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Bayern Munich sack coach Julian Nagelsmann

March 24, 2023

The German football team Bayern Munich has sacked its coach Julian Nagelsmann with immediate effect, the club has confirmed. Thomas Tuchel has been named as his successor.

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann
Image: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture alliance

Bayern Munich say they will part ways with coach Julian Nagelsmann and appoint Thomas Tuchel as his replacement.

The sacking comes as the perennial league winners struggle to assert themselves in the Bundesliga title race.

Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn blamed "big fluctuations in performance" and said the squad wasn't showing its true potential under Nagelsmann.

Tuchel will take over training from Monday with a contract until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Bayern's next fixture is not until April 1, a crucial top-of-the-table battle with Borussia Dortmund in the league. 

Why was Nagelsmann under pressure? 

The 35-year-old Nagelsmann, for years the brightest rising star in the German coaching scene, had been presiding over Bayern's least successful domestic league season in years. 

A 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend helped Dortmund rise to the top of the table, one point clear of Bayern, champions every year since the 2011/12 season. Before the break for the midwinter World Cup in Qatar, Bayern had a 9-point lead.

Although still in the Champions League, Manchester City, led by former Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, could prove a stout test for the Bavarians in the quarterfinals. 

Reports of Nagelsmann struggling to maintain good relations with his star-studded squad have also been a recurring feature for months. Arguably his most public falling out was with 2021 world player of the year, Robert Lewandowski, who ultimately left for Barcelona in the off-season at a probably discounted transfer fee. 

The dismissal of goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, an ally of veteran keeper Manuel Neuer, was another flashpoint.

His vocal criticism of referees in a media interview after defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach also prompted debate. 

"Nagelsmann gradually lost the players and with them, the entire dressing room," Kicker reporter Georg Holzner wrote in a commentary.

The exceptionally young coach — injury curtailed his playing career, giving him a headstart in the dugout instead — was hired to much fanfare in July 2021 after overachieving at Hoffenheim and then RB Leipzig. He was supposed to usher in a new era and approach at Bayern. But his attempts to do this, often at the expense of his veteran star players' egos or their playing time, has also caused friction.

Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann embrace and speak after a Champions League match, surrounded by other players. Archive image from 2020.
When Nagelsmann and Tuchel met in the Champions League in 2020, Nagelsmann was still coaching RB Leipzig. PSG came out on top, but would go on to lose in the final against Bayern Munich. Image: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/Pool/firosportphoto/picture alliance

Tuchel ready to step in, based in Munich

Bayern's replacement, Thomas Tuchel, is another top German coach who has been sidelined since early this season when London club Chelsea fired him

Tuchel, 49, is a former Dortmund coach and had been linked to the Bayern job in the past.

He won two domestic league titles with Paris St Germain and the Champions League with Chelsea since leaving Germany to coach abroad, but ultimately he only survived just over two years in Paris and 18 months in London before the teams' form ebbed. 

Tuchel has been living in Munich since returning from his time with Chelsea. 

Despite the talk of a disappointing season, particularly with seven draws and three defeats so far in a domestic league that Bayern have grown accustomed to dominating, Germany's most successful club is still in the hunt to win the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the Champions League in the last weeks of the season, now with new leadership at the helm. 

msh/ar (AFP, dpa, SID)