Bayern Munich have emerged from Der Klassiker as 4-2 victors over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the first game of the Thomas Tuchel era. But for now, it’s former manager Julian Nagelsmann’s sudden sacking that is the hot topic in the minds of players and reporters.
“We were very surprised Nagelsmann & his two assistants were sacked,” said Bayern defender Benjamin Pavard after the game (via @iMiaSanMia). “I’d like to dedicate today’s win to them. But that’s football, we players don’t make these decisions. The new coach is very experienced and successful. We have to move on and continue like today.”
The Frenchman has a contract through June of 2024, and his future in Bavaria has been the subject of much speculation over the course of this season — particularly with frequent suggestions that he favors the center-back position, but had been deployed primarily as a right-back.
However, Nagelsmann always had faith in Pavard and it seems their rapport remained excellent. The ex-Bayern coach also has substantial amounts of back three in his tactical roots, and has been flexing that look more and more since the start of the Rückrunde — with Pavard in a pivotal role as the right-sided center-back. For a while, recently, it was looking more and more like Pavard would extend his stay.
Tuchel’s arrival could throw Pavard’s future into open question again, however. Though the ex-Chelsea FC manager has also been known to deploy a back three, he started with a 4-2-3-1 in his first game at Bayern. Pavard played, and shone — and fellow center-back Dayot Upamecano is now suspended for the next game. Could there still be a lot more central defending in Pavard’s future at Bayern yet?
Interested in a more in-depth look at the game? Curious about why Thomas Tuchel chose a 4-2-3-1? How did it differ from Nagelsmann’s Bayern? We talk about all that and more in our postgame podcast. Listen to it below or at this link.
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