Thomas Tuchel turns 50: through meticulousness and patience at the top of Europe

Thomas Tuchel turns 50: through meticulousness and patience at the top of Europe

Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel can celebrate his 50th birthday with a win behind him. About the career of a perfectionist.

Football coaches often state that they either do not celebrate their birthdays or only do so in private. Bayern’s head coach Thomas Tuchel also seems predestined for this approach, but nothing is publicly known about a big party for his 50th birthday. In addition, we are in the middle of the Bundesliga season opener and the pressure after Tuchel’s messed up start at the end of last season has been high in Munich since the entire preparation. On this career path, the native of Krumbach learned how to deal with pressure.

The foundations for Tuchel’s work were laid in Swabia, where today’s Bayern coach matured into a professional in FC Augsburg’s U17s. His path as a player led him via the Stuttgarter Kickers to SSV Ulm, which then marched furiously into the Bundesliga under Ralf Rangnick (65). However, Tuchel was not to experience this as a player: in the 1998 second division season, cartilage damage in his knee ended his active career abruptly. So it happened that he got into the coaching business early on and found his way into the Bundesliga in 2009 through the youth teams of VfB Stuttgart, FC Augsburg and finally FSV Mainz.

Thomas Tuchel turns 50: the man for whom Kahn and Salihamidzic risked their careers

There, in the professional business, two reputations precede Thomas Tuchel: On the one hand, he is a full professional who is obsessed with details and for whom only the best is good enough. On the other hand, he is said to have a difficult character, at least he does not shy away from conflicts with his sports director and other superiors. Not least because of this characteristic, Oliver Kahn (54) and Hasan Salihamidzic (46) thought he was particularly well suited to finding their way around in the Munich “Mia san Mia” ensemble when they made the offer to Tuchel to become Bayern’s next coach become.

The incumbent coach Julian Nagelsmann (36) was even thrown out without further ado, although he was in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the semi-finals of the DFB Cup and first place in the Bundesliga at the time. There was a great belief in compatibility, probably also on the part of Tuchel, for whom it was important to speak to Bavaria’s superfather Uli Hoeneß (71) before joining Germany’s largest football club. “Take good care of your club” wanted Tuchel to live up to the high standards that prevail in Munich.

Early records – Tuchel in Mainz and Dortmund on Klopp’s footsteps

These highest of all demands are nothing new for Tuchel, after all he always formulates them himself: Between 2009 and 2014, Mainz 05 benefited from Tuchel’s footballing approach when he established the promoted team in the Bundesliga with fast-paced football that is well worth seeing. In the 2010/11 season, they even broke the Bundesliga record of seven wins in a row, success proved Tuchel right. He sat on the Mainz bench until 2014 before taking a sabbatical. At the time, it seemed only logical to many that his next engagement was at Borussia Dortmund – he was following in the footsteps of Jürgen Klopp (56), who had also made the journey from Mainz to BVB.

But Tuchel was not granted the same fairytale fame in Dortmund as his predecessor. After he took up his position for the 2015/16 season, it was already over in May 2017 – again a year before the end of his contract. Despite the sportingly successful work (direct qualification for the Champions League and victory in the DFB Cup), they “worn each other out” too much, as the club management said in a remarkably open statement about the dismissal of their head coach. Another sabbatical year followed for Tuchel before he agreed to what is probably his biggest commitment to date.

The really big coup: failed with Paris at Bayern, with Chelsea Europe’s champions

For the 2018/19 season, Tuchel took over the helm as head coach at French champions Paris St. Germain. Once again he celebrated numerous successes with his team from the start, including his first national championship title and winning the French Cup competitions. However, because he was only able to reach the Champions League final in 2020 on the international stage, even with the signing of Lionel Messi (36), Tuchel was also released early in Paris. Many French media reported at the time that this was due to the broken relationship with sports director Leonardo (53). In an interview with Sender Sport1, which received a lot of attention at the time and has since been deleted, Tuchel complained that those responsible in Paris did not appreciate the good work of the team as long as they did not win the Champions League. His job feels more like that of a “sports politician” than a coach.

However, new offers were not long in coming and just about a month later, Tuchel was introduced as the new head coach of Chelsea FC, the London club was only ninth in the Premier League after 19 match days. Tuchel led the Blues to fourth place, to the final of the FA Cup and sensationally won the Champions League title. In general, Tuchel’s quota at Chelsea was impressive: his team won 60 of 100 games, only 19 games were lost. Only Chelsea coaches Maurizio Sarri (64) and Antonio Conte (54) have had a better average since 2009. Nevertheless, Tuchel was released in September 2021 after a 1-0 defeat against Dinamo Zagreb on the first day of the 2021/22 Champions League. The reason? There are said to have been massive differences between the new club owner Todd Boehly (49) and Tuchel.

Successful start in the Bundesliga in Tuchel

Since then, Tuchel and his coaching staff actually wanted to take another longer break to prepare for the next big commitment. Before his signature in Munich, Tottenham Hotspur were considered the hottest candidate for a commitment for the 2023/24 season. But then, completely surprisingly, came the call from Kahn and Salihamidzic. The rest is now history, including the botched debut where only one of three titles went to Munich at the end of last season.

As is so often the case at Bayern, the coach is dependent on the results his team delivers – in the case of Nagelsmann it was even clear that sometimes even these are not enough. So the pressure should be high for Tuchel at the moment and the focus should not necessarily be on his milestone birthday. Thanks to the 3-1 derby win against FC Augsburg at the weekend, the new season got off to a successful start. This might give the otherwise abstinent coach an opportunity to toast his 50th birthday with a glass of champagne.

Source: Stern

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