Sports

February 21, 2024

Bayern say Tuchel to leave at end of season

Bayern say Tuchel to leave at end of season

Tuchel

Bayern Munich said Wednesday they would part ways with coach Thomas Tuchel at the end of the season, as the reigning German champions struggled to stay in the Bundesliga title race.

“We came to the decision to end our working relationship by mutual agreement in the summer,” Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen said in a statement, following talks with Tuchel.

The coach, whose contract was set to run through to 2025, would exit the club on June 30 this year.

“Until then, I will of course continue to do everything I can with my coaching staff to achieve maximum success,” Tuchel said in the statement.

Bayern would look for a “new footballing direction” under a different coach next season, CEO Dreesen said.

Tuchel’s preemptive dismissal comes after three straight defeats, including a painful 3-0 loss to league rivals Bayer Leverkusen.

With 12 games left in the season, Bayern sit eight points behind Xabi Alonso’s side, who have yet to lose during the campaign.

Leverkusen are on an historic 32-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, equalling a record set by Hansi Flick’s Bayern across the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Bayern subsequently slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Italian side Lazio in the Champions League round of 16 and a humiliating 3-2 loss to lowly Bochum in the league.

– ‘Not so realistic’ –

After the horror run of form, Tuchel admitted Bayern’s chances of winning the Bundesliga title were “not so realistic”.

The manager brushed off talk that he might be immediately replaced, but his planned exit reflects the uncompromisingly high standards at the Bavarian giants.

Tuchel was “never really a fit” for Bayern, the Tagesspiegel daily said after the announcement.

But the fact that Tuchel would stay on “shows the club leadership no longer believe in the team itself”.

In his statement, Dreesen explicitly put the pressure on the squad to make something of the season.

“In the Champions League in particular… we are convinced we will reach the quarter-finals at a packed Allianz Arena with our fans behind us,” Dreesen said.

In the end, Tuchel suffered the same fate as his predecessor Julian Nagelsmann, who was fired in March last year with the perennial German champions second in the league.

Bayern bosses pounced to make highly rated Tuchel their coach after his shock dismissal from Chelsea in late 2022, leaving the new man “dumbstruck” by his appointment in his own words.

Tuchel was given a brief to salvage Bayern’s season and compete across all competitions, domestically and in Europe.

His tenure got off to a mixed start, beating Dortmund 4-2 on his debut to leapfrog their rivals in the league before exiting the German Cup at the hands of Freiburg.

Bayern were subsequently dumped out of the Champions League in the quarters by Manchester City and muddled through the end of the league season.

– Next in line –

Only a slip by Dortmund, who drew 2-2 with Mainz, allowed Tuchel’s side past to seal Bayern’s 11th straight Bundesliga trophy.

Bayern went into this season as favourites to make it a dozen league titles in a row with new signing Harry Kane up top.

But despite Kane leading the Bundesliga with 25 goals, Bayern have faltered in the league and were sensationally dumped out of the German Cup by third-division side Saarbruecken.

Spats with the club leadership over transfer policy and reported differences with key players like Joshua Kimmich did nothing to help Tuchel’s case.

Alonso’s impressive form with Bayer Leverkusen has seen his name linked with his former club Bayern, as well as a host of other top teams, including Real Madrid and Liverpool.

“You have to be interested in Xabi Alonso now,” Bayern legend Lothar Matthaeus told Bild daily.

“If they don’t take care of it, they’re making the next mistake,” Matthaeus said of the Bayern bosses.

The Bavarians could equally take another tilt at convincing Juergen Klopp to come to Munich, after he announced his own departure from Liverpool at the end of the season.

The former Dortmund boss is however said to want to take a year out from the game before his next job.