Tuchel eyes Dortmund scalp as new Bayern boss relishes Klassiker with 'different dynamic'

By Sports Desk March 25, 2023

Thomas Tuchel is determined to set the tone for his reign at Bayern Munich by knocking his old team Borussia Dortmund off their perch at the top of the Bundesliga.

The new Bayern head coach is braced for "a different dynamic" in next Saturday's Klassiker, which could be the defining game of the German league season.

Dortmund hold a one-point lead after Bayern were beaten last weekend by Bayer Leverkusen, and there are only nine rounds of games remaining, ramping up the fixture's significance.

Tuchel, whose appointment as successor to the sacked Julian Nagelsmann was made official on Friday, has already begun to receive messages from within the Dortmund camp.

He was boss at Dortmund from 2015 to 2017 and grew his reputation before being sacked amid behind-the-scenes disharmony.

After a year out, Tuchel was snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain, and he went on to win the Champions League with Chelsea before being fired last September, a decision the Stamford Bridge hierarchy might have reason to regret.

On Tuesday, Tuchel was called by Bayern and asked to be the man to save their season, with CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic fearing the campaign was coming off the rails.

Tuchel said at his introductory press conference on Saturday: "I was a bit naive in the first discussion. The ball dropped that this would start with a game against Borussia Dortmund. The expectation level couldn't be higher."

He said the game was "not about me", but inevitably his presence adds spice to the Allianz Arena occasion.

"I got lots of messages and calls from staff at Borussia Dortmund saying they were looking forward to seeing me," Tuchel added. "There will be a different dynamic because of how the table now stands.

"I'm proud to have BVB on my CV, but it's not going to stop me dealing with the situation."

Dortmund have been long-time chasers of Bayern, so to be ahead of them at this stage of the season is unusual.

Bayern have won the last 10 Bundesliga titles and are fearful of that running coming to an end. They could still finish with a treble, given they have reached the quarter-final stage of the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, so if all goes swimmingly Tuchel could have plenty to celebrate in May and June.

The 49-year-old has pledged to "go in with open eyes and try to do everything we can to win all three titles".

He believes Bayern are suitably equipped to go after such silverware too.

"It's only on Tuesday I started really thinking about the squad," he said. "No one wants to play against a club like Bayern. It really got me excited for the job straightaway."

Due to the international break, Tuchel will not see some of his squad until Friday, the day before Bayern tackle Borussia Dortmund in a top-of-the-table Klassiker.

He considered it "a surprising time" for Bayern to change coach and said he would not be making radical changes over the coming weeks, promising a "deeper analysis" would take place in good time.

He expects some players may consider his arrival "a new chance" and said he would prioritise "forming some faith on the pitch".

"The fact is, I'm going to get feedback from players, but I don't want to overload anyone," Tuchel said. "The game that's coming up is a very exciting proposition, how everyone wanted it. It's my job to create a bit of anticipation as well."

He is determined not to look back and instead only focus on what Bayern have ahead of them, labelling the Dortmund game "a chance to put the first exclamation mark out there".

Asked about Nagelsmann, Tuchel spoke from experience when he said being sacked was "never nice", having lost his jobs at Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in frustrating circumstances.

"I think everyone knows that when you take over a job at a club like Bayern, things like this can happen," Tuchel said. "I know it could be difficult for Julian Nagelsmann right now."

He stressed though, that the sacking was "not my responsibility" and hopes to have convivial discussions with Nagelsmann somewhere down the line.

Tuchel has not yet picked up the phone to sound out Nagelsmann about the players he is inheriting.

"I don't want to be disrespectful," he said. "I start things on Monday, and I'm sure we'll cross paths at some point and talk about things. My relationship with Julian, from my perspective, is impacted not one per cent."

Related items

  • Bochum avoid Bundesliga relegation after play-off penalty drama downs Dusseldorf Bochum avoid Bundesliga relegation after play-off penalty drama downs Dusseldorf

    Bochum will be playing in the Bundesliga once again next campaign after staving off relegation with a penalty shoot-out victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf in the play-offs.

    Heiko Butscher's side finished 16th in the German top-flight table in the 2023-24 season, though got the better of their 2.Bundesliga opponents to secure another season in the competition.

    Needing to overturn a three-goal deficit from the first-leg play-off defeat, Philipp Hofmann stole the show with a goal in either half before Kevin Stoger's 70th-minute penalty sent the tie to extra time.

