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Bayern Munich legend believes that the team has been worse under Thomas Tuchel

Lothar Matthäus did not mince any words when he reviewed Thomas Tuchel’s tenure at Bayern so far. Worryingly, it is hard to disagree with his analysis.

1. FC Köln v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
Is it already time for #TuchelOut?
Photo by Stefan Matzke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s 2022/23 season wasn’t a resounding success by any measure, at least on the pitch. Barely eking out a Bundesliga trophy on the last matchday and crumbling in the Champions League and the DFB Pokal, any level-headed football analyst/fan would conclude that the last 2 months of the season were nothing short of disastrous.

If not for Borussia Dortmund handing the Bundesliga trophy to Bayern in one of the biggest bottle jobs in history, the club would have ended trophyless this season. And it is hard to imagine what coach Thomas Tuchel’s position would’ve been in that case.

Club legend Lothar Matthäus, a Sky expert during Bayern’s last Bundesliga fixture against FC Köln gave his two cents on Tuchel’s Bayern. “Of course, many mistakes were made even before the change of coach, which ultimately led to this situation. But the team that was still on course for a triple under Nagelsmann is playing worse under Tuchel,” opined the pundit.

SV Werder Bremen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
“That man’s getting sacked, isn’t he?”
Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Lothar believes that the Bundesliga title should be a given, considering Bayern Munich’s squad strength and quality: “The squad is so strong individually that you have to at least become champions with it.” However, he thinks that “the team doesn’t work because everyone is preoccupied with themselves.” And what seems to be at the center of the problem? The coach. Not my words, but his.

Furthermore, Lothar questioned the coach’s attitude and added: “Tuchel has heightened the uncertainty because, at his press conferences, which seem a bit strange to me, he’s always talking about how difficult everything is and what’s not working, instead of putting himself in front of the team.” A top coach should be willing to take responsibility, shake things up, and rally the team in times of crisis. This is not what Bayern fans witnessed during the season’s most important period.

The former Bayern midfielder also thinks that Tuchel’s Bayern lacks stability because of deploying players away from their best positions. “Compared to the 6-0 win against Schalke on Matchday 32, a week later in the 1-3 loss to Leipzig Gnabry suddenly played on the left, Coman on the right, and Müller center forward, which is certainly not his best position. How are stability and security supposed to develop there?” He certainly seems to have a point here. Julian Nagelsmann already had the attack functioning really well before Tuchel took over, and at the business end of the season, there was perhaps little reason to tinker around with the players’ best positions.

FC Bayern München v TSG Hoffenheim - Bundesliga
“Please do something, anything. Just save my job!”
Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

He continued: “Then, at 1:1, Tuchel substituted goal scorer Gnabry for the out-of-form Sané, plus Goretzka, who really dug in, for the unhappy Gravenberch. And at 1:2 he brings on Tel for Coman, who is actually the only one still strong in one-on-one situations. Incomprehensible, that seemed really clueless.”

BFW Analysis

All of this paints a rather dreary picture. You can argue that he didn’t have the tools he would’ve desired. You can argue that he didn’t have much time to integrate his ideas. You can argue that the players are not good enough. There is, however, no running away from the fact that the board messed up big time when they fired a certain Julian Nagelsmann to “save the season.” All they’ve done is save airplane fuel.

Granted, Tuchel has coached some attack-minded sides before to noteworthy levels of success, but within two months, he has completely changed the way Bayern approaches games, and not in a good way. The team looks extremely passive, the attacking intensity is gone, and the players do not look like they’d go to war for him. This is the same Bayern that fuelled dreams of another UCL title this season after dismantling PSG like a LEGO tower in the hands of a toddler.

Many of his tactical decisions have also been rather poorly justified. Benching Thomas Müller, the team’s creative lifeline and a clutch player in big fixtures in favour of “faster” players did little to help matters. Changing the preferred positions of wingers, shuffling the midfield around, and changing the team’s structure during the season’s most crucial phase showed a rather poor understanding of the situation.

Okay, I think that’s enough... the point has been made. I am not against Tuchel being the coach. I just am not a fan of what he’s done to Bayern’s identity so far. Maybe next season he might be able to show his true abilities with a greater involvement in squad planning and more time to integrate his plans. He didn’t do himself any favours this season, though.

For his own sake, I hope he is able to make amends this season. If not, in the words of INNN, “We just wait till October, when we’ll have a new coach.”

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