian Nagelsmann to Thomas Tuchel.
It is possible that an at least medium-sized misunderstanding preceded the attitude of Tuchel in the negotiations. Or there is at least a certain conflict of goals between club and team managers.
FC Bayern: What if there couldn’t be a Tuchel effect?
Almost as vehemently as Bayern’s CEO Oliver Kahn justified Nagelsmann’s release with the concern of those responsible that they could no longer achieve the club’s goals and thus presented the coach’s release as a “well-considered” panic reaction (although he refused to use the word panic reaction). Tuchel made a few demonstrative statements about how surprised he was that Bayern’s bosses offered him immediate takeover of the team.
That also means: Tuchel’s hiring shortly before the four season-decisive games against BVB in the Bundesliga, SC Freiburg in the DFB Cup and Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League did not happen from the point of view of Bayern’s manager Kahn and sports director Hasan Salihamidzic because Tuchel was just free and in the summer maybe not again. The risky change of coach at perhaps the most sensitive time of the season was therefore not motivated by strategic foresight, but followed an impulse, no matter how “well-considered” (still Kahn) it may have been, and the vague hope of a Tuchel effect.
But what if there could be no Tuchel Effect at all? What if the problems between the team and Nagelsmann weren’t as big as rumored? What if no miracle healer was needed and the bosses unsettled the admittedly fragile team even more by changing coaches?
Whatever the case, the surprised Tuchel made the bet of the bosses to save the season that was anything but lost. However, from day one he worked with his new players as if he wanted to use the stormy and rainy spring of 2023 in Munich as a preparation for the hopefully nicer summer.
In the first few days, Tuchel and his assistants prescribed a straightforward formation for the team, put a fifth player in the remaining defense, taught them a few tricks for standard situations and, above all, trained passing and positional play, in short: they started with the basics of Tuchel’s football theory .
FC Bayern: If you bring Tuchel, you won’t get a miracle healer
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, if you hire Tuchel, you’ll primarily get a fantastic coach and passionate football teacher and not a miracle healer.
FC Bayern has certainly not lost two out of three possible titles because of Tuchel’s training methods or his tactical decisions in the first four games under him. Tuchel would have liked to have won the treble in his first few weeks in Munich. But it seems he wasn’t just theoretically considering the possibility that that wouldn’t necessarily work out.
So his “shock-loving” homage to the team after the 0:3 in Manchester can be understood as a trust- and team-building and process-oriented measure.
While Bayern’s bosses continued to chase the illusion after the bankruptcy in Manchester, what the squad they declared to be “one of the best in Europe” (again Kahn) should be able to do, Tuchel sees what could emerge in the course of the process.
By rejecting the role of the miracle healer and even “refusing to see the result” in Manchester, Tuchel took the team – and certainly a little bit himself – out of the line of fire. After all, it doesn’t take a meteorologist to know that things could get uncomfortable in Munich over the next few weeks, especially since the only possible title is far from certain. Bayern is threatened with the first season without a title since the triple runners-up year in 2012.
Of course, the individual mistakes made by Jamal Musiala in the cup game against Freiburg or by Dayot Upamecano in Manchester shouldn’t and won’t play a role in the assessment of the work of Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic. It would also certainly be going too far to blame them for personal frustration or for alleged slapping from player to player.
But your management decisions of last summer and this season call for explanations – and the right questions from the supervisory board – which hopefully will not be aimed at questioning Thomas Tuchel.
However, these questions should not be limited to demanding tangible explanations as to how those responsible could have come up with the idea in mid-March to make the insanely expensive bet and immediately replace Nagelsmann with Tuchel and what consequences they will draw from this decision for the future . Or to put it another way: Does the (greed) greed for titles justify unplanned double-digit million expenditure on the coaching position?
FC Bayern: Is Konrad Laimer the right approach?
Other relevant questions for Kahn and Salihamidzic could be:
Why does one of the best squads in Europe look at least a little rudimentary and inhomogeneous in some positions, not only compared to the actually outstanding squad of Manchester City?
How to justify Sadio Mané’s salary, which is said to be around 23 million euros a year? Mané should therefore earn as much as top scorer Robert Lewandowski last season?
Last summer, when dream players Erling Haaland and flirt Harry Kane turned out to be too expensive, were there really no reasonably promising alternatives for the center forward position on the transfer market?
How much cheaper would the alleged current striker candidates Randal Kolo Muani, Dusan Vlahovic and Victor Osimhen have been in the summer of 2022?
Were keeper Yann Sommer and defenders Daley Blind and João Cancelo, who were not exactly cheap, signings in the winter really necessary?
Which positions do Bayern have to make unplanned improvements in the squad due to the change of coach in order to make work easier for Tuchel?
Is Konrad Laimer the right central midfielder alongside Joshua Kimmich, who can distribute the ball and set the pace? Or does the Noch-Leipziger come as an alternative to Kimmich and then another would have to come? Leon Goretzka, for example, hasn’t played badly under Tuchel so far, but he seems to be playing against his nature. How would access, if necessary, be funded?
What were the thoughts when, for example, Serge Gnabry was allowed to go for short trips to Paris Fashion Week and Leroy Sané’s repeated lateness was not severely sanctioned. Did the team have a discipline problem?
Kahn and Salihamidzic will most likely be responsible for the weal and woe of FC Bayern in the coming season, but Thomas Müller should not be the only one who forwards the right questions to one of the two responsible persons.
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