Where has it gone wrong for Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich?

What has gone wrong with Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich? A closer look at the manager's missteps and struggles of the team.

Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel disappointed after his team's defeat against Lazio in the Champions League.
Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel disappointed after his team's defeat against Lazio in the Champions League. / Ivan Romano/GettyImages
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Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich
Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel has doubts over the midfield pairing of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich. / Christian Kaspar-Bartke/GettyImages

Isolated the Squad

Thomas Tuchel made it very well known over the summer that he wanted a defensive midfielder in the transfer window. Much to the displeasure of Joshua Kimmich, Tuchel continued to reiterate publicly that he did not have a true number six in the squad. Bayern were close to pulling off a last-minute deal for the Portuguese star Joao Palhinha. When the deal fell through, Tuchel was forced to play with the defensive midfielders he had in the squad. Let's think about the effect that has on both Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka. Here you have two German internationals who were part of the treble-winning squad in 2020. Both played against Tuchel's PSG in the Champions League final (Kimmich started at right back and Goretzka played in the midfield). To be told you are not good enough for what a manager wants to do, after already having success, is going to isolate two key members of the squad.

Without question one of the biggest transfers for the 22/23 season was bringing in Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus. He was arguably Bayern's best player last season and was a rock in defense. This season he has struggled to find a game when fit. He has been seen as an afterthought. So much so, that while the transfer of Eric Dier seemed as a security blanket, it now looks as if Dier has moved ahead of de Ligt in the center back pecking order. Yes, bringing in Kim Min-jae was always going to create competition in central defense, Tuchel's refusal to give de Ligt time seems almost criminal at this point and has left de Ligt open to a summer exit.

Bayern Munich recently completed the transfer of right back Sacha Boey from Galatasaray as Tuchel believed the squad needed a right back since Konrad Laimer (a midfielder) was out and Noussair Mazraoui was with Morocco for AFCON. This is an interesting take as I seem to remember a certain right back was loaned away to league leaders Leverkusen in August. Seemingly to say that Josip Stanisic was not good enough for Tuchel, and we needed an upgrade. Here you have a Munich born and Bayern raised player that has developed very well through the system. I'm not saying he is a world class right back, but to be told he's not good enough while being certainly good enough for Leverkusen is quite shocking

Finally, you have Thomas Muller. As many failed Bayern coaches can attest to, Muller is the glue that holds the squad together. If you want to be successful, have Muller on your side. Muller is not getting any younger and the 34-year-old is certainly not in his prime, but with the injuries to Coman and Gnabry, and the decisions to continue to give Chuopa-Moting minutes off the bench, Muller is quickly becoming an afterthought.

Here you have four key members of the squad that, in this author's opinion, are not being supported by Tuchel. When you look at the hierarchy of the locker room, all four have a strong voice within the squad. The decision to let Stanisic go while the need for a right back was apparent, is not going to win you support. Tuchel continues to say that the team lacks fight and struggles to bring the training ground performances to matchdays. He needs the big voices in the dressing room to help his cause. However, he has certainly made mistakes in isolating key figures in the squad. Without their support, he is now fighting to save his job.