Born in Krumbach, West Germany, Tuchel started his senior career at Stuttgarter Kickers, making a mere eight appearances for them and making 69 appearances for SSV Ulm. Tuchel was on the verge of hanging up his boots due to a severe knee injury at 24 in 1998.
Tuchel’s manager was none other than tactical revolutionary Ralf Rangnickm at Ulm. In 1999, Rangnick secured a role at VFB Stuttgart, an established Bundesliga club. It was here that Tuchel’s coaching career began.
The young German requested his former manager Rangnick to get a trial for VFB Stuttgart Reserves, desperate to not give up on playing. When it became clear that the end was near and Tuchel’s knee was irreparable, Rangnick asked if Tuchel could envision working in youth football as a mentor. Tuchel went through the ranks, coaching the U14s, the U15s, and then the U19s, achieving significant success.
FC Augsburg II
At Augsburg FC (where he had developed as a youth player), Tuchel was initially appointed as the U19 Head Coach. After completing his coaching badges, he was given the opportunity to coach their reserve team, a team that contained a certain 20-year-old Julian Nagelsmann, an injury-prone defender himself. He demonstrated an innate capacity to recognize and nurture talents. Tuchel instructed Nagelsmann to provide scouting reports, setting him on the path to coaching stardom. Tuchel served as coordinator for three years, transitioning into management after being offered the first-team coach position at Augsburg II for the 2007–08 season.
Tactically he was a staunch disciple of the Ragnick school of offensive thinking, forward pressing, and ball-oriented play, principles they had absorbed through years of studying the likes of Arrigo Sacchi.
After three years at Augsburg, Tuchel was invited to take charge of the Mainz 05 U19 side, whose first team had just been relegated from the Bundesliga under the leadership of Jürgen Klopp. At Mainz 05, Tuchel impressed many after winning the 2009 German Youth Championship against a highly fancied Borussia Dortmund side featuring the likes of Mario Götze.
Mainz 05, who had just secured a promotion back to the Bundesliga under the tutelage of Jørn Anderson, ruthlessly sacked the Norwegian and handed the reigns to Thomas Tuchel, his first top-level job aged 36 and after just nine years as a coach.
Despite being low on funds and having a squad that was ill-equipped for top-level football, Tuchel could use engineered conflict to bring his players to the desired level. He forced his players to become accustomed to training in different shapes and pitch sizes varying from rhombuses to circles, or 18m wide x 75m length and 30m length x 70m wide. He was pushing the players to their intellectual limits so that they would not be fazed by the ever-changing scenarios of match day.
Tuchel experimented with a range of formations. His favored choices generally being a 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-2-1-2. He twice guided Mainz 05 into the Europa League and their free-flowing, high pressing, attacking football, which Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona influenced, earned Tuchel plenty of admirers.
Tuchel left Mainz 05 in 2014 with a year remaining on his contract. “I couldn’t see how we could reinvent ourselves once more the coming summer,” he said.
Following the departure of Jürgen Klopp in 2015, the Dortmund hierarchy deemed Thomas Tuchel worthy of being their new head coach. Tuchel instantly conducted a mass clear out, allowing nine players to depart, injecting young fresh minds and legs into the jaded squad, which was crucial if he were to implement his own brand of high-octane football. He brought Julian Weigl into the setup to act as Tuchel’s deep-lying pivot in the midfield. The young German midfielder was omnipresent in the midfield while everyone else around him shifted.
The philosophical framework of Tuchel was based on ‘gegenpressing’ (forward pressing) and lightning counter-attacks. Tuchel wanted more ‘control’ and ‘class’ in the midfield, unlike Klopp, who prioritized work rate. He wanted to incorporate ideas from the Barca/Ajax model of possession-based play with controlled and swift passing. The overall vision was to have a squad of motivated, fictile individuals who would facilitate his vision.
Initially, Tuchel used his customary 4-2-3-1/4-1-4-1 shape. By the end of his tenure, Tuchel began to unleash his full array of tactical dynamism, such as instructing Piszczek to drop deep as the third center-back, enabling Dortmund to adopt a 3-2-5 or 3-2-4-1-shape in attacking transition.
The head coach had fallouts with the club’s CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, especially when the hierarchy at Dortmund didn’t keep their promises to keep Mats Hummels, iIkay Gündogan, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the club. They were all eventually sold, much to the frustration of Tuchel.
