Former Leverkusen star and German international Kai Havertz knows a thing or two about suffering through a bad season.
“Everything that can go wrong went wrong for us this year,” the Chelsea FC forward told kicker in an interview earlier this month. “The season actually started relatively quietly. We had a change of ownership, which was a big change for the whole club. And then Thomas Tuchel was fired, which of course always makes a difference in a team like this, when you’ve been successful with a coach and then gets fired out of nowhere.”
Parallels? Bayern Munich have seen their season’s ambitions evaporate as well, and in a twist of fate, it’s ex-Blues coach Thomas Tuchel whose availability set the whole operation into motion.
But while the Bavarians are only suffering a slide to second in the Bundesliga, the Blues have slid much further. Mid-table in the Premier League, Chelsea are out of any of the European competitions, and they’re not even close. A season of four coaches (two interim) is culminating in the hiring of Mauricio Pochettino — but will that be enough to turn things around?
Havertz isn’t shying away from responsibility, either.
“Of course it’s easy to find excuses,” he added. “I’m not a fan of blaming everything on something else. At the end of the day, we’re all professional footballers and we have to win a game sometimes.”
After lighting up the Bundesliga in his final two seasons at Leverkusen, Havertz has found life in London to be tough sledding. This year, the attacker has only seven goals and one assist (as of 33 matchdays), and he has only two years remaining on the five-year contract he signed upon arriving at Chelsea.
Is it time for the German to think about his future? To, maybe, come home to the Bundesliga? It’s a “giant squad” at Chelsea, Havertz has admitted, posing another problem for harmony and rhythm — and now it’s a squad that will not have a European competition to play in. Big changes might be expected in the summer transfer window.
But if Havertz wants to make sure his next club won’t be one where a coach can get fired “out of nowhere”, maybe he’ll need to focus his gaze beyond Munich.