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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Thomas Tuchel: The manager on the verge of history that no one wants

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Thomas Tuchel may be in one of the strangest situations in football management anywhere in the world right now. 

The 50-year-old is on the verge of guiding Bayern Munich to the final of this year’s Uefa Champions League and possibly the seventh crown in the club’s history.

Just reaching the June decider in Wembley would be a massive personal achievement for the German. After bringing PSG to the cusp of glory in 2020 and winning the trophy the following year with Chelsea, Tuchel could become the first person to manage three different clubs in a European Cup final.

And yet, no matter what happens in the competition, Tuchel will walk the plank at the end of the season after both parties came to a mutual agreement as part of a “sporting realignment”.

This decision came right after a 1-0 defeat to Lazio against the backdrop of a disappointing league campaign in which they relinquished their iron grip on the Bundesliga to Bayer Leverkusen, of all clubs.

Even so, there’s an argument to say he should be one of the most sought-after free agents in the market heading into this summer. One of the brightest tactical minds around, he is a coach with a history of success that has proven himself in multiple countries.

A number of big clubs around the continent are, or at least were, on the lookout for a new manager, but he is being overlooked for all of them.

“I loved it at Chelsea and in England” 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Could we see Thomas Tuchel back in the Premier League next season…? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/KSqbX2rEA9

— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) May 8, 2024

Tuchel’s name barely registered in the reckoning for the Liverpool job in the wake of Jurgen Klopp’s announcement that he will be exiting Anfield this year. The Premier League side have instead decided to take a gamble and install Feyenoord boss Arne Slot in the hot seat, pending confirmation.

Manchester United were briefly linked with Tuchel, but so have numerous other managers. Some reports suggest that even Gareth Southgate is more likely to replace Erik ten Hag than him. Barcelona don’t seem to have even considered him before twisting Xavi’s arm to stay on.

Ironically, Bayern are not finding it easy to lock down a replacement. Each one of their preferred candidates – Xabi Alonso, Julian Nagelsmann and Ralf Rangnick – have decided they would rather stay where they are than work under the chaotic and muddled sportocracy of Bayern’s hierarchy.

It would behoove those at the top of the club to recognise that maybe the problem lies with them, not the manager, and do an about turn. Perhaps the smartest thing to do would be to stick with the man they’ve currently got, but as he says himself that appears a “very, very, very unlikely” outcome.

Unfortunately for Tuchel, it seems the biggest clubs consider him damaged goods. From his fallouts with upper management at both Borussia Dortmund and PSG, to his grievances with transfers at Chelsea and Bayern, it’s become clear he is a difficult character. But – with the exception of Carlo Ancelotti – virtually all of the best managers are; it’s something you have to accept if you want success at the highest levels.

Tuchel is one of only two managers to win silverware with Dortmund in the post-Klopp era, he boasts the best win percentage in Ligue 1 history, won three trophies with Chelsea and could add a European trophy to his Bundesliga title with FC Hollywood.

While Bayern are highly unlikely to run into the same problems currently plaguing Chelsea, they are risking making the same mistake as the west London outfit by throwing the baby out with the bathwater as part of their so-called “realignment”. Many Blues fans still look back on the decision to sack him as the beginning of the downturn as a serious football organisation.

Where Tuchel ends up is anyone’s guess. He may have to start over and build up his reputation at a ‘smaller’ club. Or he could bide his time until the right opportunity presents itself.

Winning the Champions League for a second time could change the picture entirely, though.

Read – Thomas Tuchel opens door to Premier League return

Read – Five who played for both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid

See more – Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich – Combined XI

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