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FC Bayern Munich – comment on the dismissal of Julian Nagelsmann: The biggest loser is Oliver Kahn



FC Bayern Munich, Oliver Kahn, Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann, Bundesliga

The release of Julian Nagelsmann is a gigantic defeat for the entire management team at FC Bayern Munich and is evidence of a significant management failure. Above all, the CEO Oliver Kahn now has to show that his promises are more than just lip service. His future at Bayern Munich is linked to the success or failure of Thomas Tuchel. A comment.

Even by professional football standards, the sums that the German record champion sunk for his “long-term project” Julian Nagelsmann, which lasted just 21 months, are gigantic – and so far also unique in the world. Up to 25 million transfer fee only for the former head coach, plus around 30 million euros in salary costs, which Nagelsmann and his assistants would still be entitled to until the regular end of the contract in 2026.

And the successor Thomas Tuchel, who was courted by Real Madrid, among others, before his commitment to FC Bayern, as the Champions League winner and new savior, will call for no less than the rumored annual salary of nine million euros that Nagelsmann promised from FC Bayern in the summer of 2021 became.

If FC Bayern Munich were already the group organized by management consultancies like McKinsey, which Oliver Kahn, according to his critics, would like to make of the record champions, then Julian Nagelsmann would either still be a coach – or he and his assistants would not be the only victims of the Bavaria earthquake.

Even in the similarly turbo-capitalist world of management consultancies, a sober analysis of the situation at FC Bayern would have come to the conclusion that both short and long-term goals for the season could still have been achieved with Nagelsmann. And that, even if you hadn’t become champion, a runner-up title would never, ever make up for the financial damage caused by Nagelsmann’s expulsion. In addition: In order to close the existing but not yet threatening gaps between the trainer and the team, management consultants might first have recommended coaching or arranged a mediator.

And if one had nevertheless decided to release Nagelsmann, then the decision-makers responsible for this would have to reckon with at least poor performance ratings and at most unpleasant questions from the control committees.

FC Bayern: Nagelsmann separation communicatively styleless

Kahn, who has been in office since July 2021, wants to lead FC Bayern more strategically and position it more sustainably than Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß, the old masterminds and inventors of the Bavarian football empire:

  • Key Performance Indicators and North Star Goals instead of “We think from victory to victory” and “The next title is always the most important”.
  • FC Bayern AHEAD, that not only the uppercase letters in the Powerpoint radiate professional internationality instead of Bavarian-feeling We are who we are (which, of course, continues to be used as a motto embroidered on the jersey, sounds somehow good).
  • Five years for the first contract with a top international club for Julian Nagelsmann, who is rightly highly regarded but still has no title and is inexperienced in such spheres. “Continuity in the coaching position is an important factor for success,” said Kahn when Nagelsmann was presented in July 2021. “We can create a new era with Julian.” That’s not a buzz word, Kahn added.

It was. Just like the words strategy and sustainability after Nagelsmann’s abrupt – communicatively very styleless – end must be seen more as lip service.

Bavaria’s bosses were guided by emotions

This does not mean that there were no valid and understandable reasons for Nagelsmann’s release. There was. But only in the logic of football, which is known to follow completely different laws than any other. In the end, Bayern’s bosses let themselves be guided by the oldest driving forces for football officials: by emotions instead of sober calculation.

From the feeling that Nagelsmann could no longer get the dressing room under control and that the goals would no longer be achieved; of the firm conviction that things would get better with Thomas Tuchel and that the former BVB, PSG and Chelsea coach should not be let through their fingers again. There was also a bit of greed.

Now, when CEO Kahn was really put to the test for the first time, he acted like a footballer.

Hasan Salihamidzic, as the board member responsible for sport, can be blamed for the lack of sporting consistency of the players he brought in, but above all he has to be accused afterwards of the fact that his dispute with Hansi Flick only led to Julian Nagelsmann being signed at all.

But Oliver Kahn and his concept suffered the most damage in the Bavaria earthquake.

FC Bayern: decision for Tuchel consistent

The choice of Nagelsmann’s successor shows that the path that Kahn wanted to take with FC Bayern does not have to be over yet. It’s consistent. Ahead instead of backwards, even if Tuchel was Bayern’s dream coach in 2018.

At the old FC Bayern Munich, a coach for the heart followed a coach who was possibly a bit more demanding in daily dealings. Or also: the concept was followed by the stomach, the dispute by the personified longing for harmony: Ottmar Hitzfeld on Felix Magath, Jupp Heynckes on Jürgen Klinsmann and Louis van Gaal, Carlo Ancelotti on Pep Guardiola (even if this experiment went wrong and it was holy Jupp had to adjust again), most recently Hansi Flick to Niko Kovac.

Bayern can rightly expect a lot from Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel stands for a lot of good things, he should rather sharpen the tactical profile of Bayern and Pep Guardiola should now have a few sleepless nights in Manchester because of the quarter-final duels in the Champions League against Bayern.

But Thomas Tuchel, equally remarkably cranky and unpretentious and certainly not a self-promoter, certainly does not stand for harmony. And especially not for harmony with his bosses. So far, Tuchel has gotten on the nerves of every one of his superiors, so far there has been stress with the bosses at the latest at the end of every station, and very often the conflicts also have to do with injured egos.

Oliver Kahn will now be able to show he can handle stress and keep his football instincts to the fore. Otherwise, not only his strategic path at Bayern will soon be over. His fate as a modern football official depends on the success or failure of Thomas Tuchel.

FC Bayern: The coaches of the past ten years

Trainer From Until
Thomas Tuchel 03/24/2023 06/30/2025 (preliminary.)

Julian Nagelsman

07/01/2021 03/23/2023
Hansi Flick 03.11.2019 06/30/2021
Niko Kovac 07/01/2018 02.11.2019
Jupp Heynckes 06.10.2017 06/30/2018
Willy Sagnol (interim) 09/28/2017 05.10.2017
Carlo Ancelotti 07/01/2016 09/28/2017
pep Guardiola 07/01/2013 06/30/2016