Former Bayern Munich midfielder Lothar Matthaus claims his former club only signed Thomas Tuchel to prevent Juventus from acquiring the German manager.
Bayern ruthlessly sacked former manager Julian Nagelsmann in March after holding 61-minute crisis talks when he ripped into his players for having “zero work rate” following a 2-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.
Under Nagelsmann this season, Bayern had lost just three out of 27 league games while also reaching the Champions League quarter-finals.
He was then replaced by Thomas Tuchel, before it was revealed talks to acquire the former Chelsea boss had started three days before Nagelsmann was officially sacked.
And Matthaus admits it was a ‘surprise’ that his former side replaced Nagelsmann so soon, while claiming Tuchel was close to joining Juventus before they rushed out.
Lothar Matthaus claims Bayern Munich only signed Thomas Tuchel (pictured) as they were ‘nervous’ he was set to join Juventus
Bayern appointed Tuchel after controversially sacking Julian Nagelsmann (pictured) in March
Matthaus admits he was surprised to see Nagelsmann lose his Allianz Arena job
“It was a big surprise for many, not just me,” Matthaus, who made 410 appearances for the club, said in an interview with AIM.
“Nagelsmann did a good job and won the Bundesliga, maybe he wasn’t so good in the Champions League in his first year. But this year he won twice against PSG, the Inter, Barcelona, in the Bundesliga it wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t [far] far from the trophy, at first I thought it was a joke but it wasn’t April 1st.
“A lot of players were happy with him and spoke well of him when he left, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich for example. Something had to happen for Bayern to make this decision.
Although puzzled as to why the club would replace Nagelsmann, Matthaus explained why they named his successor, saying: “Tuchel was close to moving to Juventus.”
“Bayern were nervous, Tuchel was free and Bayern didn’t believe in Nagelsmann 100%. They can’t fire him when he’s won three titles, so they’ve decided to fire him now.
Tuchel went just over six months out of work after being sacked by Chelsea last September, just 100 days into Todd Boehly’s tenure as the club’s new owner.
The Blues had fallen to sixth in the Premier League table at the time, suffering notable defeats to Leeds (3-0) and Southampton (2-1), both now at risk of relegation, before suffering a 1-0 loss. -0 against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League group stages.
Nagelsmann (bottom middle) left the club soon after, having won a Bundesliga title and two German Super Cups with the club
Tuchel, meanwhile, had a difficult start to life at Bayern Munich, with the club dropping out of the Champions League and the German Cup in his first two weeks at the club.
Bayern Munich succumbed to a 3-1 loss at the weekend to RB Leipzig, jeopardizing their hopes of winning the Bundesliga title this season.
They were overtaken at the top of the table by league rivals Borussia Dortmund after Sebastian Haller (pictured) scored a brace to give Edin Terzic’s side a 3-0 win at Augsburg
Dortmund are now two points clear of Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga table and both teams now have one game to play this season.
It would be his last game in charge at the club, and since returning to management the 49-year-old, who was also successful at Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg, has struggled to get off to a good start on his return to the Bundesliga.
Since taking charge in March, Tuchel has overseen 18 matches, seeing Bayern crash out of the Champions League quarter-finals against Manchester City, suffer a devastating German Cup semi-final defeat against Freiburg and drop to second place in the league table, behind rivals Dortmund.
Edin Terzic’s side are in charge, two points behind Bayern at the top of the league, after securing a huge 3-0 win on Sunday against Augsburg while Bayern dropped points with a 3-1 loss to RB Leipzig on Saturday.
The German champions can still win the league but will need a miracle, with Dortmund set to face ninth-placed Mainz in their final game of the season next week, while Tuchel’s side are set to face 10th-placed Cologne .