Thomas Tuchel has made a near-flawless start to his reign as Chelsea head coach; winning 10 of his first 14 games in charge, avoiding defeat and conceding just two goals.
The German, who has guided them into the Champions League quarter-finals and FA Cup semi-finals, has already justified Roman Abramovich’s unpopular decision to part company with predecessor Frank Lampard back in January.
Nevertheless, while he is producing impressive results on the pitch right now, there is a more abrasive and contentious side to Tuchel that the Blues are yet to witness.
We’ve taken a look at some of his most controversial moments over the years from time spent at Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and Paris St-Germain.
After a one-year stint with FC Augsburg’s reserve team, Tuchel took on his first major managerial post at the age of 36 with Mainz, replacing Jurgen Klopp in the hot-seat following his move to Borussia Dortmund in 2009.
His time at the club was an indisputable success, implementing a high-paced, attacking style of football and taking one of the smallest and poorest top-flight sides into the Europa League twice.
During his five-year spell, only the big four clubs – Bayern Munich, Schalke, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen – amassed more Bundesliga points.
Yet, Tuchel’s first job ended on a slightly sour note when, after seeing his request for a larger transfer budget fall on deaf ears, he asked to be released from his contract at the Opel Arena.
Mainz initially refused, only to eventually sanction his departure on 11 May 2014. Though while he stepped down from his position as head coach, Tuchel was forced to honour the remaining year of his contract, meaning he could not join another side until its expiry.
Accidental text to Dortmund chief
Tuchel’s departure from Mainz was a complicated affair, but he endured a much more fractured relationship with the hierarchy of his next club, Borussia Dortmund.
Replacing Klopp for a second time in 2015, the young coach got off to a flyer in his debut season, coming closer than anyone to breaking Pep Guardiola’s Bundesliga dominance with Bayern Munich.
However, after being left incensed by their failure to keep hold of Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan the following summer, things took an ugly turn for Tuchel at Dortmund when he accidentally sent an angry text message to sporting director Michael Zorc instead of his agent Oliver Meinking.
According to Jan-Henrik Gruszecki, an ex-ultra who now works as a consultant for Dortmund, his astonishing blunder marked the beginning of the end for him at Signal Iduna Park.
“Their relationship was over,” Gruszecki told Le Parisien. “No one at the club wanted to work with him anymore.”
Tuchel is also understood to have fallen out with Dortmund’s chief scout Sven Mislintat, banning him from the training ground as his feud with club officials and staff spiralled out of control.
Despite winning the DFB-Pokal, their first trophy in five years, he was sacked at the end of his second season.
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One year after his Dortmund sacking, Tuchel was back in the dugout with French giants Paris St-Germain.
For the majority of his debut campaign he avoided bust-ups with players, staff and club chiefs, with only a shock defeat against Manchester United in the Champions League last-16 casting a dark cloud over his Ligue 1 title triumph.
He retained the title in his second campaign and reached the Champions League final, where they suffered an agonising 1-0 defeat against Bayern Munich, yet a number of strained relationships were beginning to develop.
One of the most eye-opening was his dispute with star man Kylian Mbappe on the touchline during their 5-0 win over Montpellier in February 2020.
When he was substituted just a few minutes after scoring PSG’s fourth goal on the night, Mbappe didn’t take his manager’s decision all that well, venting his fury at Tuchel, who desperately tried to console him, before eventually strutting away and taking his seat on the bench.
The PSG boss said afterwards: “I am not angry, just sad as it was unnecessary.”
Despite that successful second season at the Parc des Princes, Tuchel was fired by PSG just three months into his third.
His sacking, which came just a day after their 4-0 win over Strasbourg and four months after their Champions League final appearance, surprised many in the game, but a de-ja-vu fallout with sporting director Leonardo rendered his position untenable.
The pair clashed a month before Tuchel’s departure, with the latter hitting out at his decision to let “too many players” leave on free transfers.
A day later Leonardo said: “I didn’t like his comments, the club didn’t like them either.
“If someone is not happy, it is easy – we can talk. But if you decide to stay, you have to respect the people above you.”
Reports suggest Tuchel was also left unhappy with Leonardo’s interference with team selection and training methods at PSG, which also led to his dismissal on Christmas Eve last year.
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