Er said what he didn’t even have to say at that moment. “The squad (…) is one of the most talented and best squads in Europe. (…) You can play for any title with this squad.” Thomas Tuchel stated it so clearly in his very first answer as FC Bayern football coach – and you couldn’t tell afterwards – but you could very well imagine how they did Men who sat by his side in the arena on Saturday afternoon would have happily patted the poet of this answer and probably themselves on the back if it hadn’t been for all these reporters.
Yes, Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidžić, the CEO and sporting director in Munich, are still confident that they have put together a very good squad even by FC Bayern standards. And no, they were no longer sure that Julian Nagelsmann would meet FC Bayern standards with this squad. So on March 24, 2023 they released Nagelsmann, the bringer of hope, to whom they once gave this very generous contract until June 30, 2026. Because if the squad can’t be blamed for the strong fluctuations in performance, then it must be the coach’s fault. Logical, right?
The next few weeks will make this visible with the new coach Thomas Tuchel. But if you want to understand why Kahn, Salihamidžić and obviously also Uli Hoeneß were so sure of their cause last week, this tiny moment helps when Tuchel said immediately on Saturday what he didn’t have to say.
Kovač instead of Tuchel
It is important to know that this story between the world coach from Krumbach (Bavarian Swabia) and the world club from Munich (Bavarian Hollywood), which is just entering the first chapter, has a short prologue. In the summer of 2018, when Munich was once again looking for a coach because Carlo Ancelotti was no longer allowed and Jupp Heynckes no longer wanted, Salihamidžić, sporting director at the time, was in contact with Tuchel.
But that was it, because Hoeneß didn’t want to accept Heynckes’ no as little as the Bavarian pensioners did the rumors about the cancellation of the BR evening series “Dahoam is Dahoam”. The series stayed, Heynckes not. In the meantime, however, Tuchel had opted for Paris Saint-Germain. And so FC Bayern chose Niko Kovač.
When Tuchel and his team met FC Bayern in the 2020 Champions League final (and lost 1-0), he did not meet coach Kovač, but his former assistant Hansi Flick.
Hoeneß and Tuchel were observed later that evening chatting at the stadium after the game. And there are some who believe that Hoeneß has been thinking very differently since then than in the summer of 2018, when he said in the “Abendzeitung” that the “smart guys wanted to talk us into a Thomas Tuchel”. By Saturday at the latest, that was confirmed.
Kahn raves about Tuchel’s vita
In the arena, Tuchel thanked four men who had previously placed their trust in him: Kahn, Salihamidžić, Herbert Hainer and – more or less surprisingly – Hoeneß. It was a bit more surprising because he only appears in the organizational chart as a member of the supervisory board. All in all, of course, it was less surprising because you know in Munich that Hoeneß was ultimately the organization chart of this club and in some ways still is.
Is Hoeneß himself a smartass? Or were the smart guys from back then just smarter than he thought?
Tuchel and FC Bayern – on the one hand, that could work because the coach has developed. That’s how you could understand Kahn in the round of introductions. He began his brief presentation with the Wikipedia facts: how his new coach worked with world-class players day after day in Paris and London, how he reached the Champions League final with one team and then even won with the other team have. “It’s an impressive CV,” said Kahn – and there’s a reason why people don’t remember that Kahn spoke so positively about Nagelsmann’s CV (TSG Hoffenheim, Rasenballsport Leipzig).