All the pre-competition talk surrounded reigning champions Manchester City and 14-time winners Real Madrid. Would it be Pep Guardiola’s newly established dominant European force or Carlo Ancelotti’s continental powerhouse? Well, maybe neither. After bolstering their squad in the summer window, Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern look primed for a run at their seventh title.
Tuchel knows how to win
After being sacked by Chelsea less than a year after their famous Champions League triumph, there were question marks around what was next for Tuchel. However, Bayern’s desire to instate the German native at the helm could not wait, and they sacked Julian Nagelsmann to avoid missing out on the UEFA Manager of the Year.
🚨 Exclusive news confirmed: Thomas Tuchel becomes new FC Bayern head coach, full agreement in place. He has already accepted the job. #FCBayern— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 23, 2023
Contract agreed, documents are being prepared tonight. pic.twitter.com/HFnOSwoU1m
The decision raised eyebrows, especially when Bayern were obliterated in the Champions League quarter-finals by Guardiola and City. That early exit came less than a month following his appointment. He has since tinkered with the team, removing deadwood and acquiring world-beaters to assemble a squad that is now a second favorite in the Champions League betting odds at +450, trailing Manchester City (+200) and ahead of Real Madrid (+650).
Bayern will need every bit of Tuchel’s experience if they are to draw level with AC Milan as the competition’s second-most decorated club. Let’s not forget, he is one of the few managers in world football with a Guardiola scalp on his resume, and that just happened to come in the Champions League final. The German champions were cited in Paddy Power’s football tips as Manchester City’s closest rivals, and they have shown more than enough to suggest they can carve out a route to the final.
Bayern’s revolving door of strikers
The history of this football club is built on the legacy of elite goalscorers. First Gerd Muller, then Robert Lewandowski, and now Harry Kane. Tuchel essentially traded in their Polish talisman for a younger model in the summer, bringing in Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer. But Kane offers something a little extra.
While he possesses all the goalscoring instincts of his predecessor, he also came with link-up play that is second to none in world football. A trademark of Spurs’ most successful period under Mauricio Pochettino was Kane dropping deep to receive the ball, dragging with him a panicked center-half. He’d then roll his man and slide through one of his inverted wingers, more often than not, Heung-Min Son.
This is exactly what we have seen in his short but successful spell in Germany. With Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane, Tuchel already had two world-class wingers, but with Kane through the middle, Bayern have added another dimension to their attacking play.
A special one for the collection ⚽️⚽️⚽️🙌 pic.twitter.com/SwGMlMe2XR— Harry Kane (@HKane) October 28, 2023
Excellent squad depth
Tuchel has a squad at his disposal that is more than capable of fighting on all fronts. Coman and Sane are currently Tuchel’s preferred men on the wings, but once the injured Serge Gnabry returns to full fitness, he will provide a selection headache. Gnabry registered 26 goals and assists in 46 appearances last campaign.
All this talk of attacking options and no mention of Thomas Muller! The 34-year-old’s experience and footballing IQ will no doubt be utilized as the Champions League progresses, with the tempo often slower than that of the highly transitional Bundesliga. Muller has played nearly 150 games in the competition, racking up 53 goals and 33 assists. The Bayern legend can perfectly supplement Tuchel’s free-flowing attack.
Bayern to dethrone Manchester City
Manchester City are currently the best team on the planet. However, if anyone can unseat them from the throne, it’s Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich. Not only do they have a more well-rounded squad than the likes of Real Madrid and PSG, but they also have a manager who knows how to get the job done on the biggest stage.