Thomas Tuchel plays down suggestions Lazio loss could hasten his Bayern exit

By Sports Desk March 04, 2024

Thomas Tuchel is not contemplating whether Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Lazio could be his last in charge of Bayern Munich.

It was announced last month that Tuchel would leave Bayern at the end of the season, but speculation over his future continues after Bayer Leverkusen opened up a 10-point lead at the Bundesliga summit over the weekend.

Bayern go into Tuesday’s last-16 second leg trailing 1-0 from the first meeting in Rome and failure to progress would further increase the scrutiny on their German boss.

Asked if it could be a knock-out game for him, Tuchel told a press conference: “Not from my side. Maybe from other sides but what we did discuss and decided is what we communicated on.

“I think there is no one else that wants to win this game more than myself.”

Given Leverkusen’s healthy advantage in the title race, the Champions League appears Bayern’s most likely chance to win silverware this season.

Ex-Chelsea manager Tuchel acknowledged the importance of this fixture, but hopes it can inspire his out-of-form team, who dropped two more points at Freiburg on Friday.

“I think everyone is aware that it is important and obviously in a situation like that, a certain amount of pressure is to be expected,” Tuchel admitted.

“With the first-leg result, it is not going to be super easy. The pressure is normal and the pressure is needed to bring special performances.

“Obviously the situation is clear. We need to win with two goals more against an Italian team, against a (Maurizio) Sarri team.

“It is about what we can bring to the pitch and the fans are there to support us from the first minute to hopefully create a specific atmosphere that could lead us to win with two goals.”

Bayern will be boosted by the return of Matthijs de Ligt, who missed the 2-2 draw at Freiburg due to a one-match ban.

Dutch defender De Ligt has struggled with a knee injury this season but urged his team-mates to stick together during a difficult period and admitted they must take responsibility for Tuchel’s imminent exit this summer.

 

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De Ligt added: “We players are responsible. We do everything together. When the coach has to go, then we also have to say we didn’t do well.

“We’re in this spell together and have to come out of it together. That’s why tomorrow is an hugely important game.

“Tomorrow is very important for us, for the whole club. We’re in a tough spot in the Bundesliga. The Champions League is also very important for us. We need to be ready.

“If you reach the quarter-finals, it’s good for the whole season, gives you energy. That’s why it’s a very important game for us.”

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