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Who is Chelsea's new manager Thomas Tuchel?

Following the news Thomas Tuchel is the new Chelsea head coach, we take a close look at his career so far with all the relevant information and statistics...

We start with Tuchel's most recent managerial experience, at Paris Saint-Germain, where he arrived in the summer of 2018 after a year out of the game following his departure from Borussia Dortmund. 

What has Thomas Tuchel won?

PSG made a blistering start to the 2018/19 season under the Bavarian’s stewardship, registering 14 straight victories in Ligue 1 and topping a Champions League group that featured Liverpool and Napoli. The 47-year-old was successful in getting the best out of world-class stars such Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, as well as Thiago Silva who has since moved to the Bridge himself. 

By the midway point of the campaign, they had dropped just four points from a possible 51 on offer, having also triumphed in the Trophee des Champions, the French Community Shield equivalent, against Monaco in the first game of the season.

Read: Tuchel joins Chelsea

With the fluid front three of Neymar, Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, there was no let-up after Christmas either and PSG were crowned champions with six games remaining, eventually finishing 16 points clear of nearest challengers Lille. They were runners-up in the Coupe de France but didn’t make it past the Champions League round of 16, leaving plenty of motivation for Tuchel’s second term in charge.

2019/20 began in familiar fashion for the Parisians as they lifted the Trophee des Champions and won 10 of their opening 14 games in Ligue 1 and the Champions League, including a 3-0 victory over Real Madrid. They topped their group once again, setting up a return to Dortmund for Tuchel in the knockout round.

Domestic dominance continued and this time PSG had the cup competitions in their sights as well, although the Covid-19 pandemic paused their progress in early March. Upon football’s resumption, PSG triumphed in both the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, completing a Treble as Ligue 1 was settled on a points-per-game basis.

Despite going down in the first leg of their Champions League knockout tie against his former side, Tuchel masterminded PSG’s route to the final, overturning that deficit before knocking out Atalanta and RB Leipzig in the competition’s truncated conclusion in Portugal. In their first-ever final, PSG found themselves on the wrong end of a narrow 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

Like many top clubs across Europe, PSG struggled in the early part of 2020/21 without a full pre-season and facing the numerous issues caused by the pandemic. They lost their opening two Ligue 1 matches, although a run of eight wins in a row soon followed to turn things around and they also finished top of their Champions League group once again under Tuchel’s guidance.

Tuchel departed with PSG sat third at the time of French football’s winter break, just one point off the top of the table.

What was Tuchel’s early coaching career?

Tuchel's first steps in management came in the Bundesliga, first with Mainz and then as Jurgen Klopp’s replacement at Borussia Dortmund, although his coaching career began at the age of 27 working with the youth team at Stuttgart.

Tuchel came through the youth academy at Augsburg as a centre-back but his time as a player was spent mostly in the lower divisions in Germany and ended prematurely due to a serious knee injury. 

After studying for a Business Administration degree following his early retirement, Tuchel reached out to Ralf Rangnick, his former coach at Ulm, asking for one last shot to revive his playing career. Rangnick was in charge at Stuttgart and offered Tuchel an opportunity but chronic cartilage damage in his knee meant the comeback was shortlived. However, Rangnick encouraged him into coaching and he eventually took a job in the club’s academy.

He excelled working with young players, an attribute that has remained throughout his career, and continued to develop himself as a coach working with Stuttgart’s Under-19s before taking on similar roles at Augsburg and then Mainz. It was with the latter that he won the Under-19 Bundesliga title in 2008/09 with a side featuring future Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle.

In August 2009, then aged 35, Tuchel took his first senior coaching role as boss of Mainz following the dismissal of Jorn Andersen after an early-season cup exit to lower-league opposition before the league campaign had begun. 

The club had just returned to the Bundesliga and the task to keep them in the division was daunting but Tuchel’s mix of tactical shrewdness and man management skills saw them win three of their opening six league matches, including a 2-1 home victory over Bayern Munich. They eventually finished the season ninth.

Despite a limited playing squad, Tuchel made the collective stronger than the sum of their parts and his tactical approach saw a focus on intense pressing out of possession, an emerging trend in German football at the time. Over five full seasons at Mainz, Tuchel had established himself as one of the most impressive young coaches on the continent and left in the summer of 2014 with the club looking forward to their debut in the Europa League group stage.

Following Klopp at Dortmund

Tuchel took a year out following his spell at Mainz and then succeeded Klopp once again when the German left Dortmund in 2015. He was seen as a coach who could continue the gegenpressing style and revive the challenge with Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern Munich following a seventh-place finish in Klopp’s final season. 

He did just that in his first term, finishing as runners-up and closing the gap from 33 points to 10, although they were beaten in the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) final on penalties by Bayern, denying Tuchel his first opportunity of silverware. In the Europa League, their run saw victories over Tottenham and Porto before elimination at the hands of Klopp’s Liverpool.

Dortmund were able to recruit players more easily than Mainz but Tuchel also remained focused on developing young talent at the Westfalenstadion. Christian Pulisic was one of those to be brought in during the first season of his reign, the American enjoying his breakthrough in Germany that year, while Ousmane Dembele was another to thrive under Tuchel’s tutelage before a move to Barcelona.

The latter helped the team win their first trophy in five years in 2016/17, the DFB-Pokal secured with a 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who also had an impressive goalscoring record under Tuchel, joined Dembele on the scoresheet in the final.

After finishing second and third in his two seasons in charge, Tuchel left Dortmund in May 2017.

What is Tuchel’s style of play?

A fluent English speaker, Tuchel once described his style as ‘attack-minded football with pace going forward’, going on to say, ‘I prefer certain qualities – an active playing style, bold defending and pacey play in attack.’

His teams are known for being tactically flexible, often in response to the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition, although he has tended to prefer a 4-3-3 system more recently, with direct play from the wide forwards and full-backs. Out of possession, there is an emphasis on counter-pressing to win the ball back quickly in forward areas.

What is Tuchel’s record as a manager?

PSG

Won 94, drew 14 and lost 19 of 127 games.

Honours: Ligue 1 2018/19, 2019/20; Coupe de France 2019/20; Coupe de la Ligue 2019/20; Trophee des Champions 2018, 2019

Borussia Dortmund

Won 67, drew 23 and lost 17 of 107 games.

Honours: DFB-Pokal 2016/17 

Mainz 

Won 68, drew 48 and lost 64 of 180 games.

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