Thomas Tuchel: The Tale of How Self Destruction Cost Bayern Munich Boss in His Career

Thomas Tuchel: The Tale of How Self Destruction Cost Bayern Munich Boss in His Career

Martin Moses
updated at February 22, 2024 at 10:51 AM
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FSV Mainz 05
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Borussia Dortmund
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Bayern Munich
  • Thomas Tuchel is one of the revered managers in modern-day football
  • However, his impatience and sharp mouth have cost him multiple times
  • We look at how his times at major clubs unravelled before he was sacked

Thomas Tuchel is set to be jobless once again in the summer after Bayern Munich confirmed that they would part ways.

A winless streak of three games and reported fall-out of top stars in the team seems to have convinced the Bayern hierarchy that another change was nigh, barely one year after bringing him on.

Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Mainz 05, PSG, BVB
Bayern Munich and Thomas Tuchel will part ways at the end of the season. Photo by Ralf Ibing - firo sportphoto.
Source: Getty Images

Tuchel might not be up there with the crème de la crème of coaches like Pep Guardiola or Carlo Ancelotti, but he is widely regarded as one of the most tactically astute managers of all time.

Winning the Champions League with an unfancied Chelsea in 2021, just a season after guiding Paris Saint-Germain to their first-ever final, immensely improved the profile of a man thrust into management early after a knee cartilage injury ended his career.

But despite his success, ability to read games, and humour-filled press conferences (when things were going well), Tuchel has similarly mastered the art of self-destruction, which has been a hindrance in his career so far.

Herein, we look at how the German tactician built a name for himself in the various clubs he was at before quickly spoiling his reputation.

Analysing Tuchel's career self-destruction

1. Mainz - 2009 to 2014

Neither Mainz nor Tuchel had planned to work together, but after the club decided to unceremoniously sack Jorn Andersen a few days before the Bundesliga season started, a quick option was needed.

Andersen's dismissal was shocking as it was the Norwegian who had masterminded their return to top flight football. Hiring a managerial novice to oversee their first campaign back in the Bundesliga and remain there looked like too big of a gamble for Mainz.

However, Tuchel quickly allayed fears, leading the team to an unbeaten start in three games. The last of these three games was a 2-1 win over giants, Bayern Munich, which served to show Mainz's fans the new man was competent.

Mainz would later beat Borussia Dortmund as they finished the season in the top half of the league - the first time in the club's history.

The following season, Die Nullfünfer were fifth and qualified for Europe before the problems began. Tuchel became increasingly impatient at having to work with a shoestring budget, and he asked the club to terminate his contract - which left the board and players shocked.

2. Borussia Dortmund - 2015-2017

Mainz would become the last club Tuchel would spend more than three years at. Dortmund moved in for him after Jurgen Klopp left for Liverpool.

For the second time in his career, Tuuchel had replaced Klopp at a club he was at. Klopp had set the bar high at Signal Iduna Park after winning two Bundesliga titles and reaching the 2013 Champions League final.

Tuchel started on the right note, going unbeaten in his first seven games, but the tone changed rapidly after losing 5-1 to Bayern Munich.

Tuchel wasn't involved in Dortmund transfers

In the end, they finished 10 points behind Guardiola's team and were eliminated in the quarter-final stage of the Europa League.

The first bone of contention was when the club tried to sign Oliver Torres, but Tuchel rejected the transfer. The manager reportedly, thereafter, banned the club's scouting chief, Sven Mislintat, from the training ground.

Tuchel then lost the dressing room after the team bus was attacked by a roadside pipe bomb en route to a Champions League clash against Monaco. Only Marc Barta was injured, but the incident had severe psychological ramifications on the squad.

It is reported that Tuchel demanded his players play the game the following day despite publicly condemning UEFA for rescheduling it by only one day. German journalist, Pit Gottschalk, wrote that the manager, in fact, insulted his players when they asked not to play immediately.

Despite winning the DFB-Pokal that season, Tuchel never got the players back on his side and was eventually sacked at the end of the season.

3. Paris Saint-Germain - 2018- 2020

Tuchel's first posting outside Germany came when PSG came calling in 2018. The French giants saw him as a disciplinarian who could help them get to the promised land of the Champions League.

His main problem in Paris was to get the superstars, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, involved in the pressing. His attention to detail tactics involved everyone in the team putting in the work. The first season was a failure despite winning Ligue 1. PSG collapsed against an understrength Manchester United in the Champions League.

More signings would follow before the start of his second season, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a half. When play resumed, PSG went to Portugal, where they played the reorganised Champions League tournament.

2020 Champions League final

They were beaten by Bayern Munich in the final, and it was afterwards that things started to unravel. He was publicly unhappy that Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva had been allowed to leave on free transfers. His comments drew the ire of the sporting director Leonardo, who told him to 'respect the people above him.'

"It was a question of the cycle. And his was nearing the end because there were things we were missing. We felt it was the time to change to bring new impetus to our season. We knew - and he knew - that it was going to be difficult to renew his contract at the end of the season," said the club president, Nasser Al-Khellaifi, to France Football.

The criticisms and thinly veiled attacks in the media did not stop, and he was finally sacked on December 24, four months after reaching the Champions League final.

4. Chelsea - 2021- 2022

Barely a month later, Tuchel was back on the touchline after he was roped in to replace club legend, Frank Lampard. He arrived in West London with the club in ninth place and led them to the Champions League victory, the FA Cup final, and a fourth-place finish.

So good was the side that Chelsea were touted as rivals to Manchester City in the Premier League race at the start of the 2021/2022 season. His issues started with the new ownership of Todd Boehly, who wanted a hands-on manager they would consult about transfers.

Tuchel is said to have wanted to be excluded from the other operations of the club and focus solely on coaching. Eventually, the owners made up their minds that the former PSG manager wasn't the person they wanted leading the club going forward.

His sacking, despite coming after a run of terrible results, had zero to nothing to do with on-pitch issues.

5. Bayern Munich - 2023-2024

The 50-year-old would then move to a fourth big club in eight years after Bayern Munich shocked the world by sacking Julian Nagelsmann.

The Bavarian giants hoped that they could back on his tactical nous to get the better of Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals. That was not to be, as Guardiola's side ran them ragged in both legs.

Concerns started to grow when Dortmund threatened to pip them to the title - which they almost did, were it not for a dramatic last-day collapse.

Attack by Bayern legends

Bayern legends, led by Didi Hamann and Lothar Matheus, questioned Tuchel's approach to games and his usage of players. Not to take it lying down, Tuchel fired back and, at one point, refused to engage in a press conference where one of the legends was present.

Tuchel also fell out with Joshua Kimmich as he pressured the club to sign Fulham's Joao Palinha. Kimmich is understood to have nearly exchanged blows with one of Tuchel's assistants after their loss to Bochum.

As he leaves Bayern Munich in the summer, a manager of his calibre will surely have many suitors. But at this point, boards will hire him, knowing too well that a time will reach when 'something' will snap, and Tuchel will either want out or force them to sack him.

How Bayern Munich's last coaches performed

Sports Brief has also taken a look at how the last six managers at Bayern Munich fared, with Tuchel expected to leave at the end of the season.

The Bavarian giants have had six managers since Pep Guardiola left the club in 2016. Tuchel replaced Nagelsmann in the middle of last season and went on to win the Bundesliga.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
Thomas Tuchel