Despite 3-2 Defeat To Bochum, Tuchel Set To Stay At Bayern Munich

It was just as well that Thomas Tuchel couldn’t attend the press conference after Bayern Munich’s 3-2 defeat to VfL Bochum on Sunday afternoon. Fans protesting the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) investor deal meant delays and the Bayern squad rushing to the airport to catch their flight back to Munich.

That didn’t mean Tuchel entirely escaped the press after Bochum beat Bayern thanks to goals by Takuma Asano (38’), Keven Schlotterbeck (44’) and Kevin Stöger (78’). Jamal Musiala (14’) and Harry Kane (87’) scored the two Bayern goals.

“We created some top-class chances today,” Tuchel said to German broadcaster DAZN after the game. “Harry’s chance in the first half may have been the deciding factor. If he finished that with one touch instead of trying to play it, the game is over.”

Indeed, it looked like a strong start by Bayern when Musiala scored a beautiful goal to what looked like perfect redemption for Bayern after their defeats to Lazio and Leverkusen last week. Then Kane missed his chance in the 19th minute, and then nine minutes later, fan protests interrupted the game, after which Bochum quickly scored the equalizer and then took the lead.

Although the fan protests, without a doubt, interrupted Bayern’s flow, Tuchel didn’t use the interruption as an excuse for his team losing the game. Instead, the Bayern bench boss simply believed his side was somewhat unlucky not to win the game.

“I don’t think today’s defeat was fair; I think a lot went against us today,” Tuchel said. “I think we had an xG value of 3.4 and we had four, five, six top-class chances. We completely dominated the game and actually went behind out of nowhere. We never stopped putting in the effort until the end and then played with a man down for a long time. A lot went against us today. I feel today’s defeat is different to the last two.”

That might be the case, but part of the story is also that Bayern gifted Bochum goals. Joshua Kimmich made it too easy for Asano to break into the box, and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, in top form, would have stopped the ball. The second goal, too, was too easy, with Schlotterbeck first having too much space in the box and Neuer looking somewhat lost in his area, allowing the Bochum defender to easily head the ball across the line.

After already causing a penalty and being sent off midweek against Lazio, Upamecano was once again at the center of attention for the third Bochum goal. The French defender hit Schlotterbeck with an elbow during a corner, causing another penalty and being sent off for a second game in a row. Stöger then happily converted the spot kick, winning the game for Bochum.

In other words, Tuchel might be right about his statistical analysis. But the truth is that his side is making too many individual mistakes. Part of the story is Tuchel’s tactical setup. The flip side of this story is that the individual errors are a symptom of a Bayern team that might simply lack the quality to be any better than the current results.

Who is to blame, then? The truth is somewhere in the middle. Tuchel has turned a good team into an average Bundesliga side. But many Bayern players are also way below form or, worse, may have surpassed the pinnacles of their careers.

Does that mean Tuchel will continue as Bayern Munich’s coach? “Of course,” Bayern Munich CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen said to the Abendzeitung when asked whether Tuchel will still be in charge next week.

Such statements, of course, mean little in football. But internally, the Bayern bosses know that there is simply no reasonable alternative on the market at the moment. Both former Bayern boss Hansi Flick and José Mourinho come with their own baggage. On top of that, Bayern will not want to appoint a new head coach until Max Eberl is confirmed as the new director of sport.

As a result, there is now a good chance Tuchel will be in charge of trying to bridge what is now an eight-point gap to first-placed Leverkusen. “It’s not really realistic, but we believed in it until the end last season, and that’s why we’ll still believe,” Tuchel said when asked about winning the title. “But for that, we have to get back on track.”

Winning the title at this point would require an epic collapse by a Leverkusen side that has been unbeaten in 32 games across all competitions this season. Indeed, it looks like the first title-less season for Bayern in 12 years for Germany’s biggest club, and with that reality now setting in, it might be the easiest for the bosses to see out the season with Tuchel in charge.

Following this year, will Tuchel have a long-term future at the Säbener Straße? That question will be hotly debated among the Bayern bosses. It might ultimately come down to Eberl and sporting director Christoph Freund and whether they want to appoint their own coach to oversee the rebuild that the two will facilitate in Munich.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth and on Threads: @manuveth

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