Kahn denies Bayern panicked by sacking Nagelsmann and summoning Tuchel

By Sports Desk March 25, 2023

Oliver Kahn believed Bayern Munich's hopes of trophy success this season and in the next campaign were under threat with Julian Nagelsmann at the helm.

The tacit admission that the 10-in-a-row Bundesliga champions would surrender their crown if Nagelsmann stayed in charge came in a press conference on Saturday.

Bayern CEO Kahn sacked Nagelsmann and has brought Thomas Tuchel to the club as head coach, with their hopes of a treble remaining alive going into the closing weeks of the season.

The shock departure of Nagelsmann, less than two years after he was acquired at great expense from RB Leipzig, was one the Bayern hierarchy decided was essential.

"The last few days have been hard for us all," Kahn said. "They certainly weren't easy days, and it's safe to assume there was the odd night where I didn't sleep well.

"That's one side of this job that is no longer fun but unfortunately is part of the business. When you let a head coach go, ultimately there's a person behind that decision.

"Nothing big changed, we all see him as an excellent and very good head coach, and on a personal level we understood each other over the course of the last year and three quarters.

"But it's our responsibility and duty to sort out the sporting success of this club, and so we asked ourselves the question of what's the reason behind the big changes in performance.

"So, this isn't a panic decision. It's got nothing to do with panic. We had a close look at everything, and we took the emotions out of the decisions."

Bayern were beaten 2-1 by Bayer Leverkusen last Sunday and as a result relinquished top spot in the Bundesliga to Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund are Bayern's next opponents, and incoming boss Tuchel is a former Dortmund coach.

A beaming Tuchel was presented by Bayern on Saturday, having been first contacted on Tuesday.

"We might have taken the decision on Monday, but we took a chance to look at everything," Kahn said. "It's all about finding out where these big swings in performances come from."

Kahn pointed to last season's Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal and a 5-0 DFB-Pokal loss to Borussia Monchengladbach in October 2021.

"The fact is there were vulnerabilities that were hard to understand that kept raising their head over several games, despite the fact we strengthened the squad before the start of the season and have one of best squads in Europe," Kahn said.

"The continuity in performance of the team never really got better.

"If you look at the start of the second half of the season, we were often not happy with the performances.

"It's the expectation for a club like Bayern that we are a stable ship, so we started with three 1-1 draws in a row – a tough start to the second half of the season – and you see where we are today. Out of 10 Bundesliga games, we have five wins and three draws. That's not where our expectation levels are.

"That's ultimately why we had to make a decision. The expectations are always at their highest here at Bayern.

"We saw and felt our season targets for this season and next season were in danger, and that's why we came to the decision to let Julian Nagelsmann go. It was a well thought through process, certainly not an emotional decision down to one game."

Kahn said he and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic had supported Nagelsmann until reaching this decision.

They took no satisfaction in parting company with the 35-year-old Nagelsmann, who will be eager in his next job to prove Bayern made a rash choice.

"Of course, there are nicer things in life," Kahn said. "It was frustrating and he was trying to understand. We explained it as we have explained it today.

"He took it on board and understood. The bottom line is it really did not go how we expected things to go."

Kahn said his open-door policy to the club's players had provided some insight into the vibe of the squad under Nagelsmann's leadership.

"I let players come into my office, have a coffee and listen in," he said. "I think this is one of the strengths of the club. I think everyone had a very clear picture of how the players were feeling and what kind of situation they found themselves in."

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