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HomeNewsCould Bayern sacking Nagelsmann be the costliest coaching mistake in football history?

Could Bayern sacking Nagelsmann be the costliest coaching mistake in football history?


As sudden layoffs go, the departure of Julian Nagelsmann from Bayern Munich will be hard to top.

– Bayern dismisses Nagelsmann and hires Tuchel

It’s not just the fact that the manager won the title in his first season and that the bookies liked his chances of winning the treble this season. Bayern are the betting favorites to win the German Cup (they are in the quarterfinals) and the Bundesliga (they are one point off the top) and are the second favorite behind Manchester City to win the Champions League.

It’s also not just the fact that the club leaked the news this week and Nagelsmann found out about it through the media while skiing in Austria during the international break.

Nor is it just the fact that just four days earlier, Bayern president Herbert Hainer spoke about how the club was planning “for the long term” around Nagelsmann because he was “tactically and strategically excellent at the highest European level” that had made “clear progress” in 18 months and that doubts about his training come from outside the club. (Friday’s firing suggests that Hainer is not fully acquainted with what goes on inside his club, or his nose got a little longer.)

No. What stands out to me is how, even at the highest level, and even at so-called top clubs like Bayern, there is still a lot of room for knee-jerk reactions, and long-term planning is something that that is spoken in boardrooms, it’s not something you actually do. (You know the clubs: the kind that proudly remind you that they not only win loads of trophies every year and sell out every game, but have been profitable for more than a quarter of a century.)

In 2021, Bayern paid a world-record €25 million ($27 million) compensation package to Leipzig so that Nagelsmann could break his contract and effectively join them two years early, as his contract with Leipzig expired. in 2023. They gave him a five-year deal, which is a rarity even among elite coaches, let alone a 33-year-old, which is how old Nagelsmann was at the time. His salary was €8 million per season, which brings the entire package closer to €65 million.

That is a staggering number. If you make that kind of commitment, conventional wisdom suggests that you go all out and live with the consequences until they become untenable. And the consequences for Bayern, even their worst-case scenarios, were far from unsustainable.

To their credit, CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic made the decision. Kahn noted that Bayern after the World Cup was less successful and less attractive. “The big fluctuations in performance have called into question our goal for this season, but also our goals for the future,” he said, which basically means he no longer thought Nagelsmann would get them where they wanted to be. Salihamidzic did not go into details, but said he had carried out an “exhaustive analysis of the team’s sporting development”, meaning he agreed Bayern were not going in the right direction.

The German media completed the picture regarding Bayern’s reasoning, and it generally focused on four points.

– Broadcast on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga and more (USA)

The first is the lack of results and that, sure, they can still win the treble, but they can also screw up against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals and Borussia Dortmund when they meet in The Klassiker in the Bundesliga on April Fools’ Day, thereby ruining their chances of achieving their two key goals this season. Yes, they could screw up everywhere and end the season empty-handed, but the question we have to ask is how much better are their chances after bringing another guy in for those games, especially when he’ll have maybe two full training days after the break? international before facing Dortmund? And is it worth leaving the Nagelsmann project in which you believed so much 18 months ago?

The second is the lack of individual development of the players, both young and rookies. OK: from the newcomers, neither ryan gravenberg nor Noussair Mazaraoui (who has been injured) have been great. sadio mane it has not been dominant, but it has also been pushed aside. But Matthijs De Ligt is doing very well, and Mathys Phone he has made 21 appearances, which for a 17-year-old is pretty impressive.

What about the growth of young people who are already in the club? jamal musiala looks good to me. alfonso davies He may not be at the level he was two years ago, but he’s only 22 and coming off a long injury. josip stanisic has been great Was Nagelsmann supposed to turn 27 year olds like leroy sane and serge gnabry in the second coming of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery?

Another reason is that the “older players” had reportedly lost faith in Nagelsmann, and that they had been questioning his tactical decisions. Maybe so, and to be fair, this Bayern team has the lowest points total at this stage of the season of any side since 2010-11. But what “senior players” are you listening to? Because if you’re your mid-thirties (or near-thirties) leftovers from earlier eras, you might want to pull the plug. You can’t talk about the future while you cling to the past.

And then the answer to the question “why now” is the availability of Thomas Tuchel. He won the Champions League with Chelsea, he worked at big clubs like Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain, he lives in the area… he’s brilliant. He has been unemployed since Chelsea summarily sacked him in September, but Bayern reportedly became convinced that Tottenham Hotspur and/or Real Madrid were ready to make him an offer, so they had to act quickly.

This doesn’t just sound like a classic infomercial rant: “order in the next 10 minutes or you could lose this steak knife set!” – but it doesn’t quite stack up either.

Tuchel is a good coach, but he is not Pep Guardiola. If Tuchel wants Real Madrid and believes that he has a legitimate chance at Real Madrid, he can wait a couple of months. Meanwhile, it’s hard to believe he’s suffering from so many withdrawal symptoms as manager that he’d take the Tottenham job now rather than wait for the possibility of Bayern making it to the end of the season, especially when Spurs have Ryan Mason as caretaker boss. If they want. they fire Antonio Conte, which, by the way, they still have to do.

If that is the reasoning that Bayern is giving, it doesn’t make sense. At least to me. But maybe, in a weird way, it makes sense in the context of the club.

Bayern isn’t just a club: it’s a culture, a state of mind, and it oscillates strangely between “insiders” (ex-players or coaches, steeped in the Bayern style) and “outsiders” (big names brought in to shake things up). . He has made nine permanent coaching appointments in the last 15 years: five of them were former Bayern players or coaches (Jupp Heynckes twice, plus Jurgen Klinsmann, Hansi Flick and Niko Kovac), while four of them were external (Guardiola , Nagelsmann , Louis Van Gaal and Carlo Ancelotti). Of the last four, three were fired in the middle of the season.

The funny thing here is that the people who brought in Nagelsmann, namely Kahn and Salihamidzic, and then changed their minds about him less than two years later, were also the ones who saw him as a long-term disruptive innovator who would revolutionize the club for the better. .

By firing him now, in this way, they are effectively saying that they did a very bad job. Well, people make mistakes. If it was a mistake, as Nagelsmann’s sacking implies, this was arguably the costliest managerial mistake in football history, but that’s okay: You get a second chance. But you don’t get that many. And if this is a boomerang, it’s not hard to see them stick around either.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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