Those strained relationships saw Tuchel being sacked by Dortmund. Tuchel left Dortmund with a record of 68 wins, 23 draws, 17 defeats in 108 games, and a win percentage of 62.96%
Following his departure from Dortmund, Tuchel was appointed the head coach of French giants PSG. He managed two of the most talented and egotistical players in the modern game – Neymar and Kylian Mbappé. This potentially represented a tactical problem for Tuchel, who always imposed his principle of defending from the front and winning the ball aggressively in the final third. To combat this issue, Tuchel did what he knew best, adapt and experiment. He used ten formations in Ligue 1, ranging from a 3-4-2-1 to a 4-2-3-1.
Tuchel only won the Trophée des Champions and Ligue 1 title in his first season at Les Parisiens, which wasn’t successful enough according to the standards set by the PSG hierarchy. Their Champions League elimination against Manchester United was also a stain on Tuchel. Although, PSG did extend his contract by a further year, and his second season was much improved, PSG retained the Ligue 1 title, the Trophée des Champions, and added the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue to their collection. Most importantly, they finally met their European expectations and reached the Champions League final.
Unfortunately, an injury to Verratti limited their chances of taking home the trophy as Thiago Alcântara ran the show, starving PSG of the ball. It could be argued that despite the injury, Tuchel went for a more pragmatic and ‘safe’ lineup rather than being bold and selecting a team that may take the game to the Germans.
Tuchel’s tenure at Paris Saint-Germain was barred by a fractured relationship with the club’s hierarchy. He said he felt “more like a politician in sport” than a coach in an interview. These comments and his previous criticism over the club’s transfer activity were condemned by PSG’s sporting director Leonardo. He said Tuchel “must respect the people above him,” and labeled the comments as damaging for the club. Tuchel left PSG in December 2020 with a record of 95 wins, 13 draws, and 19 defeats in 127 games, with the best win percentage in Ligue 1 history (75.6%) and the highest average of points per game (2.37).
The Champions League Blues (Chelsea)
It did not take long for Tuchel to find a new club. He was appointed as the Chelsea manager only after one month of parting ways with PSG. Tuchel was brought in by Chelsea to salvage their hopes of a top-four spot in the Premier League. The Blues had high expectations during the start of the season after securing some fantastic and big money signings. Still, they struggled heavily under the club legend Lampard and were ranked ninth in the league when Tuchel was appointed.
Chelsea recorded an impressive run of a 13 match unbeaten streak under Tuchel, setting the record of longest unbeaten run by a new head coach in Chelsea’s history. This incredible run saw them climb from ninth to fourth. Chelsea have lost just twice in the league since Tuchel took over.
This sudden redemption of form continued in the cup competitions as Tuchel guided Chelsea to another FA Cup final, beating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the semi-final, but he eventually lost to Leicester City at Wembley in the final.
Losing the 2020 UCL final with PSG left everyone wondering if Tuchel is really one of the best managers in Europe. However, the Bavarian was able to redeem himself and assisted Chelsea to their second UCL trophy. Having beaten the likes of Atlético Madrid, Porto, and Real Madrid on the way, Tuchel turned Chelsea into a formidable side in real quick time. He put on a tactical masterclass against Pep Guardiola’s City, winning 1-0 in the UCL final. Kai Havertz grabbed the winning goal in a tense final at Porto.
Tactically, Tuchel sets up Chelsea in a 3-4-2-1 formation with two attacking-midfielders behind the striker. Chelsea flourished in this system. His obsession with possession requires stylish midfielders, the presence of Jorginho in the core of midfield helps to control the possession of the ball, and Kante is, as usual, ‘ubiquitous’ in stopping the opposition attacking threats. His team simply do not go into any game seeking to counter-attack and adopt a low block. They look to press and win the ball high up the pitch and move it around with technical proficiency. The two wing-backs provide the width and stretch of the opposition defensive lines, which aids in silky ball movement between the lines.
Tuchel is blessed to have an experienced leader in César Azpilicueta and him being a versatile footballer. The companionship of his former PSG player Thiago Silva gave much sought-after stability in Chelsea’s defense. Tuchel built the team with a pragmatic approach of defensive strength as the priority.
