Coach of the Schwarz-Gelben: Thomas Tuchel - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old June 13th, 2015, 10:44 Thread Starter
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Coach of the Schwarz-Gelben: Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel was presented to the media as the new head coach of Borussia Dortmund for the first time on Wednesday amid a flurry of flashing cameras, with over 100 media representatives in attendance to listen to the club's new boss.

Thomas Tuchel on...
...his appointment and his objectives with Borussia Dortmund:
"I'm absolutely delighted to be officially unveiled as BVB's new coach at this press conference. During my year out I felt a real desire to take over the reins at a top Bundesliga club, a real desire to coach a club steeped in tradition and a real desire to be in charge of a club that could really challenge. In my eyes, BVB is a club capable of challenging in every competition we're involved in. Domestically, there are more teams challenging now. It's no longer just Bayern Munich, there's also Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg. We are a challenger to this quartet's dominance - and we have a certain amount of catching up to do. These four teams were the best four in both the first and second halves of the season. They learnt how to put together a winning run and how to overcome obstacles. They successfully maintained their positions and only swapped places with each other in the league table - both in the first and second halves of the season."

...his philosophy:
"It's extremely important that we develop a real motivation to achieve this aim. For this we need an approach characterised by hard work, modesty, courage, openness and a level of determination. I want these four teams that we're looking to challenge to constantly be wary of us. For this we need to create an atmosphere infused with a sense of motivation, an atmosphere without egos and which carries us forward. It must be tangible in every training session and every minute in the stadium."

...the trust placed in him by the club's leadership:
"For me it's important to be able to work with reliable structures. The support from Hans-Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc played a very important role in the decision I made to join the club. The trust they placed in me made an impression on me from the very start and made my decision a very easy one. Only by working in such an environment is it possible for me to follow in Jürgen Klopp's footsteps. For me it goes without saying that the greatest level of recognition and appreciation must be shown for the outstanding coaching work Jürgen has done here over the course of the past seven seasons. Jürgen was more than just a coach here. We're going to try to write new chapters in this success story, to maintain this high level and to start new developments of our own. My team and I are really looking forward to the challenge and will give everything in our power while here."

...potential additions to the squad:
"I've not compiled my own shopping list. We have a fantastic squad. What I want is to work with all of the individual players and get my own impression of their qualities and personalities from the very beginning. The team is very balanced and has an excellent average age. The lads have performed incredibly over the course of the last few years. There's no need to sit down at a desk or in front of video analysis to decide which players will be leaving this group and replaced by a new signing."

...the type of football that he'd like to play:
"Dortmund already have their own style, so there's no need to develop a new one. Dortmund represent very attractive football, attacking football which is fun for me personally and for all the fans too. We want to act when we have the ball and we want to win it back as quickly as possible when we don't have it. I consider this play when you don't have the ball to be very important. I'm excited about the real talent the players possess. I'm hoping for so much quality that we can deliver dominant performances. When we know each other better, I'll decide which system we'll play and what's right for us. Who feels comfortable in which areas? Who works well with whom? I'd like to leave everything open at the moment." emotional club and an emotional environment:
"When I heard about the interest and when it became concrete, it was clear that this was the job for me. Right from the start I wanted to seize this opportunity. I'm a very emotional coach who really goes through the motions. I'm looking forward to seeing the stands decked out in yellow, to experiencing this power and energy to such an extent that it can't even be described in words. I'm very curious about the city and the Ruhr region in general."

...the UEFA Europa League qualifying matches:
"The most important thing is training. I mean it. The Europa League qualifiers are a massive inconvenience. The matches do not represent a disadvantage in themselves, but they're not exactly advantageous either. They'll put us behind as we look to compete for a top-four spot. We'll have to make up for it somehow because we don't have a choice. If you get the opportunity to coach such a big club, then logically you have to expect that it'll be involved in European competition. It's something that will also give both myself and the team the chance to develop further and I'm really looking forward to that."

...the number of fixtures decreasing his preparation time:
"Of course we'd have liked to have a longer, more peaceful preparation time without these ridiculous international fixtures (in June) so that the players could recover and return to the club rested, so that we could start together and use the few days that we have in order to implement all the new things as quickly as possible. But the situation is how it is. It doesn't exactly give us an advantage over the teams we want to compete with places for. But enough's been said on the matter now. We'll find solutions. It may mean that this stage of working on our game - coming up with footballing principles, dealing with systems more flexibly - lasts well into the season. At the beginning it'll be a case of less is more. We must not make the mistake of trying to cram everything in in the first four weeks before our first competitive game."

