Bayern’s Coaching Conundrum

miasanrot Separator March 25, 2024

This article written by Lok San Wong

Tuchel out…in the summer

Let’s get this out of the way first, letting Tuchel go is ultimately the right decision. He’s obviously not solely responsible for the way this season has turned out but it was clear for everyone to see that things had become far too toxic and negative under his watch.

When the club announced he would be departing in June, they also made a point of demanding that everyone make the most of what remains of the season to achieve as much as possible. Since this announcement, Bayern have reiterated their intention of keeping Tuchel in charge barring any additional disasters.

The reasons for that are fairly clear. On one hand, they don’t see any good interim candidates to take charge until the end of the season when they will presumably go all out to get Xabi Alonso. On the other hand, they want to put the responsibility on the players by not giving into their wish of changing the coach at this stage. In fact, It’s been suggested that, as part of the course-correction plan of the club, a significant number of players are playing for their potential future at the club beyond this summer. 

While I understand their logic, I’m still not convinced that keeping Tuchel in charge is the right decision. First, the disconnect between many of the players and Tuchel is evident. Although it’s surely not as dramatic as some tabloids would suggest, it’s obvious that at least some of the team have not bought into Tuchel’s philosophy or methods. So despite the fact that his departure has been made official, they still have to train day-in day-out with a coach that they clearly do not trust. The decision may have cleared the air somewhat but it’s difficult to see how both camps could be truly content with the situation they find themselves in. 

Secondly, I think that the recent string of good performances might be very misleading and shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a positive response to Tuchel’s departure. We won against a Lazio team that didn’t put up any kind of fight and two teams that are battling relegation at the bottom of the table. Perhaps more importantly, the changes made in those games that actually helped our performances, were all but forced because of injuries (Mazraoui, Boey, Laimer, Davies), suspension (Upamecano) or players needing a rest (Kim). 

One can wonder if Tuchel would have made any of these changes ifhe had a full squad available. My impression of the last few games was that, for the most part, the players were playing a lot more freely, more directly and more instinctively than they have done in a long time. Was it because they thought they had nothing to lose anymore in this season? Was it the clarity over Tuchel’s imminent departure or the incentive of having to secure their place in the squad? Was it because of the level of opposition they faced? I suspect it’s probably a mixture of all that and maybe more. All in all, It was a good nudge to try and get out of the negative spiral but I would be very cautious in thinking that we’re out of the woods now.

Path Forward

Finally, setting aside our title chances that are, at best, incredibly slim at the moment. The decision to part ways with Tuchel represents a fresh start in many ways. The communication from the club’s hierarchy suggests there is an intention to depart from Bayern’s recent trend of cycling through coach after coach. Instead Eberl and Freund want to establish a consistent long term approach in which they have a clearly defined philosophy, system and style . 

As suggested by Eberl’s recent comments, the new coach will very much have to fit into that long term vision. The emphasis on this rebuild is also equally on the players, who themselves have vocally admitted their part in not meeting the standards this season. Indeed, noise coming out from the club indicates that big changes in the squad are not completely off the table. The idea is that everyone at the club, top to bottom, coach and players, must identify with the long term vision for success at Bayern. Everyone must pull in the same direction. 

To achieve that however, Bayern needs to wipe the slate clean. From that perspective, keeping a coach that essentially represents a past we are trying to move away from, is very much holding us back from starting fresh. Regardless, I think that ship has sailed now. I can’t see a scenario in which Bayern would remove Tuchel between now and the end of the season. 

So while it has been refreshing to see the team perform better and players like Musiala, Pavlović, Goretzka and Guerreiro have a resurgence in form, I’m still not convinced that they have turned the corner. There is undeniable talent in this team and there are reasons to be hopeful for a bright future but the underlying problems largely still exist.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. Firstly, it’s great to see new bloggers adding their voices to this blog. It has been one of my favorite spots for Bayern analysis.
    Secondly, feel I am probably 90 minutes premature- but I wonder how you feel about moving on from TT after the dumpster fire that has been the last 10 days.

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