Thomas Tuchel on Tuesday confirmed what many had come to expect over the last few weeks, announcing Borussia Dortmund have parted ways with their head coach with immediate effect.
The 43-year-old leaves after winning the DFB-Pokal against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday and fulfilling all sporting goals over his two-year tenure, having taken over from Jürgen Klopp in the summer of 2015. Tuchel led the team to second place with a Bundesliga-record points total in his first year, and a third-place finish this season despite a major squad upheaval and injury problems throughout the season.
Of course, sport has not been at the heart of the issues that have now led to Tuchel’s dismissal. According to multiple reports and sources, the head coach has alienated many people in important positions at the club, including key players who have failed to back their coach in recent weeks after a rift between Tuchel and chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke came into public focus.
Friend of the program Stephan Uersfeld offered a detailed breakdown of the deteriorating relationship between head coach and club for ESPN FC, opining: “Tuchel seems set to leave following a power struggle with the club’s hierarchy and key parts of the squad he could not win over. A toxic mix of mistrust and communication failure has led to a point of no return.”
Watzke had repeatedly stated “strategig aspects, communication, and trust” would be the criteria upon which the working relationship with Tuchel and his staff would be judged. The head coach’s dismissal comes as no surprise despite the clubs attempts to make the end-of-season talks appear open and unbiased.
Now, the focus shifts to the search for a replacement. Former Hertha BSC and Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Lucien Favre has been repeatedly named as the favourite to take over. Of course, the Swiss is still under contract at OGC Nice in Ligue 1, whom he led to a surprising UEFA Champions League qualification spot this season.
That means Dortmund would have to pay a transfer fee for Favre. If not the 59-year-old, local media group Funke has identified Cologne’s Peter Stöger, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Niko Kovac and Ajax’s Peter Bosz as other candidates.
The club has confirmed the news as well. Here are the relevant parts of the statement.
Borussia Dortmund and Thomas Tuchel will be going separate ways with immediate effect. This is the result of a talk between Watzke, Michael Zorc, Tuchel and his agent Olaf Meinking earlier on Tuesday.
As the employer, BVB will not make any detailed statements as to the reasons behind the separation, which is the result of a longer process and being backed by all bodies of the club.
We emphasise that the cause for the dismissal is in no means a disagreement between two people. The well-being of the club Borussia Dortmund, which is defined by far more than just sporting success, will inherently always be more important than individuals or potential conflicts between them.