Analysis

Thomas Tuchel’s record in domestic cup finals

Thomas Tuchel will lead Chelsea out in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday hoping to repeat the domestic cup triumphs he enjoyed at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel won the DFB-Pokal in 2017 and the Coupe de France in 2020, the principal cup competitions in Germany and France. Both successes came at the second time of asking after agonising penalty shoot-out defeats a year earlier. Here we look at how those finals panned out…

2016 DFB-Pokal final: Bayern Munich 0 Borussia Dortmund 0 (4-3 on pens)

In his first season at Borussia Dortmund, Tuchel guided The Black and Yellows to their third consecutive DFB-Pokal final with the minimum of fuss.

However, they suffered a third consecutive loss, this time on penalties, after two tight hours of football could not separate the sides. Pep Guardiola’s Bayern dominated possession, but there were just four shots on target overall as the teams cancelled each other out.

Defenders Sven Bender and Sokratis Papastathopulous missed the decisive spot-kicks, ensuring there would be no winner’s medal for Tuchel in his debut Dortmund season.

2017 DFB-Pokal final: Borussia Dortmund 2 Eintracht Frankfurt 1

Tuchel had to wait just 12 months to put that right. Having dramatically overcome old foes Bayern at the Allianz Arena 3-2 in the semi-final, Dortmund went into the Berlin showpiece as the favourites.

The teams exchanged goals in the opening half-hour with Frankfurt, containing Chelsea loanee Michael Hector in their defence, proving more than a match for their star-studded opponents. They missed a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead and were punished midway through the second half.

Christian Pulisic, a half-time sub, was taken out by Frankfurt keeper Lukas Hradecky as he went round him. It was a clear penalty, which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted with a panenka. Tuchel had the first winner’s medal of his managerial career in his last game in charge of Dortmund.

2019 Coupe de France final: PSG 2 Rennes 2 (5-6 on pens)

PSG cruised to the final without conceding a goal in Tuchel’s first taste of the primary French cup competition, but they came unstuck in the final.

Having led 2-0 early on against Rennes through Dani Alves and Neymar, the finishing line felt like a formality for the Ligue 1 champions. But an own goal on the stroke of half-time, a succession of missed opportunities and then a set-piece equaliser took an enthralling contest to 30 additional minutes.

Kylian Mbappe, responsible for some of those wasted chances, was sent off for a bad tackle as PSG’s frustrations boiled over. In the shoot-out, PSG midfielder Christopher Nkunku was the first player to miss with the 12th penalty.

‘We tried to do things that are harder, but you don’t do that in decisive games,’ said Tuchel afterwards. ‘We were not aware that it is always possible to lose your confidence and to lose the match.’

2020 Coupe de France final: PSG 1 Saint-Etienne 0

For the second time it was a case of second time lucky in the cups for Tuchel, who masterminded a narrow victory over St-Etienne last July in the first competitive game in France after lockdown.

Neymar scored what proved an early winner against a side reduced to 10 men when Loic Perrin badly fouled Mbappe, who hobbled off in tears. The Champions League final was around the corner.

‘We hadn't played for five months, we were the favourites, and we had everything to lose,’ noted Tuchel afterwards. ‘It was tough for us, but we won the final, that's the best thing.’

2020 Coupe de la Ligue final: Lyon 0 PSG 0 (5-6) on pens

A week later, PSG were back at the Stade de France for the Coupe de la Ligue final. This was a tactical battle, with Lyon, who would go on to reach the Champions League semi-finals, sitting deep and stifling their well-heeled opponents.

Still, Lyon needed their keeper Anthony Lopes to pull off a string of superb saves to take the contest to penalties. Former Blue Bertrand Traore was the only man to miss, handing PSG the domestic treble, and Tuchel his third cup triumph.

The target for him now is to add a fourth, and at the first time of asking in England…

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