Tuchel Time

Marc Separator October 10, 2023

While it may not look like it on the surface of the rest of this article, I am still very much willing to give Tuchel more time and am not advocating for his removal. However, the general performances under his leadership have been pretty awful.

Digging In

I am by nature a stats person. Growing up in the US, we overanalyze nearly every sport statistically. There are stats available for anything and everything you could possibly want, and while statistics do not always tell a full story, sometimes they are also undeniable.

I mention this because whenever I try to delve into the statistical world of football, I am constantly amazed at the dearth of information available, especially going back further than 5-6 years. When I see something or think I see something, I like to check if the stats back that up or if I’m applying a bias based on my own preconceived notions.

My instinct has been that, in general, Bayern have been awful under Tuchel. To the point that I think there is an argument that so far he has been Bayern’s worst manager in the last decade. Given that Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovač are in that group, that is not a statement I take lightly.

So since I could not find the exact data I was looking for straight away, I went and pulled it myself. To be clear I ignored Willy Sagnol’s one match in charge between Kovač and Hansi Flick.

Stats

Results

This was a relatively straightforward pull though. Simply, I took Bayern’s full game log since the 2011/12 season up to and including this year and analyzed the performances of each manager who has been in charge. It must be said that the relatively small sample size for Tuchel is going to weigh on certain things heavier than others but that certainly does not excuse everything as we’ll see.

First of all I looked at every manager’s record during that time. Wins, Losses and Draws. In the 23 matches he has managed, Tuchel has the worst win percentage (60.87%), the highest loss percentage (21.74%) and second highest draw percentage (17.39%) behind Kovač’s 18.46%.

Moreover, these percentages aren’t even close. The next worst win percentage is Kovač at 69.23% which is nearly 9% better than Tuchel. The next worst loss percentage is Ancelotti at 15.00% which is nearly 7% better than Tuchel.

Furthermore, the losses are damning on a simple total basis as well. Tuchel’s 5 losses in his first 23 matches is over halfway to Ancelotti’s 9 losses in 60 matches in charge or just over one third of the total matches for Ancelotti.

The only coaches with more than 10 losses in that time are Pep and Jupp (11-13), but they also have the most matches coached at 151 and 96, respectively. This means that in such a short time in charge, Tuchel is halfway or more to the total number of losses each of the other five previous coaches had during their tenures over the last 12 years.

I also calculated out the points per game under each manager which again paints Tuchel in a poor light. Tuchel has by far the worst PPG of the eight managers with the next closest being Ancelotti at 2.25, 25 basis points better than Tuchel’s 2.00.

Scoring

I however wanted to look beyond just wins and losses. Goals scored and allowed is another easy statistic to pull, but one that tells a bigger story. I assumed that Tuchel’s time in charge would not rank highly in the goals scored category but might do alright in the goals allowed.

That proved to be completely incorrect though. Bayern actually have scored the least amount of goals per game under Tuchel and have allowed by far the most. In fact only Kovač’s teams allowed more than one goal per match (1.12) in his time apart from Tuchel who’s teams have allowed an astounding 1.30 goals per game.

The 2.39 goals scored per match is also the worst of his contemporaries, though he is just narrowly behind Pep and Jupp by 1 and 4 basis points, respectively. Every other manager has managed well over 2.50 goals per match with Julian Nagelsmann leading the way with an impressive 3.04 goals scored per match.

The table below summarizes these key statistics for you to peruse yourself. As you can see, Tuchel’s record/performance does not stack up well against any of the other seven coaches Bayern have had since 2011.

CoachGamesWLDGFGAGF/GGA/GW%L%D%PPG
Tuchel23145455302.391.3060.87%21.74%17.39%2.00
Nagelsmann84601014255843.041.0071.43%11.90%16.67%2.31
Flick846879250832.980.9980.95%8.33%10.71%2.54
Kovac6545812169732.601.1269.23%12.31%18.46%2.26
Jupp (17)423354114362.710.8678.57%11.90%9.52%2.45
Ancelotti604299154482.570.8070.00%15.00%15.00%2.25
Pep15111318203621012.400.6774.83%11.92%13.25%2.38
Jupp (11-13)96721311233592.430.6175.00%13.54%11.46%2.36
Coaching performance under each manager since the 2011/12 season in order.

