Thomas Tuchel's eyes shone, and a smile flitted across the face of the new Bayern coach. The 49-year-old could feel the huge anticipation of his Munich bang start and the expected goosebumps duel with ex-club Borussia Dortmund at every second.
"When we're in the stadium, it will definitely be emotional. The peculiarity of the table situation, the peculiarity of the rivalry between the two teams. It will be a hot match," said Tuchel enthusiastically the day before the most important game of the season in Germany. "It definitely sends a signal. We want to go back to the top of the table."
The spectacular coach quake at FC Bayern has further increased the great importance of the German Clásico. And the fact that the Bundesliga summit on Saturday (6.30 p.m. / Sky), which is broadcast in over 200 countries, is also against Borussia, who left Tuchel with the DFB Cup title and discord six years ago, provides the extra dose of tingling.
Tuchel feels "positive energy" and a lot of "desire"
"It's long enough over for me to put a stop to it," said Tuchel, who found enough distance after Dortmund at the highest level with Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea. The mood was "rather forgiving". He would still love to start the top game gala evening like seven-title coach Hansi Flick did in his first league appearance as Munich head coach: with a win (4-0) against BVB.
"Work, eat, sleep, repeat" was his motto for the first turbulent working days on Säbener Strasse, reported Tuchel in the almost 40-minute and therefore unusually long press conference. He felt "a very positive energy" and a lot of "desire" among the stars to start again in the 108th Bundesliga classic. The recently injured Jamal Musiala and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are alternatives again.
After the massive end of Julian Nagelsmann's term in office, Tuchel had to improvise in the short preparation time for his first Bundesliga game in 2142 days. He feared "unfair" line-up decisions with just one unit with the full squad.
The change of coach also makes things more complicated for BVB. As a result, one does not know "exactly to what extent Thomas Tuchel will build on what Julian Nagelsmann has played in the past few weeks or whether he is bringing in a completely new idea," said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic, who was assistant coach to Tuchel's Dortmund tenure at West Ham United in England.
Promise to Hoeness
Tuchel patiently provided information on a wide range of questions, including about his not always easy character or his age. "Thin ice to ask me about my 50th," joked Tuchel, who was happy to report on a conversation with Honorary President Uli Hoeneß. He had welcomed the commitment after it had failed in the past because of Hoeneß. "I wanted to tell him that I'm doing my best to take good care of his club," said Tuchel.
CEO Oliver Kahn and sports director Hasan Salihamidzic will watch this closely after their hard cut in the coaching position. In groundbreaking weeks with the cup quarter-finals against SC Freiburg as the next task and the upcoming Champions League highlight against Manchester City, they are also in the focus after Nagelsmann's exit.
A look at the balance sheet should calm Kahn, who had raged in the honorary stand in the late 2-2 equalizer in the first leg. Because from BVB's point of view, it's pure football horror: Eight defeats, some of them clear, and a total of 6:33 goals recently rained down in the Allianz Arena in the league. But unlike in these duels between the subscription champions and BVB, who are regularly demoted to well-wishers, the starting position in a season with more than just a hint of title tension is different this time. A win would increase Dortmund's lead to four points.
Tuchel does not see the BVB game as a title decision
"We can send a signal to ourselves and to the competition. We also want to show that we are different than in recent years," said Terzic. He can again rely on regular keeper Gregor Kobel, offensive man Julian Brandt, midfielder Salih Özcan and the two strikers Karim Adeyemi and Youssoufa Moukoko. Leader Emre Can returns to the team after a yellow card suspension.
The two major Bundesliga powers, one of which has always won the title since 2009, did not see the explosive showdown as a decision in this year's championship fight. "We won't be champions if we win and we won't write off the championship if we don't win," said Tuchel.
But it wouldn't be surprising if the winner of the direct duel also danced with the bowl in the rain of confetti on the 34th matchday. "The nice thing is that the championship will not be decided this Saturday, no matter how it turns out," said BVB Managing Director Hans-Joachim Watzke and joked with a view to Bayern Honorary President Hoeneß. "Uli once said: 'The trend is your friend.' We have caught up ten points on Bayern in the past few months, so our team can travel to Munich with a lot of self-confidence for the first time in a long time."