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old June 13th, 2015, 10:51
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This guy'll flop it big timez. Mark ma wordz.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old June 15th, 2015, 06:07
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Some good stuff said in his first interview there, I'm confident that he's the right guy for the job despite some's doubts and that he'll lead this team back on track to where it wants to be in no time at all. A change was needed and he is the man who could bring it, hopefully he'll reinvigorate this squad and bring them back to their best before too long.

I'll share a couple of articles I read about him on Bundesliga Fanatic here, both really are worth the thread if you're trying to get to know who he is as a manager and what he's all about:

Thomas Tuchel’s Mainz: a Retrospective

With all of the press surrounding the World Cup that kicks off in Brazil this week, it bears repeating that Thomas Tuchel is currently unemployed as a football manager (well sort of, more on that later). At the conclusion of the season, Tuchel, for reasons that are still unclear, resigned from his post as first team manager at Mainz. This move is truly a head-scratching decision considering what a success the season had been, culminating in Mainz’s 7th place finish in the Bundesliga, which resulted in their qualification for the 2014-15 Europa League’s 3rd Qualifying Round.

This success obviously did not sit well with the brass at Mainz, and when a mutual “termination” agreement was eventually agreed upon, it was specifically worded so that Tuchel would not be able to join another club until the end of his then contract in June 2015, unless of course the club was consulted with and, not surprisingly, adequately compensated [i]. However, Mainz sporting director Christian Heidel was quick to dismiss any thoughts of animosity between the club and Tuchel and has always been a very keen backer of his now former manager. This relationship left things between the two parties in a much more amicable state in the aftermath of the whole ordeal, but still left Tuchel not collecting a paycheque.

Even though things seemed to be smoothed over, it still seems a fairly unorthodox, almost vindictive, stipulation to be set upon a manager who by all accounts was incredibly well-liked by his players, assistants, and upper management; this critique is to say nothing of the genuine success the club enjoyed over the entire length of Tuchel’s tenure. But before launching into an analysis of Tuchel’s time at Mainz, let’s take a brief look at the man himself.

Hermann Badstuber and the Career Student

At only 24 years of age, Thomas Tuchel’s playing career was cut short due to ongoing knee problems and for awhile it seemed as though a career in football was the furthest thing from his mind. But after completing a Business Degree, Tuchel was brought back into the footballing world by Ralf Rangnick, under whom Tuchel had played during his final season at SSV Ulm. In 2000, Tuchel was given a position in Stuttgart’s youth academy (where Rangnick was the senior team manager) where he stayed for 4 years before moving up to the U-19s.

After a single season in Stuttgart, Tuchel moved on to manage the Augsburg U-19s and FCA II, where he completed his DFL Coaching Training, before finally landing in Mainz in 2008 where he was appointed as manager of the Mainz U-19s. He kept this position for a season before he was promoted to manager of the senior team, succeeding Jørn Andersen, who was relieved of his duties after gaining Mainz promotion to the Bundesliga.

A common theme keeps popping up, that of continual learning. Tuchel himself attributes this trait to his mentor the late Hermann Badstuber (yes, Holger’s father). Tuchel knew Badstuber from his time in Stuttgart’s youth academy where Holger trained for two years. In a 2009 interview, Tuchel (barely a month in as Mainz’s manager) spoke very candidly about how much of a mentor Hermann Badstuber had been to him; Tuchel said that Badstuber was a master at thinking outside the box who nurtured a player’s natural talents and emphasized, not only hard work, but also modesty. Tuchel credits Badstuber as his greatest influence both personally and professionally and took his death very hard [ii].

Additionally, a article reveals – perhaps unsurprisingly – that Tuchel was also a huge admirer of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side, whom he called a model side in that they were dedicated to constant improvement and remained ambitious regardless of all the success they achieved [iii].

In the same article, Tuchel’s youth football mentality was stressed as a factor that makes him such an effective manager. He is a motivator and a true player’s coach who stresses an importance on education and dedication to self-improvement, especially to the younger professionals. He’s not a one trick pony, mind you: some of his old dogs also learn new tricks.


Now that we know a bit more about the man and his coaching philosophy, we can now turn our attention to the on field tactics.

The aforementioned article (from 2011, but it serves its purpose extremely well) describes Tuchel’s tactics in great detail, so I will break it down as simply as possible. In Tuchel, Mainz not only had a spiritual successor to Jürgen Klopp, who’d been their longtime manager until he moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2008 but Tuchel’s admiration for Barcelona shaped the way he wanted his side to play football. Tuchel had his team press the opposition relentlessly, most notably in the opposition half and when his side had lost the ball, and rely on quick attacks once they’d regained the ball. If ball retention wasn’t an option, Mainz could always fall back on a well-organized defensive unit to stop opposition attacks.

