In recent weeks, hardly any topic has occupied the German football landscape as much as the change of coach at FC Bayern Munich. Julian Nagelsmann was dismissed following the 2-1 defeat away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen and the resulting drop to second place in the table; preferred candidate Thomas Tuchel was free and willing to take over the coaching reins at the league leaders. The men from Munich are now back on track in the league, having followed up the 4-2 victory in their top-of-the-table clash with Borussia Dortmund with a 1-0 win in Freiburg. But while Bayern have shone at the weekends, their shortcomings have revealed themselves in midweek.
Because now only one of the three titles they were gunning for two weeks ago still seems achievable. Bayern lost (2-1) at home to SC Freiburg in the DFB-Pokal, while the first leg of their Champions League tie ended in a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City. They will now need to mount a huge comeback in the return fixture to keep their European hopes alive.
But despite the “bitter result”, Thomas Tuchel felt that his team had produced a good performance against Pep Guardiola’s star ensemble. The 49-year-old even stated that he had “fallen in love a bit” with his new team in the aftermath of the 3-0 loss. Oliver Kahn, the chief executive, was also in combative mood at the team hotel after the defeat: “We can’t allow ourselves to get lost in thought now. We have to get back on track straightaway on Saturday.”
So TSG have been warned. FC Bayern have won the game after each of their four competitive defeats this term. And after the two recent English weeks, the league clash with TSG Hoffenheim takes on a new level of importance – it is a case of preserving what is probably their only chance of winning a title.