The last few days have been a mixed bag for Bayern Munich and Thomas Tuchel when it comes to results on the pitch. Bayern clinched a 4-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Saturday, but they suffered a big blow in the midweek as they were knocked out of DFB Pokal by Saarbrucken.
The defeat against the third-division side in the cup competition made sure that Tuchel was under intense scrutiny in the public eye. Former Bayern defender Lothar Matthaus slammed Tuchel for not showing a clear style of play despite working with the team for six months. Dietmar Hamann has also been critical of Die Roten’s performances in different competitions.
Tuchel has been very blunt in his press conferences whenever he has been asked about comments from these two pundits. After the big victory against Dortmund, Tuchel snapped in post-match duties and criticized Matthaus and Hamann.
The German coach’s decision to go on the offense in the media has been welcomed by the club hierarchy. While talking to Kicker, Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen backed Tuchel for standing firm against the criticism. Dreesen also admitted that the criticism aimed at Tuchel has been over the top since the team has been consistently churning out good results.
"“Why shouldn’t he be allowed to defend himself if he feels he has been treated unfairly? Every person has this right. But completely regardless of that, the team has shown what they are capable of and now it is important to maintain this mentality and continue to work with focus and concentration. This has always distinguished FC Bayern.”"
Bayern president Herbert Hainer also defended Tuchel after his outburst against Matthaus after the victory against Borussia Dortmund. Meanwhile, sporting director Christoph Freund told Bild (via Sky Sports) that it was good to see Tuchel fight back on and off the pitch.
Since Bayern is the biggest club in Germany, poor results will always lead to a lot of scrutiny. Thomas Tuchel would have taken constructive criticism on board, but the result against Saarbrucken led to questions over his man-management and overall coaching tenure at Die Roten. The German coach finally snapped and answered critics fittingly after a dominating performance from his team.
It is still too early to judge Tuchel’s time at Bayern. The defeat against Saarbrucken in DFB Pokal was catastrophic, but it was a freak result. Tuchel needs to avoid these types of results in the Bundesliga and Champions League. If he eventually manages to win the league and Champions League, then defeat against Saarbrucken will be quickly forgotten.
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The performance against Dortmund should become a regularity for Die Roten under Thomas Tuchel. The mentality in the squad is strong this season, as they can grind results on their bad days. If Tuchel manages to get them playing on the front foot regularly, the outside noise will eventually reduce.