Tuchel always liked to keep his opponents guessing and would switch up his starting 11 on a nearly weekly basis. This beguiling strategy also meant that Tuchel employed a very fluid formation on the pitch. He experimented (and still uses to this day) a 4-3-1-2 formation that was designed to control the centre of the pitch. This type of formation is vulnerable to attacks from the flanks, so Tuchel had his defensive midfielders cover the opposing fullbacks to remove some passing options, all the while his attacking midfielder would hound the opposition’s defensive midfield players when they had possession of the ball. Tenacious final third pressing at its finest.

Another aspect of Tuchel’s game was his prolific use of substitutions; in his 5 seasons at Mainz, Tuchel used up all of his available subs in every, or nearly every, match. As mentioned above, Tuchel did not always field his strongest starting 11 and instead kept some of his stronger (mostly attacking) players on the bench in order to be able to utilize them later on in the match. This strategy equates to something like ‘false squad depth’.

Tuchel was able to do this because of the abundance of attacking players he selected each week for the squad. A byproduct of this squad rotation was that he was able to keep all of these players game ready, and used his excellent skills as a motivator to curb any potential squad unrest.

Conclusion: Heidel’s Praise and the “Tuchel Tabell”

In an article published a few months before Tuchel’s departure, Christian Heidel couldn’t help but heap praise on top of his then manager [iv]. He said that Mainz are inexplicably still considered underdogs in the Bundesliga and finds it rather incredible that the team hasn’t garnered the attention it probably should. He comments that often times, and he cites matches involving Augsburg, Hertha, and his own Mainz, when the smaller clubs beat the bigger ones it is more a case of the losing side having an off day then it is of the achievements of the winner.

He also makes mention of what has been coined as the “Tuchel Tabell.” He elaborates by saying since Thomas Tuchel took over as manager of Mainz, only 4 clubs (at the time he was right) were ahead of them in the combined year over year table. For your reference, here are the Bundesliga top 7 club standings over the past four seasons:

Points Wins Draw Losses For

Bayern 399 120 29 21 422 134
Dortmund 350 105 35 30 362 169
Leverkusen 307 88 43 39 306 206
Schalke 228 85 33 52 286 212
‘Gladbach 239 64 47 59 239 224
Mainz 239 65 44 61 229 230
Wolfsburg 233 65 38 67 269 285

As you can see in the table above, Mainz are only 6th due to a worse goals for/against record than Borussia Mönchengladbach and are ahead of big spending Wolfsburg and the traditionally large clubs such as Hamburg, Werder Bremen, and Stuttgart. In addition to this table, Mainz under Tuchel have never for even 1 day occupied any of the relegation spots, which Heidel felt was a remarkable feat for a small club like Mainz.

It is no wonder that when Tuchel tendered his resignation, the club was stunned. Heidel himself said that the manager is the most important part of the team, remarking that Tuchel especially was able to get the most out of what most would call an average team. It is also mentioned in the article that the club, provided Tuchel got them into Europe – which he did – was going to provide Tuchel with the resources necessary to get them into the group stage; an achievement that for a team like Mainz would prove to be, in a relative sense, quite lucrative. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite pan out that way.

In the same 11freunde piece, Heidel foreshadows Tuchel’s departure, saying that he wouldn’t be worried if the manager left. After all, Jürgen Klopp left as well and Mainz managed to pull through it, and even improving themselves in the process. Heidel did, however, have some cautionary words for Tuchel, cautioning his former managing that moving to a bigger club will bring the attention and pressure to succeed and that there will always be eyes upon him, especially internally, implying that at Mainz he could have nearly full autonomy to run the team as he liked.

It is still a mystery as to why Thomas Tuchel left the club. Perhaps, much like Pep Guardiola did with Bayern, Tuchel is spending a year away from football in order to land a prime job when one becomes available. Perhaps he felt that he’s done really all he can with Mainz and is seeking a new challenge for himself. Whatever the reason, fans of the Bundesliga can only hope that we’re graced with Herr Tuchel’s presence sometime soon.

R.I.P. Tito Vilanova
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old June 15th, 2015, 06:11
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And the other one:

Thomas Tuchel’s Modern Tactics

Over the last decade, the discussion of and debate over football tactics has suddenly become fashionable. From being something that you could only read about on one or two dedicated sites there are now a growing number of independent blogs and websites that offer a depth of analysis to help us all to understand the game as amateur coaches from our own homes. What though, is meant by football tactics?

The increased number of matches that are shown live on TV or even as part of a highlights package have convinced us that tactics purely mean numerical formations as these are depicted on our screens at the start of each game with the players placed on a grid in their expected position on the field.