    The pair could not be separated across an additional 30 minutes at Dusseldorf Arena, ensuring spot-kicks were required to decide the fate of the two Bundesliga hopefuls.

    Andre Hoffmann missed Dusseldorf's first but Erhan Masovic also faltered, leaving a winner-takes-all scenario in a sudden-death shoot-out with the score at 4-4.

    Maximilian Wittek then converted before Takashi Uchino fired wide, sealing a 6-5 penalty shoot-out victory for Bochum after a 3-0 win on Monday snatched a 3-3 aggregate draw.

    Dusseldorf finished third in Germany's second division this season and will be forced for, at least, another campaign in 2. Bundesliga after this play-off heartbreak.

    This was the first time a play-off has gone to penalties since the Bundesliga reintroduced the fixture, with Bochum ultimately prevailing to keep their top-flight status intact.

  • Van Dijk welcomes Slot arrival as Liverpool captain commits to Reds future Van Dijk welcomes Slot arrival as Liverpool captain commits to Reds future

    Virgil van Dijk insists his future remains solely with Liverpool as the Reds captain welcomed incoming Dutch compatriot Arne Slot.

    Slot will replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager, with the Dutchman expected to take charge at Anfield from Saturday after sealing his switch from Feyenoord.

    The soon-to-be Liverpool boss leaves the Netherlands after three highly successful seasons with Feyenoord, having led them to the league title in 2023.

    Slot will be welcomed by two fellow countrymen on the red side of Merseyside, with Van Dijk and Ryan Gravenberch eager to link-up with their new manager.

    As Netherlands began their Euro 2024 training camp on Monday, Van Dijk told a news conference: "I still have a year left on my contract.

    "I am club captain and I have made it clear I am there for the new coach and enthusiastic over the next season.

    "Obviously, there will be a lot of changes but I am confident we will make a big success of it.

    "I congratulated [Slot] of course and I'm really pleased for him and his family. We spoke about the team and the future but now my focus is fully on the national team."

    Slot's reign ended with six straight league wins and Feyenoord did not lose any of his final 20 Eredivisie matches at the helm, their last defeat coming against PSV on December 3.

    The 45-year-old oversaw exactly 150 games in charge of Feyenoord across all competitions, winning 98 of those contests (65.33 per cent).

    Slot also won the KNVB Cup glory in April, overseeing a 1-0 win over NEC Nijmegen in the final of that competition, and Gravenberch believes that success has earnt his Liverpool move.

    "I think he can be good for my career, he's a coach who wants to play good football," added Gravenberch.

  • UEFA and FIFA warned to halt Super League opposition by Spanish court UEFA and FIFA warned to halt Super League opposition by Spanish court

    FIFA and UEFA have been told to stop their opposition against the European Super League (ESL), with a Spanish court ruling warning of anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of a dominant position.

    Madrid's commercial court said on Monday the European and world governing bodies violated competition law by banning and punishing clubs from participating in a proposed new tournament.

    FIFA and UEFA were told to reverse any anticompetitive actions committed in the past after A22 Sports Management, the company behind the plan to create the ESL, brought the case to Spanish court.

    "It's an important step towards a truly competitive and sustainable club football landscape in Europe," A22 CEO Bernd Reichart said in a statement after the ruling. 

    "For too long UEFA has been allowed to control and dominate club football at European level."

    Reichart added that UEFA's position on the ESL has "stifled innovation for decades", though celebrated "the era of the monopoly [as] definitively over". 

    The case was also brought against LaLiga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), though that pair and UEFA insisted the court ruling did not explicitly support the creation of the Super League.

    "The court has not given the green light to, nor has it approved, projects like the Super League," UEFA said in a follow-up statement. 

    "In fact, the judge has asserted that the Super League project has long been abandoned and that she cannot be expected to rule on any abstract projects.

    "In short, the judgment does not give third parties the right to develop competitions without authorisation and does not concern any future project or indeed any modified version of an existing project."

    English football's so-called 'big six' – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – were founding members of the original Super League project in April 2021.

    Yet those Premier League clubs quickly withdrew amid fan protests and pressure from the football authorities, with Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid following a similar suit.

    UEFA has since changed its rules around new competitions following the collapse of the ESL proposal in April 2021 and the court says those new rules are unaffected by Monday's ruling.

    "The court also confirmed that the current version of UEFA's authorisation rules [as adopted in June 2022] is not affected by today's ruling," the European governing body added.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.