Champions League: Alarm about Tuchel: Bayern staggering towards a titleless season

A heavily scarred Thomas Tuchel listened attentively to the banquet speech by the top Bayern boss at the board table.

Champions League: Alarm about Tuchel: Bayern staggering towards a titleless season

A heavily scarred Thomas Tuchel listened attentively to the banquet speech by the top Bayern boss at the board table. Jan-Christian Dreesen didn't want to sugarcoat anything on the Roman night after the next big goal for FC Bayern.

After the 0-1 (0-0) draw in the Champions League against the blatant round of 16 outsiders Lazio Rome, the Munich team are staggering towards the first titleless season in twelve years in a crisis situation that is not only stressful for the coach. “These are the days that you have to learn to deal with,” said CEO Dreesen, groaning in front of players and noble fans.

However, the pictures and words in the Waldorf Astoria team hotel above St. Peter's Cathedral gave no indication that the person in charge, Tuchel, who was increasingly in distress, had to fear a short-circuit reaction from the record football champions. When asked whether he was worried about his coaching job, he responded with one word four days after the humiliating 3-0 defeat in the league's top game against first-time leaders Bayer Leverkusen: "No!" There was no ultimatum, Tuchel will also sit on the bench as coach in Bochum on Sunday.

The 50-year-old refused further answers about his situation at the Stadio Olimpico. Tuchel did not want to make a plea as a lawyer on his own behalf. "I would like to talk about the game." Of course, the game didn't speak for him.

Müller and his friend support Tuchel

The media would be happy to have the coaching discussion, said Thomas Müller in the stadium catacombs when asked whether Tuchel was still the right coach. "First of all, we players are completely the wrong people to contact," said Müller, before loudly and irritably adding to the Tuchel questions: "That's also a bit disrespectful."

Sports director Christoph Freund didn't back down from coaching either. "We're all in the same boat. It's not easy now, but we'll get out of this together, that's our big goal," said the Austrian. Players, coaches, bosses - there is no one to blame in Bayern's emergency, even if Tuchel - as usual in the football business - is at the center of the storm. “Of course he’s also struggling with the situation because he wants to see the team differently on the pitch,” said Freund about the coach’s mental state.

Tuchel didn't help the team with his tactical and personnel experiments in Leverkusen. And the role backwards in Rome with Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich as well as the usual game system did not lead to success against a limited opponent below Leverkusen's quality. “A lot of things are just very difficult at the moment,” said captain Manuel Neuer. Tuchel and the team have fallen into a vicious circle.

The coach seems to despair of his stars. TV images showed him sitting on the bench, burying his face in his hands, stunned after losing the ball. He was shocked by the “crazy drop in performance in the second half”. And then “on top” came the game-winning faux pas from defender Dayot Upamecano. The Frenchman's foul with an open sole against Lazio attacker Gustav Isaksen led to the penalty being converted by ex-Dortmunder Ciro Immobile, including a red card. “We decided the game completely against ourselves,” complained Tuchel.

Racist attacks

In his speech after midnight, Dreesen strongly condemned the racist attacks against the 25-year-old Frenchman Upamecano on social media: "What particularly bothered me were the disgusting comments. All I can say is that it is despicable. This kind of thing Racist mob, that's not our world. That's not FC Bayern. That's something we won't put up with."

Meanwhile, Tuchel has to find a way out of Munich's downward spiral under time pressure. And that with an insecure, tense team in which offensive stars like Harry Kane and Leroy Sané are shadows of their former selves. Neuer warned internally in plain language: “We have to put our finger on the wound.” But he also called for solidarity: "It's no use falling apart now: "We need success experiences, we need moments of success. It's all about wins, about goals, about security that you get."

While still in Rome, Dreesen looked ahead to the second leg on March 5th in the Allianz Arena and referred to two former Bayern bosses. "Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß always said when the score was 0-1 away: "That's a result you can live with. You can still win it at home." That's the message we have to take with us. Our team has the quality."

Müller also remained "consciously self-confident," as he emphasized: "It's halftime. Sure, we have problems. Nevertheless, things can happen very quickly in football. We now have three weeks to fight for the quarter-final ticket." The 34-year-old added aggressively with a view to the decisive second leg: "Lazio didn't go for the second goal when they had the majority. And I hope that we can punish that (in the second leg)."