Thomas Tuchel fighting for job as Bayern Munich hit worst run since 2015

Bavarians now eight points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen after shock defeat at Bochum

Thomas Tuchel saw his team lose at VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga at the weekend. AFP
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It has been a disastrous nine days for Bayern Munich and their beleaguered manager Thomas Tuchel, a spell that has done major damage to their hopes of a 12th Bundesliga title on the spin.

On Sunday, the Bavarian giants fell to a shock 3-2 defeat at Vfl Bochum which meant Bayer Leverkusen cemented an eight-point lead at the top of the table following their victory at FC Heidenheim.

A week earlier, Bayern had been thumped 3-0 at Leverkusen when they had been out-thought and outfought by Xabi Alonso's side.

That was quickly followed by a disappointing 1-0 Champions League last-16 first-leg loss at Lazio, when Bayern failed to register a single shot on target against a side currently eighth in Serie A, 26 points behind leaders Inter Milan.

Sunday should have been a chance to get the season back on track. Bochum were in the bottom half of the table having won four games out of 21 and had been thumped 7-0 at Bayern's Allianz Arena in the halcyon days of late September.

That game had seen Harry Kane register the first of his three hat-tricks this season to help fire the team to the top of the table.

Fast forward less than five months and the England captain was again on target – but his 87th-minute goal proved to be a mere consolation as Bayern fell to a third defeat in a row for the first time since 2015, when Pep Guardiola was in charge.

“I feel the defeat was different to the last two, it was undeserved,” insisted Tuchel after a match in which his team was reduced to 10 men 14 minutes from the end when Dayot Upamecano was sent off for second time in five days.

“A lot went against us. We had five or six clear-cut chances and dominated the game. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong today.”

He also took aim at top-scorer Kane: “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.”

The view that Bayern were unlucky in defeat was not one shared by his bosses.

“We could have certainly turned the game around, but in the end mentality won out over quality today and so I feel Bochum deserved to win,” said chief executive Jan-Christian Dreesen.

Midfielder Leon Goretzka was more graphic about the team's current plight: “It feels like a horror movie that won't end,” he said. “In the end, we made too many individual errors. There have simply been too many of them in recent weeks.”

For Kane, it means the first major trophy of his career could remain as elusive as ever, while the individual accolades keep coming.

His goal at Bochum meant he became the quickest player in Bundesliga history to hit 25 goals in one season, doing so in 22 games beating the record set by Erling Haaland at Borussia Dortmund, who did it in 25 matches.

But following the loss in Rome, Tuchel had suggested that Kane's skills were not being utilised to their full potential. “He knows what he's doing and he's not satisfied with the way he's been implemented in games,” said the former Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea coach.

“It's unbelievable how well he can score in training and how he pushes on the team – which is absolutely world class – and how little we have found him in games."

A huge couple of weeks are now on the horizon for Kane and Co. On Saturday, fifth-place RB Leipzig visit the Allianz Arena followed by a trip away to Freiburg and then the Champions League second leg at home to Lazio.

Reports in Germany suggest that Tuchel's position is not under immediate threat and Dreesen said the manager will “of course” be in charge for Bayern’s next match – but with the caveat that a change could happen at a later stage.

“These vows of loyalty are usually gone again after a week, so I say it in my own way. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat myself, it’s not an issue that we’re concerned with at the moment,” he added.

The last time Bayern lost three on the spin was in May 2015 when Guardiola already had the Bundesliga title safely in the bag. That security is not something Tuchel will have in his favour this time round.

Updated: February 19, 2024, 9:08 AM