Takeaways

So what exactly should we take away from this? Personally, it confirmed for me what I have been seeing week in, week out under Tuchel. The performances have not been good. The results have been pretty bad. There are real reasons to be concerned.

However, I also am not someone who thinks that a team should cycle through coaches every 5 months. I have always been of the opinion that any coach you bring in (baring absolute disaster) should be given around 18 months before a conversation about whether to move on is really broached.

For me, it takes that long most of the time for a coach to fully make their mark on a team. But what concerns me most at the moment is that I would consider the individual talent and collection of players to be amongst the best we’ve had in recent years.

Tuchel has been extremely boisterous about not having the holding midfielder he desires. That is an important position and would have a big impact on the team. But is that position really going to completely revolutionize this squad? The problems they have been having run much deeper than that in my opinion.

We didn’t give Nagelsmann any leniency last year when we played without a striker the entire season which was clearly a much bigger hole than Tuchel’s perceived lack of a six. Maybe the options we have there aren’t perfect but they’re certainly better than what we had at striker the year before.

My perception of Tuchel thus far is that he is maybe the most rigid manager that we’ve had in this time period. He has seemed borderline incapable of adapting his system or style to the players we have. I cannot name a single player that I think has improved as a result of playing under Tuchel that is not a direct result of bringing in Kane.

Moreover his ostracism of certain players, de Ligt especially, makes almost no sense. At some point every coach has to learn to use the players that they have instead of pining for the players they wish they had. No squad is ever going to be 100% ideal. You always have to make do to a certain extent and it’s up to the coach to find ways to make his system work for those players.

Hopefully that’s what eventually happens. I don’t think Tuchel is a bad coach but so far he has had a miserable start at Bayern. The things he’s trying to do and the way he’s trying to coach do not fit the players he has available to him and those players have the talent to compete at the very highest level in the right system.

It is up to Tuchel to find that system and get the most out of them. If he can manage to make those adjustments, I think he’ll find much more success and this start will be nothing more than a blip. If however he obstinately sticks to the same things he’s been doing, he’s going to find himself out of a job sooner rather than later.

Sunday may have been a start in the right direction. I felt like it was by far Bayern’s best performance under Tuchel to date. However, Freiburg’s perfomance undeniably played a signficant part as well which makes it hard to really judge. Ultimately, only time will tell.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. […] Dieser Text wurde aus dem Englischen übersetzt. Das Original lest ihr hier. […]

  2. Just what I feared before reading the article: the numbers don’t look good. I’ve been avoiding looking at statistic, but definitely Tuchel does not (has not) pass the eye test just yet. Based on his previous works at Dortmund, PSG and Chelsea I think he’s an excellent coach, if not a bit rigid, and I hold high hope for him. So far I have been doubting my selfs a few times already.

    But I agree, this is definitely not a good time to change coach again, I’m willing to give Tuchel more time and I still hope everything will come good.

    For the statistics, I have a more positive view: most of the bad numbers (number of losses, goals conceded) are from the final stretch of last season. The instability, or let’s say chaotic surrounding of the team back then, is too much of a mitigation factor. It’s clear the decision to remove Nagelsmann mid-way through March backfired badly. Those bad performances and drop in both intensity and mentality can not be (entirely) blamed on Tuchel. Meanwhile I actually like our performances in the 2 matches vs Man City, all thing considered.

    If you only count 2024 season, it looks much better, because bar the catastrophic Super Cup, Bayern has not lost a single match, and the 2 draws were versus 2 very good at in-form teams in Leverkusen and Leipzig. The performance has not been convincing for sure, but at least the trend seems to be upward.

    The change in playing style (from harakiri football previously with Flick, Nagelsmann) to “Tuchel-ball”, which is frankly a bit boring and slow, could also be a significant factor in the fluctuation performance between matches and phases. I hope and think it will be much better in a few months when the team get used to it. Whether it’s sufficient to challenge the like of Man City, Real Madrid in spring is to be seen.

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