Germany’s leading football publication, kicker have voted Thomas Tuchel their Coach of the Year, recognizing him for the stellar work at Chelsea that included a top-four finish, two finals appearances, and the Champions League trophy. This seems to be a fairly prestigious award, first given out in 2002, even if the candidates appear to be restricted to German coaches or coaches working Germany.
Bayern Munich head coach and incoming Germany national team manager, Hansi Flick finished second while Borussia Dortmund interim boss Edin Terzić finished third. But for Tuchel, the award would’ve been just as deserving for those finishing fourth (Mainz’s Bo Svensson, a rising star in the coaching game) and sixth (long-time Freiburg boss Christian Streich). These things are largely popularity and reputation contests after all.
“I accept the award very gratefully — as a great award for the entire team, because I see myself as a team player. Therefore, the personal award is a bit uncomfortable for me. Who wants to decide what the greatest coaching performance is?
“Maybe Christian Streich or Bo Svensson deserves the award. Maybe you could give it to Freiburg every year. Maybe you would have to give it to [second division] Heidenheim because the work is outstanding there. And the coach alone is not enough to win the Champions League.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: kicker via Google Translate
The coach alone may not be enough, but the coach alone can make the ultimate difference, and that’s precisely what Tuchel did last season at Chelsea.
Now, the challenge begins anew.