If someone hand-picks a feature of Tuchel’s managerial philosophy, it has to be his ability to shift shapes. In many ways, he is the epitome of the post-modern manager, someone who takes in-game positional shifts to another level.
He believes in the power of the individual to solve problems under pressure and innovates training to challenge and stretch his players continually. Players practice on slippery, extremely narrow or extremely wide pitches and are given brain teasers such as being asked to control the ball with their knees before passes and hold on to tennis balls to stop them pulling opponents’ shirts.
Under Thomas Tuchel’s leadership, Chelsea fans must be having huge hopes and ambitions for players
At only 27 years of age himself, Tuchel was already starting to make an impact in the youth setup as he aided the development of future German stars, Mario Gomez and Holger Badstuber.
After impressing in his time with Stuttgart, Tuchel returned to where he started out as a young player, being appointed as the youth team co-ordinator with FC Augsburg.
Tuchel continued to impress with the youth teams and ended up being offered the managerial role with Augsburg II. It was here that Tuchel produced more quality yet again as he provided the inspiration behind Julian Nagelsmann's move into coaching.
Tuchel was now impressing a host of top-level German clubs and joined newly promoted side Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga. It was at this club that Tuchel was finally given the freedom to implement his own styles and build his own team.
Known for his ability to develop young players into stars, it was his first season with Mainz that would kickstart the careers of then promising youngsters Adam Szalai and Andre Schurrle.
In the following seasons, Tuchel would also work with the likes of Lewis Holtby, Christian Fuchs and Loris Karius, adding to the depth of stars that the German professor had helped develop into top players.
Tuchel enjoyed a successful stint with Mainz in what was his first real stint at a senior managerial role. He had successfully turned Mainz into one of the better Bundesliga sides, despite them being one of the financially poorest clubs.
However, all did not end well for Tuchel and Mainz following a fall out with the hierarchy over a financial dispute.
Following successful seasons with the club and securing them a place in the UEFA Europa League competition, Tuchel had hoped that he would be allowed extra funds to improve his squad evenmore.
However, this request was not accepted, much to the despair of Tuchel, and he subsequently asked to be released from his contract later stating: "I couldn't see how we could reinvent ourselves once more the coming summer."
Mainz eventually allowed Tuchel to leave the club following the disagreement. However, despite stepping down as head coach, he wasn't allowed to find a new club until his contract at Mainz would have finished a year later.
Following the departure of Jurgen Klopp in 2015, Dortmund were quick to pounce to hire Tuchel as their new head coach.
Tuchel quickly revitalized a side that was capable of winning trophies, meaning Tuchel finally had the resources to build the kind of team he wanted.
It didn't take long for Tuchel to really implement his style with Dortmund, leading them to a highly impressive run of 11 consecutive wins at the start of his first season.
He had inherited a side that had struggled in the previous season, finishing a disappointing seventh in the league, but Tuchel had reignited Dortmund's fire with a respectable second-place finish in the Bundesliga as well as a cup final appearance in the DFB-Pokal.
Tuchel would develop his side even further in the following season by bringing in the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Marc Bartra and Raphael Guerreiro in the summer transfer window.
Dortmund now boasted a truly formidable team, and one in which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arguably played his best ever football, recording an impressive 56 goals in 63 league appearances under Tuchel.
This rejuvenated side went on to win their first silverware in five years, and Tuchel's first major honour as a coach in the form of the DFB-Pokal.
Goals from Aubameyang and Dembele in the final showcased Tuchel's attacking football clearly as Dortmund looked back to their title-winning best.
Though it looked like a match made in heaven with Dortmund and Tuchel, things weren't quite as they seemed behind the scenes.
In a shock turn of events, just three days after the DFB-Pokal heroics Tuchel was sacked by Dortmund due to a fractured relationship with the hierarchy once again.
Tuchel endured numerous fall-outs with those above him at the club. One of the biggest disagreements followed Dortmund's UEFA Champions League tie against Monaco, which still took place despite Dortmund's team bus being attacked on the way.
The head coach publicly criticised CEO of the club, Hans-Joachim Watzke, for ignoring the squad's wishes to not carry on with the game as they didn't feel prepared to play.
Tuchel had also fallen out with the hierarchy at Dortmund for going back on their promises to keep Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the club. They were all eventually sold, much to the frustration of Tuchel.
