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Neverkusen nevermore: It’s time to give Thomas Tuchel less power at Bayern Munich

“He can’t keep getting away with this!”

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Rene Nijhuis/MB Media/Getty Images

Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel is not going to be fired and maybe that is the correct call, maybe not. Only the club’s board can be accountable for that decision.

And yes, Tuchel is not solely at fault for the team’s cataclysmic debacle against Bayer Leverkusen in 3-0 defeat.

It is true that many of his handpicked players (and also some of the ones that he thinks he has been saddled with in Bavaria) also played a role in helping put Bayer Leverkusen in a position to control its own destiny to win the Bundesliga this season.

Negligent coaching and a failure in execution was the perfect combination for a letdown against Bayer Leverkusen.

However, it is Tuchel, who should shoulder the majority of the blame. After all, it was the manager who decided — on a whim? — to change formations without any actual match practice in running a 3-4-2-1 with this personnel (or really just using the formation at all).

It was also Tuchel who opted to leave proven stars — and the three players who might have been Bayern Munich’s three best players last season — Matthijs de Ligt, Thomas Muller, and Joshua Kimmich on the bench for the likes of Aleksandar Pavlović, Sacha Boey, Eric Dier, Jamal Musiala, and Leroy Sané.

Pavlović was the hot-hand for sure, but he is also just 19-years-old and was put in a position to play a vital role in what was the most important game of the season. This was not FC Augsburg as the competition and Tuchel did the youngster a disservice by using him in that spot when more proven players were available. Pavlović’s struggles with tracking runners continued and played a major role in Bayer Leverkusen’s second goal.

Sacha Boey? Tuchel needed his pace at left wing-back (!?) so bad that he ditched his normal formation...all for the Frenchman to prove that is yet another, “not ready for primetime player.” It was a bit of poetic justice that Josip Stanišić — a player Tuchel had no use for last summer — scored the opener by taking advantage of Boey, who was clueless on the play. What made this decision more baffling was Boey’s experience resides in playing on the right side. His lack of familiarity with checking his left shoulder while defending deep, put Bayern Munich in a hole.

Eric Dier has been very solid so far in his tenure at the club and was a good pickup, but Bayern Munich did not acquire him to play him in such a vital game — especially when De Ligt was available. Bayern Munich got him as an insurance policy and somehow, this was the game where Tuchel decided Dier needed to be a part of the XI. Only complete and utter arrogance could lead to such a decision being made. To be clear again, Dier was a solid acquisition, but this was not the scenario anyone envisioned for him when he joined to help with the team’s depth.

Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sané? They are great players, but Sané has looked rundown for a month now and has scuffled with his performances, effort, and attitude at various points during the past few weeks.

The golden child, Musiala, has been the dirty little secret for anyone paying attention since January of 2023 — he just has not been that good, but no one wants to say it. And Tuchel (on his own volition or on orders from up high) seems incapable of sending him to the bench for a reboot. And do not misunderstand — Musiala is still just 20 (?!) with unlimited potential — but he is not an untouchable “must have” player in every match (especially as a No. 10). Bayern Munich should look forward to a future with him, but does not need to operate in fear of him.

It was Tuchel — once again — who included all of them to face Bayer Leverkusen. For a man, who has spent all season lamenting about what he does not have on the roster, he sure does not look like he knows what to do with the players he does have in the squad.

Perhaps the message from the board to Tuchel should simply have been “deal with it” rather than take his continued input on squad planning for future seasons (he is only under contract through 2024/25 afterall).

In the end, though, this was all preventable. If you put your best effort out against the league’s best and hottest team — and still lose, then you tip your cap and move to fight another day. However, until Tuchel puts what is best for the team in front of what he wants, this project will not succeed.

The sooner the Bayern Munich board realizes that, the easier the reload (not rebuild) will be. The longer this blind faith in a faulty vision continues to push forward, the longer — and more arduous — it will be to put the team back in a position of true power.

Even if Bayern Munich comes back and wins the league again this season (and that is certainly possible), the writing has been on the wall for where this is all headed. Will Bayern Munich reassess its strategic vision or will it be left holding the bag once again for a coach absolutely no one is certain will be with the club in 18 months.

Looking for a more in-depth review of the game, or do you just want to wallow in our misery? Then check out our postgame podcast! Chuck and INNN talk about Tuchel’s shortcomings and why Bayern Munich were outclassed by Bayer Leverkusen. Listen to it below or on Spotify.

As always, we appreciate all the support!

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