Newly-appointed Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel said on Saturday he was “dumbstruck” at being offered the position after replacing the sacked Julian Nagelsmann.
Tuchel, 49, has been appointed on a contract that runs until 2025 after Nagelsmann was dismissed in just his second season in charge of Bayern.
Nagelsmann lost his job with the six-time European champions on Friday with the club second in the Bundesliga, but he had guided them through to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Tuchel was fired by Chelsea in September despite leading the club to the Champions League title in 2021, and spoke to Bayern bosses late on Tuesday.
“Believe me or not, I was a bit dumbstruck in the first 30 seconds of our first discussion,” Tuchel told reporters.
“I didn’t know what we were talking about. It became clear that it was for right now.
“I was completely surprised. The timing was surprising. There was no contact beforehand,” the former Paris Saint-Germain boss added.
Tuchel has a reputation for occasional abrasiveness and demands total backing from his employers – a requirement which strained relations at both Chelsea and PSG.
Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic defended the move to get rid of 35-year-old Nagelsmann and denied the decision to hire Tuchel was done in panic.
“The situation between the coach and the team no longer worked,” Salihamidzic said.
“We came to the conclusion that we needed a coach like this, who has gained a lot of experience, also abroad.
“On Tuesday evening we met and had a very good conversation. He was very excited from the first second,” the former Bayern player added.
Tuchel inherits a side including Senegal forward Sadio Mane, Germany’s Joshua Kimmich as well as Canada international Alphonso Davies.
“The squad is one of the most talented and best squads in Europe,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to working with this squad. You’re a contender for every trophy with these players.”
“The club’s DNA involves a commitment. Bayern is about winning, also about the way of winning,” added Tuchel.
Bayern are still in the hunt for three trophies this season and midfielder Kimmich said the decision to part ways with Nagelsmann was a “disappointment”.
“It’s always disappointing when a coach is sacked, because it means we have not delivered as players,” Kimmich said after playing in Germany’s 2-0 win over Peru in a friendly on Saturday.
“It’s a curious situation, but that’s the football business at the end of the day. There is not much heart, not much love.”
Kimmich also admitted that he had no relationship with Tuchel as of yet.
“I don’t know him yet,” he told ZDF.
Bayern visit Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on April 11. That game comes a week after they host Freiburg in the last eight of the German Cup.
Tuchel’s first match will come as soon as April 1 after the international break.
Bayern will meet league leaders Borussia Dortmund, the club that Tuchel coached from 2015-2017.
“It’s the (big) match in German football,” he said. “It has another level of importance.”