The then Dortmund manager was adamant that he wanted to be able to build his own team with a view to future success, and that meant that he wanted the final say on transfers in and out of the club.
It saw Tuchel continue to clash with Watzke as players that Tuchel wanted to sell were kept by the club, and players that Tuchel wanted to sign were blocked from a move.
This disagreement on transfers resulted in a training ground bust-up between Tuchel and chief scout, Sven Mislintat, in which the latter was banished from the training ground by Tuchel.
It was reported that Tuchel sent an accidental text to the Sporting Director at Dortmund instead of his agent, venting his frustrations about the club.
Those strained relationships saw Tuchel being sacked by the club after it was deemed that they were not quite the perfect fit after all.
Transfer window madness
Following the abrupt departure at Dortmund, Tuchel was appointed as the head coach of French side Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 giants continued their search for European dominance.
Tuchel took this task seriously as he quickly looked to build a team capable of winning the Champions League. With the financial backing of a club like PSG, this was very much a reality.
Tuchel didn't take long to add to his new squad as the permanent transfer of Kylian Mbappe was announced soon after his arrival.
He also went on to secure the signature of numerous other players, including Gianluigi Buffon, Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat.
However, a major reshuffle in the team meant that PSG would have to sell a number of players to adhere to the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations.
As a result, Javier Pastore, Yuri Berchiche and Goncalo Guedes were all sold in the same window.
It was clear from the get go that Tuchel meant business with his major squad reshuffle, with him stamping his authority on the clubs transfer business.
However, despite acquiring a number of new players, Tuchel publicly revealed that he was unhappy that the club wasn't able to improve either of the full-back positions.
Despite having the means to improve the squad, Tuchel was once again unhappy with his clubs transfer business.
Tuchel started life at his new club in impressive fashion. His first game in charge was a 4-0 win over rivals Monaco to win the Trophee des Champions.
This early indicator of success was followed up by a record breaking start to the season, with PSG recording the most wins to start a domestic league season with 14 straight victories, followed by the most league points before Christmas in Ligue 1 with 47 points.
Tuchel would go on to secure his first ever league title win in his first season with PSG, but it was the following season that his side really started to impress.
His new PSG side improved even further, producing a highly impressive campaign in the 2019/20 season.
Following the halt to football due to the Covid-19 pandemic, PSG were awarded the Ligue 1 title as they sat in first place when the league was ultimately cancelled.
When football across the world resumed, PSG were allowed to compete in both the Coupe de France final and the 2020 Coupe de la Ligue final, eventually winning them both.
Added to the early season retention of the Trophee des Champions, Tuchel had completed the domestic quadruple and domination of French football.
Tuchel's side didn't stop there either as the German guided PSG to their first ever Champions League final, and their first European final since 1997.
However, PSG narrowly lost the final to German side Bayern Munich, but Tuchel had taken PSG further than anyone had achieved before.
A frosty finish with PSG
In a familiar tale for Tuchel, things were not as they seemed beneath all of the success, and a frosty relationship with the club's hierarchy soon revealed itself.
Tuchel was sacked by the club only a day after a 4-0 victory over Strasbourg in the 2020/21 season, much to the surprise of many.
However, recent altercations with the club's hierarchy had created a frosty environment around the club.
Sporting director of the club, Leonardo, and Tuchel had come to blows following a fall-out over the club's transfers once again.
Tuchel wasn't happy that the club had allowed too many free transfers to leave the club, as well as their inability to bring in full-back reinforcements.
The signing of defensive midfielder Danilo Pereira had also caused friction between the two as he was signed against Tuchel's wishes of needing a central defender instead.
It was further reported that Tuchel was left unhappy with the sporting director's interference with training methods and team selections. For a man that likes to have full control over his team, it became clear that Tuchel could not work with Leonardo.
Tuchel made it public that he wasn't happy with the situation as well, stating that he felt more like a 'politician' rather than a coach for the club.
It resulted in a predictable backlash from the PSG board as Leonardo revealed that they were unhappy with the German's comments, stating that Tuchel must "respect the people above" him as well as labelling Tuchel's comments as damaging to their club.
A familiar outcome for the German coach followed, with him parting ways with a club on bad terms once again.
The journey so far thomas tuchel
👤ADMIN 📅04-01-2022 16:26
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