Instead of a triple, Tuchel’s Bayern facing UCL exit


DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) – When Bayern Munich hired Thomas Tuchel less than three weeks ago, he said he was focused on the chance to win three trophies – the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League.

Now the cup is gone and Bayern will need an improbable comeback to salvage its Champions League campaign after losing 3-0 to Manchester City on Tuesday.

Tuchel was adamant the score wasn’t a true reflection of the game and that Bayern had the momentum just before an error from defender Dayot Upamecano allowed City to score its second goal in the 70th minute.

“(The Bayern players) felt that this does not feel like a 3-0, but it is a 3-0 and of course it’s a huge, huge task now to turn this around. We will not give up. We are realistic but we will not give up. Football is football and a home match in Germany is a home match in Germany,” Tuchel said.

Speaking in German with broadcaster Amazon Prime, Tuchel lavished praise on his team for their commitment and effort and said he had “fallen in love” with the squad.

Tuchel beat Guardiola’s City before with Chelsea in the 2021 Champions League final, but he’s had little time to shape how Bayern plays after his surprise appointment last month to replace Julian Nagelsmann as coach.

Just to take the second leg on April 19 to extra time, Bayern would need to do what no team has done since September 2020 and beat City by three goals.

“No big things need to change, but of course nobody was shy to say that you need a bit of luck, you need the momentum in the game if you want to have a result with City,” Tuchel said.

A tenure that started with huge promise after beating Borussia Dortmund 4-2 in the Bundesliga now looks troubled. Since that Dortmund win, Bayern has been eliminated from the German Cup in a 2-1 loss to Freiburg, beaten the same opponent 1-0 in the league and then lost to City. Meanwhile, Nagelsmann is in the position Tuchel was just weeks ago, the sought-after coach linked with vacancies at top European clubs.

Ahead of the second leg, Tuchel and Bayern take on Hoffenheim, a team on the fringes of the Bundesliga relegation fight but also on some of its best form of the season.

Of the three competitions Tuchel had hoped to win, anything less than an 11th consecutive Bundesliga title would be seen as a major failure. Bayern is two points ahead of Dortmund and its final games of the season make a relatively friendly schedule. Of Bayern’s seven remaining domestic opponents, five are currently outside of the top 10 and only one, Leipzig, is in a European place.

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