The very moment Erling Haaland slotted home to make it three for Manchester City on the night, there was a unanimous feeling of disdain among every Bayern fan watching. Yet it was not towards the players, or even the manager — while some could argue both are accountable — it was towards the board.
The FC Bayern board have never been such a topic for fans before. While, of course, there were scandals — Uli's jail sentence immediately comes to mind, there was never a feeling within the club's fans that wanted them to leave. Even after his jail stint Uli was re-elected with conviction.
It is unfamiliar to see someone other than Rummenigge and Hoeneß in charge. Yet when the change was made, I too, was optimistic. A more modern approach with people who knew and identified with the club? It was a set-up for success. That being said, Kahn and Brazzo, joined by ex-Adidas CEO Hainer, have managed to turn my complete faith to sheer hatred.
Then the question arises — why this sudden reaction? Coming off a great transfer window (was it?), one would really have to mess up really, really bad to warrant such backlash. Now I have to warn you: the next bit might sound anti-Tuchel and pro-Nagelsmann; but as my first piece on this website would hint, I do like Tuchel. This isn't against him.
A disastrous decision.
24th March, 2023. 4 days after Bayern's loss to Leverkusen. Fabrizio Romano breaks the news and it's chaos amongst Bayern fans: Julian Nagelsmann has been sacked. Immediately — "Why?". What did he do wrong to justify the appalling decision? The answer - in truth - is nothing wrong at all.
Julian Nagelsmann was sacked by FC Bayern mid-season and replaced by Thomas Tuchel: a shocking and unexpected decision. (Source: BBC Sport)
Eight of eight wins in the Champions League: including knocking PSG out, 3 losses in 37 games: a stellar record, but there is no point in pointing out what Nagelsmann achieved this season. Instead, I want you to remember this statistic — 37 games, 3 losses. That is approximately 8% of games played that were lost.
In the past 3 weeks, at the time of writing, FC Bayern have played 4 times under their new coach Tuchel. Of those 4 games, 2 were lost: including crucial season decicding games in cup competitions against Freiburg and City. That's a 50% loss record. This was, of course, much expected.
Now, let me make it clear once again: this run of games would have been equally difficult for Nagelsmann as well. But he would've been much better suited to handle this set of games, not because he is a better coach, but rather because he had a connection with the squad, and they had just come off a massive victory against PSG together. And it is not Tuchel's fault in the slightest either — he was pretty much thrown into the fire: the snafu that is FC Bayern.
Irrespective of how good a coach one is, it is virtually impossible to come into a club prior to their most important part of the season and then win do-or-die games in every competition! Even worse, when a lot of the active starting XI was supportive of the coach and shared a bond.
The team's flow was completely disrupted at the most crucial point of the season, simply because of the board's completely irrational, unjustifiable decision by the board.
But that's just strike number one (while it should be game over!). How would one justify a, like I said previously, completely unjustifiable decision? The board said they felt the treble was in danger.
A joke of a justification.
Allow me to note: FC Bayern is a club that has been in existence for 123 years. Of those years, only twice have we achieved a treble (which is, the joint most treble seasons by any club, ever, by the way). It is completely naïve to expect a treble winning season every year. It is good to have ambition — but not to regularly expect the impossible.
Jupp Heyckens and Hansi Flick with their treble trophies in 2013 and 2020 - Bayern are one of only two clubs to have won the prestigious treble twice.
That being said, let's allow it. Let's say, yes, we should be winning the treble. But once again, the conviction with which the board decided that Tuchel would be better placed to deliver it than Nagelsmann, and decided it was worth taking that risk by disrupting the season completely backfired. The view of my Bayern fans like myself was, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt — the board stays if Tuchel delivers the treble. Just 4 games later I can tell you, he didn't, simple. The worst part? After the battering against City, this is what had to be said.
Bayern bosses promised Tuchel that his work will only be really evaluated starting from next season. The coaching change was supposed to give the team a new impetus, but Tuchel's ideas regarding tactics and squad planning will materialize when he gets more time [@altobelli13]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) April 11, 2023
APPALLING. Judge him starting from next season? Now, this might sound unorthodox for the board, but you could just hire him starting from next season? It looked like you were hell-bent on firing him anyway, why ruin the season? Let Nagelsmann have his go, and just sack him at the end of it. Just no justification for this at all, really. Strike number two.
Terrible transfer(s), stressful sponsorship.
The final strike might be a weaker reason compared to the previous two, but it came with us finally getting to really see how good our transfer window this summer was, along with the fact that the board is also edging towards a highly controversial and hated decision: renewing the sponsorship with Qatar Airways.
FC Bayern fans protesting against the renewal of the controversial sponsorship with Qatar Airways: "Our butcher cuts Qatar's long arm." (Source: L'Equipe)
The latter is self explanatory. On the other hand, Mané is nearing the end of his first season at Bayern. A much awaited superstar-signing to somewhat offset Lewandowski's bitter departure. Regular performances that are not up to par and scrambles with teammates whilst being paid a huge salary is reason enough for him to cement himself as one of the worst Bayern signings in a while. Gnabry's renewal too added to that cause and Gravenberch, who has just one start this season all make us rethink: was the transfer window really that good? It definitely wasn't as good as some would've thought, but more of a hits and misses type. Together, this is strike number three.
An unwarranted decision, an even worse explanation and terrible attempt to save face: both backfired; along with wasted money and no solid stance on a controversial matter the fans are completely against. This entire season has just simply been a big blunder for the board, and there's no coming back from it. Three strikers and you're out.
I will no longer give them the benefit of the doubt anymore. It's over. Time to go, and close the door on your way out. This article's sub-titles might have been alliterated, but this won't be: Jetzt Zurücktreten (resign now).