Bayern Munich needed just 24 minutes to show their teeth under Thomas Tuchel with a 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker on Saturday. BVB led the Bundesliga champions coming into the Allianz Arena clash but were spectacularly blown away in 11 first-half minutes which has given top spot straight back to the Bavarians.
Tuchel could not have wished for a more convincing start from Bayern on his watch as Thomas Muller scored twice on top of a Gregor Kobel own goal before the half-hour mark. However, it was not just the long-serving German star who impressed on a day when the cards were redealt after Julian Nagelsmann's departure and the likes of Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane also profited.
There are still some lingering defensive questions as evidenced by Dortmund's two late goals to cut the deficit, but Bayern's opening hour or so was pretty comprehensive.
Here are early impressions from the Tuchel era at Bayern:
Intriguingly, Tuchel opted against making major changes to the selection and systems and went for just two changes with trusted Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Coman coming into largely the same team that went down 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen before the international break. Much was made of the perceived breakdown in relationship between Nagelsmann and his locker room by the end of his tenure and this was the damning evidence yet that something was indeed broken. A focal point in attack with Choupo-Moting certainly helped as did having the width offered by Coman and Sane but Tuchel's changes for this one were hardly rocket science and it still paid off handsomely.
Muller rises to occasion
Of course, it helped Tuchel massively that Muller was in the mood from the get-go and his six-minute double helped to compound the misery for Dortmund of Kobel's rush of blood to the head for the opener. Ruthlessness in front of goal has always been one of Muller's strong suits and few embodied that collective taste for blood that the 33-year-old showed here as he grabbed his first goals since February. Tuchel learned how to use Angel Di Maria to great effect with Paris Saint-Germain and was able to depend upon Thiago Silva in both the French capital and later London with Chelsea. Muller could just be the next seasoned head who proves crucial to his ambitions.
Defensive worries remain
It was not all perfect for Tuchel on his maiden outing as Bayern boss. Late Emre Can and Donyell Malen goals enabled Dortmund to get closer to their hosts than most of the game had suggested. Questions remain over the likes of Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs De Ligt while Alphonso Davies is certainly at his best going forward. It will have given Tuchel plenty to consider and the fact that Joao Cancelo only got the final 11 minutes and that Jamal Musiala would normally start hints that changes will be coming in the first few games under the German tactician.
Immediate title impact
The ramifications of the result cannot be understated as Bayern have hit back in Tuchel's first game just when their Bundesliga dominance looked like it might be about to fade. Nagelsmann's side did not strike fear into their opponents in the same way that Hansi Flick's all-conquering Bayern did before them but Tuchel's first outing suggests that the Bavarians' fear factor could be on its way back. Suddenly, a one-point deficit has been turned into a two-point lead and DFB Pokal success as well as the UEFA Champions League certainly remains on the cards.
Ominous for City
That UCL matchup between City and Bayern favored Pep Guardiola's men up until Tuchel replaced Nagelsmann but now it does not seem so straightforward. With Erling Haaland struggling with injury and, the German tactician has the chance to potentially engineer City's European downfall once more -- as he did with Chelsea in the 2021 final in Porto. There is still work to be done before the opening leg, notably a cup and league doubleheader against SC Freiburg, but Tuchel's Bayern will be much harder to dispose of than Nagelsmann's based on this early evidence.