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FC Bayern Munich: Why Thomas Tuchel is not solely to blame for the crisis

FC Bayern Munich: Why Thomas Tuchel is not solely to blame for the crisis

After just over a season, Thomas Tuchel and FC Bayern Munich part ways. The end was foreseeable, but the coach is not solely responsible for the misery.

Bayern had no chance in the defeat in Leverkusen, no ideas in the 0-1 loss in Rome, luckless and unsettled in the 2-3 loss in Bochum – within a week FC Bayern Munich could have lost the entire season. The culprit for the crisis at the German perennial champions was quickly found: On Wednesday, the Munich team announced that they would be separating from coach Thomas Tuchel at the end of the season – less than a year after the 50-year-old was introduced as Julian Nagelsmann’s successor. “In an open, good conversation, we came to the decision to mutually end our collaboration in the summer. Our goal is to reorient the sport with a new coach for the 2024/25 season,” explained CEO Jan-Christian Dreeßen in a statement. It is the logical decision in a team that has been in crisis for weeks.

There has been rumblings in the club for months. After the embarrassing elimination in the DFB Cup at third division team Saarbrücken, rumors increased that many players were offended by Tuchel’s distant nature. The fact that the coach publicly criticized almost every player and is said to have verbally attacked his players after the defeat in Rome also shows that there is no longer any common level between players and coach. Tuchel, to stay in athlete parlance, lost the dressing room. The fact that Bayern are currently only second also has to do with Leverkusen’s dominant season. Only once in the history of the Bundesliga did a runner-up team have more points than Bayern after matchday 22. That was Borussia Dortmund with one point more in the 2015/2016 season (51). The Dortmund coach at the time: Thomas Tuchel.

Thomas Tuchel failed to develop the team

If you look at the team’s development since the 50-year-old’s arrival in March 2023, you have to ask whether there has been any (positive) development at all. Tuchel’s game idea was never apparent; there was absolutely no sign of the “intense, fast, attractive” football that Tuchel promised at the beginning of the season in the last few weeks. Tuchel himself seemed perplexed, sitting on the coaching bench shaking his head and with his hands in front of his face. After his arrival in March, Tuchel failed to breathe new life into Bayern. Bayern celebrated the championship not because they finished the season confidently, but because Borussia Dortmund lost their nerve on the last day of the match.

In addition, the team’s individual development stagnated. Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala have been chasing their strong form at the start of the season for weeks, 100 million man Harry Kane continues to score fairly consistently, but is hardly receiving balls from his teammates anymore. The fact that Kane had to fetch the balls in midfield in the first leg of the Champions League game in Rome is symptomatic of Bayern’s current unimaginative banter. The picture will not seem unfamiliar to Bayern fans, as it looked similar shortly before the separation from Julian Nagelsmann in March 2023. Tuchel, however, failed to develop the players and highlight the talent that they undoubtedly have.

It’s not just the coach’s fault at FC Bayern Munich

It would be wrong to blame the impending failure at Bayern, which could be the first titleless season since the 2011/2012 season, solely on the coach. After eleven championships in a row, part of the team seems saturated, many players have rarely come into contact with major setbacks – or, like the lost “Finale Dahoam”, they were ages ago. In the current crisis, the team appears unsettled, lifeless and completely without ideas. Self-proclaimed leaders like Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller are so deep in a form crisis that they are more preoccupied with themselves than they can help the team in any way. The pictures of Kimmich, who attacked assistant coach Zsolt Löw after the defeat in Bochum, show the frayed nerves of individual players. Despite all the emotionality that Kimmich brings, the anger over a substitution cannot be allowed to explode like this. But Kimmich also becomes the face of the crisis in Munich.

The team relied too much on the individual quality of individual players. Kane, Sané or Musiala can decide games single-handedly, but there is no sign of team unity that would be necessary in the current phase. Since Thiago’s departure, Munich has been looking in vain for a game designer who can take control of the game and will look enviously at Leverkusen, where Florian Wirtz enlivens the game as a source of ideas. In his statement, Dreesen also made it clear that they are not only dissatisfied with the coach, but also with the players. “Every individual in the club is expressly required to achieve the maximum possible in the Champions League and the Bundesliga,” explained Dreesen. A clear message to the team too.

The leadership must question itself

The club management also has to question itself, because even before the season it ensured that the Bayern squad was undermanned in many places. With Lucas Hernández, Benjamin Pavard and Josip Stanisic, three defenders who can also play on the outside were given up, while only one replacement was presented, Raphaël Guerreiro, who is less of a defender than a winger due to his offensive drive. It wasn’t until winter that Bayern stepped up their game and signed Sacha Boey from Galatasaray Istanbul. But it hasn’t arrived yet.

The urgently needed reinforcement in the defensive midfield was also missing in both transfer phases: Bayern did not manage to sign Tuchel’s desired players Declan Rice or Palhinha, and possible alternatives did not move to the Isar. Instead, this position must continue to be covered by Leon Goretzka and Kimmich, who are by no means a classic six.

At Bayern, however, it is not the coach alone who is responsible for the transfer misery, but rather the “Sport Committee”. In addition to Tuchel, this includes Uli Hoeneß, Karl-Heinz-Rummenigge, President Herbert Hainer and Dreesen. They are all responsible for the failed transfer policy of the current season. And thus tie in seamlessly with what you absolutely wanted to avoid. Because under the board members Hasan Salihamidzic and Oliver Kahn, who were dismissed in May 2023, Bayern shone with numerous unsuccessful transfers. Supposedly top signings such as Sadio Mané, Ryan Gravenberch and Marcel Sabitzer left the club after just one season, while others such as Bouna Sarr, Joao Cancelo and Omar Richarads turned out to be bench warmers. The “realignment” proclaimed by Dreesen not only requires a coach, but also a coherent transfer concept, something that has been a long way off in Munich for years.

The search for a new coach now begins for Bayern, the fourth in four years. There are enough well-known candidates, especially Jürgen Klopp and Zinedine Zidane, who are big enough to lead Germany’s biggest club back into a brilliant future. It must also be clear to the board that there must be changes not only on the bank. FC Bayern Munich also needs a change in the squad in order to be able to build on old times. Otherwise the state capital risks becoming the FC Hollywood of the 90s again.

Source: Stern

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