Before Pep Guardiola announced his departure from Bayern Munich in the winter of 2015, the future Manchester City boss already had a successor in mind. Per Michael Reschke, who was Bayern’s technical director at the time, Pep wanted then Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel to take over the club after his departure.
With the Champions League final looming over these two men at the moment, it’s interesting to see how much they genuinely seem to rate each other. “For Pep, Thomas was his natural successor at Bayern Munich”, said Reschke (via Tz). “He said to me: ‘Michael, you have to make sure that Thomas comes here.”
Of course, getting Tuchel was rather unrealistic at the time. He was under contract with BVB, and they were putting up an incredible fight in the league that season. Tuchel showed his tactical acumen by getting that team almost 80 points in his first season in charge, one of the highest points totals ever for a runner-up. If Bayern hadn’t been such a juggernaut that year, he could have won the title.
Of course, Bayern ended up hiring Carlo Ancelotti instead, which was clearly a mistake in hindsight. Tuchel, for his part, managed to deny the Bavarians the DFB-Pokal the following year, although he was eventually sacked for falling out with the BVB board. The German then went to PSG, where he eventually ended up making the UCL final for the first time, losing to Bayern Munich 1-0. Now, he has another shot at the title.
How different could it have been if Tuchel, rather than Ancelotti, had been given control of that 2016/2017 Bayern squad? Would we have won the Champions League that year? Would the Hansi Flick era have ever happened? It’ll go down as one of the smaller, more interesting what-if scenarios in football history. Maybe, he’ll even get his chance somewhere down the line.