Home » FC Bayern: What Thomas Tuchel demands from the team against Bayer Leverkusen

FC Bayern: What Thomas Tuchel demands from the team against Bayer Leverkusen

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FC Bayern: What Thomas Tuchel demands from the team against Bayer Leverkusen

He is additionally motivated on the way to work. In the hallway on the first floor of FC Bayern’s headquarters on Säbener Strasse, lists and notes from meetings from the Ottmar Hitzfeld era, a time full of title wins, hang behind glass. Thomas Tuchel, 50, passes it almost every day when he goes to his trainer’s office. The bar, Tuchel once said, was set by such a legend.

This February is a special month for Tuchel. An authoritative one. This Saturday begins a week in which Bayern have a lot to gain – and a lot to lose. Days in which Tuchel is particularly in focus. Where he has to make difficult decisions. “It is the week that feels different than the other weeks, with important games,” said Tuchel at a press conference on Säbener Straße on Friday afternoon.

This Saturday (6.30 p.m., Sky) his team will play away against league leaders Bayer Leverkusen in the top game of the Bundesliga. Xabi Alonso’s team, 42, is two points ahead of Munich and is only the fourth team in league history to not lose any of its first 20 games of the season.

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Interest in the summit is huge: Bayer received 180,000 requests for tickets – Leverkusen has around 170,00 inhabitants and the stadium holds 30,210 people. The game has long been sold out.

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“We are going to Leverkusen to turn the tables and put the cards on the table,” said Tuchel. “It is clear that we have more and more to lose from being favorites. But we have winners in our ranks, great personalities who draw their energy from making an exclamation mark now.” Tuchel also said: “Saturday, 6.30 p.m., pants down and cards on the table. We want a statement performance.”

Thomas Tuchel expects a great game

Like many experts and fans, he is expecting an attractive game: “It doesn’t look like a 0-0 draw at the outset. It’s early in the season – but it still feels like an extraordinary game and an extraordinary opportunity.”

Bayern are in the unusual role of hunters. The game could be decisive for the outcome of the championship. On Tuesday, Tuchel will fly with the players to Rome, where they will play against Lazio in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday (9 p.m., DAZN).

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Looking at the game in Leverkusen, numerous experts and fans believe that Bayern have not been favorites in a game for a long time. A week ago, Leverkusen won 2-0 away against SV Darmstadt 98, and Torsten Lieberknecht, 50, the promoted team’s coach, said: “We lost today against the new German champions. I wish it so much for them.”

Many people are longing for a new champion – Bayern have always won the competition since 2013. And Leverkusen’s enthusiasm and consistency give them hope.

Coach Thomas Tuchel has a clear demand for his FC Bayern

Source: dpa/Sven Hoppe

However: When it comes down to it in the league, Munich are there – at least that’s how it has been in recent years. They won the top game against Borussia Dortmund 4-0 at the end of last year. Bayern have had no games so far this week because they have already been eliminated from the DFB Cup – the 3-2 win in the quarter-finals against VfB Stuttgart cost Bayer strength.

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In the first leg, Bayern and Leverkusen drew 2-2. The champions recently won their league games; they were compulsory victories without any brilliance. “The results are good, but there is a lack of the attractiveness of football that you can expect from this strong Bayern team, even despite the numerous injury absences,” said record national player Lothar Matthäus, 62, in “Bild”.

Bayern would not have developed under Tuchel in terms of football as many had expected, “including me”. But he also emphasized that the club with Tuchel had “a very good point haul” this season.

“We want to take the next step”

In fact, Bayern are currently the best Bundesliga runner-up in history. They and Leverkusen are setting standards in terms of points this season: Munich (50) and Rhinelanders (52) have a combined total of 102 points – something two teams have never had before after 20 games in the league.

“We want to take the next step,” said Tuchel. “I think Leverkusen are playing closer to their limit than we are. We still have more room for improvement.” His team has the best offense in the league with 59 goals. Leverkusen follow in second place, with 52 goals being a club record at this point in the season. Bayer has the best defense in the league: only conceding 14 goals and keeping a clean sheet in ten games.

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Reiner Calmund, 75, was manager of Bayer Leverkusen for many years. He said: “If the football god is even remotely fair, then Leverkusen will be champions this year.” Leverkusen is playing excellent football, “probably the best of all Bundesliga teams this season. They simply deserve it,” said Calmund. “It will be a real blast on Saturday, a treat.”

It was still unclear on Friday afternoon whether Manuel Neuer, 37, would be able to play in the top game. Bayern will probably have to worry about the use of their goalkeeper until shortly before kick-off. Neuer recently took a break or only trained individually due to knee problems.

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Joshua Kimmich, 29, and Dayot Upamecano, 25, who were recently injured, were able to train again and are expected to be fit to play. South Korean central defender Minjae Kim, 27, is back after his Asian Cup appearance and is ready.

Tuchel said his team knew about Leverkusen’s strengths. But: “We shouldn’t remain trapped in knowledge.” It’s like smoking: everyone knows that it’s unhealthy, but it’s still difficult to stop. That’s why Tuchel appealed to his team: “It’s about developing the bite that is necessary. Leverkusen also wants to make an exclamation mark. Then it’s about us wanting it more.”

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