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Thomas Tuchel’s cry for help

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Thomas Tuchel’s cry for help

The sound of the Champions League anthem should once again have a big effect on FC Bayern. Munich’s comeback plan against Lazio Rome goes like this: On their favorite football stage, coach Thomas Tuchel and the Munich stars find each other once again and team up for one last, outstanding goal in their collaboration. An early exit in Europe on Tuesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on Prime Video) would finally leave Bayern’s season in ruins – and probably require earlier consequences.

Tuchel made an unusual call for help to the Bayern fans 32 hours before kick-off. “We definitely need an emotional stadium!” Help from outside seems to be the last resort for the next coach who failed in Munich and a team that only sporadically delivers top performances in order to turn around the 0-1 result from the first leg and advance to the quarter-finals.

Defender Matthijs de Ligt described the tricky Bayern situation in drastic words on Monday: “We are all in this shit together – and we have to get out of it together.” Tuchel, as the second speaker of the day in the arena media room, did not give the impression that he was There is still a big Bayern fire blazing in him. Even if he assured: “Everyone can be sure that there is no one who has more ambition to win the game than me.”

“I am a very sore loser”

The body language somehow didn’t match the combative words. And when asked whether he also had the feeling that a knockout in the round of 16 could lead to new considerations about his separation decided at the end of the season, the 50-year-old replied coolly: “Not from my side. I know what we agreed on.”

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Tuchel endures the remaining term in Munich, even if the failure bothers him. “I am a very sore loser. I have a really hard time dealing with defeat and not having the influence that I want of myself. It’s difficult for me to look at the good side of this job right now.” Nevertheless, he believes he can “grow from it.”

Full stadium, floodlights, premier class anthem – in the past that has often been enough to inspire Bayern teams to big football evenings. “It’s a nice game to get back into,” said defender de Ligt hopefully. “It’s really annoying the way things are going right now,” moaned national player Jamal Musiala after the 2-2 draw in Freiburg, which virtually brought Leverkusen’s hunt in the Bundesliga to a standstill.

When asked about questions about the starting eleven, which national player Leroy Sané could return to despite his knee pain, Tuchel stonewalled either Thomas Müller or youngster Mathys Tel. Defender Dayot Upamecano is suspended after his momentous red card in Rome.

Roland Zorn, Freiburg Published/Updated: Recommendations: 2 A comment from Christopher Meltzer Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 11 Christopher Meltzer, Munich Published/Updated: Recommendations: 1

Tuchel’s match plan revolves around the factor of patience in order to win by at least two goals in 90 minutes or extra time. “Patience, yes, when it comes to not getting frustrated and not losing your plan and your head. Patience, no, if it’s just about generating possession of the ball,” he explained. The coach’s “big headline” for the game is: “We have no time to lose.”

Bayern have to build steam. “We need a win by two goals, a top performance,” said Tuchel. And that against a Lazio team led by former Dortmund player Ciro Immobile, who scored from the penalty spot in the first leg, and is by no means a European football heavyweight. But coach Maurizio Sarri’s team can do one thing really well – and that is defending. “They know how to overcome such a lead,” remarked Bayern’s sporting director Christoph Freund.

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Bayern were eliminated in the quarter-finals three times in a row, in 2021 against Paris Saint-Germain, in 2022 against FC Villarreal, and in 2023 against Manchester City. This season it should (should) continue, at least to the semi-finals, ideally even to the final at Wembley. Goal scorer Harry Kane in particular still has this home game dream.

A round of 16 exit would be fatal, even if it fits into the overall picture of this Bayern season. Somehow to fumble through until the end of the season, this plan of the bosses around the new sports director Max Eberl would have failed. Eberl’s task of building a transitional squad with a suitable coach would become even bigger and more complicated. Because next season everything has to be better in Munich: in 2025 there will be another “finale at home”.

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