Newly-appointed Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel said on Saturday he was “dumbstruck” at being offered the position after replacing the sacked Julian Nagelsmann. Tuchel, 49, has been appointed on a two-and-a-half year contract after Nagelsmann was dismissed in just his second season in charge of Bayern.
Nagelsmann lost his job with the six-time European champions on Friday with the club second in the Bundesliga, but he had guided them through to the Champions League quarter-finals. Tuchel was fired by Chelsea in September despite leading the club to the Champions League title in 2021, and spoke to Bayern bosses late on Tuesday.
“Believe me or not, I was a bit dumbstruck in the first 30 seconds of our first discussion,” Tuchel told reporters. “I didn’t know what we were talking about. It became clear that it was for right now. I was completely surprised. The timing was surprising. There was no contact beforehand,” the former Paris Saint-Germain boss added.
Tuchel has a reputation for occasional abrasiveness and demands total backing from his employers – a requirement which strained relations at both Chelsea and PSG. Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic defended the move to get rid of 35-year-old Nagelsmann and denied the decision to hire Tuchel was done in panic.
“The situation between the coach and the team no longer worked,” Salihamidzic said. “We came to the conclusion that we needed a coach like this, who has gained a lot of experience, also abroad. On Tuesday evening we met and had a very good conversation. He was very excited from the first second,” the former Bayern player added.
Tuchel inherits a side including Senegal forward Sadio Mane, Germany’s Joshua Kimmich as well as Canada international Alphonso Davies. “The squad is one of the most talented and best squads in Europe,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working with this squad. You’re a contender for every trophy with these players. That puts me under pressure but at Bayern it’s about winning all titles. We are here to win all the titles.”
Bayern are still in the hunt for three trophies this season. They face Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on April 11. The fixture at City comes a week after Bayern host Freiburg in the last eight of the German Cup. “The club’s DNA involves a commitment. Bayern is about winning, also about the way of winning,” said Tuchel.
Tuchel’s first match will come as soon as April 1 after the international break. Bayern will meet league leaders Borussia Dortmund, the club that Tuchel coached from 2015-2017. “It’s the (big) match in German football,” he said. “It has another level of importance. I would have liked to have a few more training sessions but I won’t have too many looking at the schedule and the international break this week,” Tuchel said.
Tuchel, a long-time Bayern target since their first attempt to sign him in 2018, built a reputation as a forward-thinking tactician in the Bundesliga during his time at Mainz 05 before taking over at Dortmund and leading them to German Cup success in 2017.
“He led PSG to the Champions League final, at Chelsea he was successful from the start, won the Champions League. That’s an impressive CV,” said Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn. “That shows development so we are delighted that Thomas Tuchel is now our coach.”
Bayern Munich’s new coach Thomas Tuchel (right) and the club’s CEO Oliver Kahn attend a press conference in Munich on Saturday. (AFP)