Bayern Munich hired Thomas Tuchel as their new manager on Friday to replace Julian Nagelsmann ahead of a game that could decide the champion.
Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn blamed “the high fluctuations in performance” and said. that the team was not showing its full potential under Nagelsmann.
Tuchel will start training with the team on Monday and has signed a contract until the end of the 2024-25 season. His first duel in front of him will be the classic against Borussia Dortmund on April 1st.
The decision came after the team lost 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Sunday and fell to second place behind Borussia.
“Julian shares our aspirations to play attractively and successfully. But now we come to the conclusion that the quality of the team – despite the Bundesliga title last year – has begun to flank,” Kahn acknowledged.
“After the World Cup we have been less successful and less attractive. The big fluctuations in performance have put our goals for the season in doubt, but also our goals for the future. This is why we had to act now.”
Bayern have had ups and downs over the past two months in the domestic league, but Nagelsmann’s sacking came as a surprise especially after they beat Paris Saint-Germain to reach the Champions League quarterfinals earlier this month.
In a sign of loyalty to Nagelsmann on the team, midfielder Joshua Kimmich on Friday praised him and called him an “exceptional” coach.
Bayern’s next match is on April 1st in the classic against Dortmund in a matchup that could be key to deciding the champion.
Tuchel led Chelsea to the Champions League title in 2021 and previously managed Borussia and Paris Saint-Germain — losing the 2020 Champions League final to Bayern. He has been jobless since Chelsea’s new American owners sacked him in September after a surprise loss to Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb.
Bayern face Manchester City on April 11 in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Nagelsmann became Bayern’s youngest manager in 30 years after receiving a five-year deal in 2021 at the age of 33. A year earlier he led Leipzig to the Champions League semifinals, which they lost to Tuchel’s PSG.
Nagelsmann’s intense pressing style, with an advanced offensive line, gave them the Bundesliga title last year with some high-scoring wins – Bayern averaged almost three goals a game last season in the league – but also notable defeats in counterattack.
The loss to Leverkusen was the fifth of 10 league games in 2023 in which Bayern dropped points, increasing Borussia’s chance of ending Bayern’s run of 10 straight titles.