An introspective Julian Nagelsmann at his last game with Bayern Munich.
Following a disappointing 2-1 loss against Bayer Leverkusen this past March, Bayern Munich swiftly replaced young manager Julian Nagelsmann with former Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel.
CEO Oliver Kahn identified dips in Nagelsmann’s performance as the primary motivation for the replacement, as the club dropped from first to second place in the Bundesliga table under his management. For Bayern, having won its 10th consecutive league title last season, this performance was unacceptable. It was time for a change.
“Julian shares our aspiration to play successful and attractive football. But now we have come to the conclusion that the quality in our squad - despite the Bundesliga title last year - has come to the fore less and less often,” Kahn said in the club’s official statement.
This dismissal shocked many, especially as Bayern chairman, Herbert Hainer, had talked just four days prior about the club’s “long term” plan for Nagelsmann and as Bayern remained top contenders to win the German Cup and the Champions League.
Nonetheless, motivated by problems in performance and tensions in the dressing room, Bayern Munich replaced Nagelsmann with German manager Tuchel. Known for his meticulous management style and close relationship with his players, Tuchel most recently managed Chelsea, where he won the Champions League, the European Super Cup, the Club World Cup, and the World Coach of the Year in 2021.
With this being said, Tuchel has struggled to adjust to his new club. Eliminated from the DFB Pokal by SC Freiburg and a 1-4 loss in the Champions League against Manchester City, Tuchel will be looking to pull together his new squad with the form and consistency he found previously.
Meanwhile, Nagelsmann has yet to find his next job, with rumors pointing ironically toward Tuchel’s former club Chelsea. The London club recently spent close to £600m in transfers following last year’s takeover by Todd Boehly, but they remain 11th in the Premier League and out of the Champions League. Currently, under the supervision of interim manager and club-legend Frank Lampard, Chelsea is looking for a long-term manager who can capitalize on the recent investments. At the moment, Nagelesmann is seen as the most likely appointment. The young coach is known for his flexible, high-pressing style, giving his players patterns of play to use against their opponents during the game. Chelsea’s co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart reportedly met with Nagelesmann last Thursday and are said to be impressed with his ideas, though no official statements have been made.
For Borussia Dortmund, only a handful of points from winning the Bundesliga, Bayern’s last-minute management changes may be a blessing. Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Tottenham are all looking for long-term managers, and Nagelsmann may be the young innovator they have been looking for. Through only one sacking among many this season, this move may prove impactful for teams across Europe.