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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Thomas Tuchel
Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel has not shown tactical flexibility this season. / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Stubborn Ego

Much was made of Bayern's transfer of Harry Kane over the summer and rightly so. Bayern purchased arguably the most complete center forward in the world to come in and do one thing...score. While one cannot argue he has certainly done that in bunches, on pace to break Lewandowski's record for goals in a Bundesliga campaign, the opportunities are beginning to dry up. Against both Leverkusen and Lazio, Kane has managed only six touches in the opposition's box. Six!! Why is one of the world's best center forwards being asked to drop deeper into the midfield to link up play? Is Tuchel relying on Leroy Sane to join the scoring?

When the season first started, Sane was on a goal-scoring spree. The German winger scored eight in the first nine Bundesliga matchdays. He has since struggled to find the back of the net. What was Sane doing right at the start of the season? Kane was playing higher, occupying the backline with Sane drifting centrally to join the attack. While Sane is not an attacking midfielder, his movement inside the space provided by Kane's higher movements allowed him to be more involved in and around the box. As Sane has been moved back to his more traditional winger role, Kane has had to carry the load of linking play into the final third. It's becoming very apparent this is not working. So much so that Bayern have had only one shot on target over the last two matches.

While the wounds have still not healed from Bayern's visit to the BayArena, Tuchel was completely outclassed by Xabi Alonso. Tuchel decided to flex his tactical muscle by throwing a wrench into his play. For the first time in a competitive match this season, Tuchel lined up in a back 3. The decision to start newly signed Boey, a right back, as a left wing-back proved disaster. Additionally, he played Bayern's most creative players in Musiala and Sane central, against a Leverkusen side looking to force the ball central for pressing traps. His attempt to showcase his tactical knowledge and stroke his ego proved a disaster in Bayern's biggest game.

When Tuchel was hired last year, he came in with the reputation of being a tactical coach who can showcase his flexibility within the squad. In the 40+ matches he has managed as the Bayern Munich manager, I have seen his tactical flexibility once ( against Stuttgart on December 17, 2023). As things stand, Bayern look like a side lacking Plan B. A side that is reliant on one or two players. A side that seems stuck in a rut due to a manager's unwillingness to admit it's not working.