Bayern Munich is closing in on its one year anniversary of the hiring of Thomas Tuchel.
With only the stretch run still to go until his official hiring date of March 24th, Tuchel’s appointment ultimately cost the men who made the decision to do it (Oliver Kahn and Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić) their jobs.
From a success standpoint, Tuchel has not met expectations, but the club seems to be hell bent on making it work. Tuchel has been knocked out of two DFB-Pokals, was trounced by Manchester City in the Champions League last season, needed a total collapse from Borussia Dortmund and a last minute goal from Jamal Musiala to win the Bundesliga last season, lost the DFL-Supercup, and now trails a very good Bayer Leverkusen side in the league title race for this campaign.
That...is not good.
The coach has also been critical of team fixtures like Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, while also refusing to play Goretzka and longtime stalwart Thomas Müller for long stretches. Tuchel has also reportedly damaged his relationship with the club’s massive acquisition in the summer of 2022 — center-back Matthijs de Ligt, who was widely considered to be the team’s best defender and maybe its best player last season.
Kimmich and Goretzka have taken the high road, while also letting it be known they are unhappy. De Ligt also has chosen to wade into the waters of a public debate with the coach. Meanwhile, Müller has kept everything “team first” as well.
However, the lack of public discourse does not mean that the locker room is not frustrated with the coach or is not nearing a state of being fractured. After the Eintracht Frankfurt loss, only Müller stepped to the plate to take questions from the media. Goretzka chose not to comment after the Werder Bremen loss, Leroy Sane was visibly irritated on the pitch with changes implemented by the coach against Werder Bremen.
Who can forget Kimmich’s “I am a No. 6” response to the media when reports broke that Tuchel did not see the German star in that role?
If the locker room is not divided now, it looks like it is heading in the direction of an “Us (the players) vs. Them (the coaches)” scenario — much like we have seen in some of Tuchel’s other stops. Simply put, he just might not be a people person.
More than anything though, fans should be worried about this: Bayern Munich is building the team in Tuchel’s s vision, which is dangerous at this stage. Tuchel could conceivably fail to win a trophy this season. He could he the leader of a team unraveling around him. What if....Tuchel fails and leaves Bayern Munich with a roster full of ill-fitting parts or — even worse — the club keeps him because they will be in too deep with him to turn back.
This is the nuclear scenario for Bayern Munich. Are we getting closer to that discussion needing to happen?
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