Football though is far too dynamic for any pre-game computerised graphic to accurately show exactly how a team will play simply via a formation shot. A 3-5-2 can become 3-4-3 or even 5-4-1 in under a minute on the field as players react seemingly organically to the events on the pitch around them. What most fail to understand though is that these fluctuations in position and formation are for the most part pre-planned moves that have been worked on by coaches all week to the point that the players know exactly how they are to move and respond in order to counter any threat posed by their opponents.

There are a number of new managers appearing throughout Europe that coach with an emphasis on strategic planning, from Ronny Deila at Celtic to Thomas Tuchel who, up until the end of last season, was coaching at Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga. We’ll be taking a closer look at the strategic changes that Tuchel uses and in particular his use of the defensive block throughout a match.

The German manager is the perfect example of a young coach who is capable of planning a match strategy and ensuring that his team are aware of a series of alternatives that can be used in any game depending on the opposition. This strategic planning can see Tuchel have his side switch formations seamlessly several times during the course of a match; even within each formation there are certain strategic choices that stand out when analysing their style of play.

The most obvious and common is Tuchel’s use of the defensive block. It is common to see Mainz switch from a high block with pressure applied high up the pitch early in the game to a low block, allowing his players to rest out of possession and defend in a more compact, deep position.

The High Block

Here we can see Bayern Munich in possession of the ball midway inside their own half. The deepest of their three midfielders has the responsibility for building the attacks from deep and controlling the tempo of the game.

At the start of this match, Tuchel instructed his side to defend in a high block trying to disrupt the passing rhythm of Bayern. In this high block, the three most advanced players are given instructions to use their body shape and position to cover more than one of the Bayern players. This is a specific strategy that is evident throughout a number of Mainz matches as they seek to use a high block but also want to give themselves a numerical advantage in the central area at the same time.

As you can see, the Mainz side are positioned in such a way that the man in possession is given only two options to advance the play: he either plays a direct pass or tries to beat his opponent by dribbling. Either of these options is risky and gives Mainz a higher chance of winning back possession.

This is the second example from the same match against Bayern and this time the initial press in the high block has been bypassed by a direct pass to the wide area. It’s interesting to note how Mainz then adjust without moving out of the high block. The initial move to engage the ball is conducted by two players, one of whom has the dual responsibility from the first example. This time the advanced player drops in to support the defensive phase and cover space whilst the deeper player involved in the defensive movement looks to cover a pass or run directly up the line.

Again, all of these movements will be coached and prepared in advance of the game so that the players are familiar with the shifts in position and formation.

The Low Block

On this occasion, Bayern are in the second phase of an attack having moved the ball from a wide area to a deeper central position. This time, however, Mainz have switched to a low block and are content to sit in a compact shape. When this shift from high to low block initially occurs the opposition are caught of guard.

In this example, Bayern may have expected that by circulating possession to the deep position they could draw Mainz out and create space and angles to make the attack easier. Instead Mainz sit low in two distinct banks. The interesting variation to a normal low block is that there is a spare man or joker sitting between the two lines. This small positional shift gives the defensive block more flexibility and makes it harder for Bayern to play through the centre.

Once again, we can see that Mainz are using a slightly different positional set up to counter the threat posed by Die Roten. The most advanced player tries to shield the pass to Lahm in the centre of the pitch and the two wide attacking players have moved towards the centre of the pitch, with the two deeper midfielders holding a narrower position. In the low block, this creates a funnel that prevents Bayern from playing the ball into the central areas and forces them to attack down either flank.

Finally, this image is taken from a match with Bayer Leverkusen and shows the low block with two distinct banks of defenders. It’s worth noting the shape of the higher defensive line with one player occupying a deeper position. This player can quickly drop further and become the joker that we have seen earlier in this article and can move across to support other defensive players should the ball be played into their zone.

It’s easy to see why the low block allows your players to save energy as they are closely supported by teammates and the onus is very much on the attacking team to move and make something happen. At the same time, switching between the two distinct options keeps the opposition on the back foot as they are not sure which block or press they will be facing as they go to start each attack.

The need to play a more quick and direct style against a high block can lead to your opponent rushing the start of their attacking phase only to see that you are set out in a low block looking to soak up pressure and cut off the direct pass.

Thomas Tuchel resigned from Mainz at the end of last season following a prolonged period in which the relatively small club performed above their stature and expectations. He seems to have decided to take a year off from the game but when he returns to take another job, that club will have secured one of the most strategically astute coaches from the new generation of Europeans.

It will certainly be interesting to see how he applies the lessons learned during his time at Mainz to a bigger club with larger resources.

R.I.P. Tito Vilanova
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