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Tuchel’s job on the line as wounded Bayern Munich hosts Lazio in Champions League

BERLIN (AP) — A whole season is on the line for Bayern Munich against Lazio in the Champions League on Tuesday.

It will likely be Thomas Tuchel’s last game as Bayern coach unless his team can overturn a one-goal deficit after losing the first leg of the last-16 tie 1-0 in Rome on Feb. 14.

That was the second game in a three-game run of defeats that ultimately led Bayern to announce Tuchel will leave at the end of the season.

Already knocked out of the German Cup and 10 points behind unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, Bayern’s best hope of a trophy this season hinges on getting past Lazio to reach the Champions League quarterfinals.

If Bayern fails to make it, the club’s powerbrokers will see little reason to stick with Tuchel for the last 10 games of the season when keeping him in charge would arguably do more harm than good.

Tuchel’s frequent criticism of the players has sowed discontent in the team. New sporting director Max Eberl will want to finish the campaign as well as possible before a summer shakeup and next season’s bid to regain domestic dominance.

Few believe that Leverkusen – a team that has strung together a German record 34-game unbeaten run across all competitions – will collapse in the last 10 rounds of the Bundesliga. Xabi Alonso’s side has shown a mental strength and confidence that is lacking in the Bayern team.

Tuchel said Friday he had no explanation for Bayern’s poor start in its 2-2 draw at Freiburg on Friday – a result that allowed Leverkusen to increase its lead.

“I saw the effort in the first half, but it was really undisciplined in the positions. It was partly harikari. I think we had periods where our center back went behind the full back. We did things that we had never trained before, that we never talked about,” Tuchel said immediately after the game.

Tuchel later looked toward the Lazio game.

“We’ve had these ups and downs for a very long time. So it’s not out of the question that we’ll deliver a top performance on Tuesday. We’re going to need one over 90 minutes,” he said. “We will prepare the team for it and push ourselves there in a positive manner. And then we have to deliver.”

Lazio is also under pressure. The Italian team has lost three of its four Serie A matches since beating Bayern and had three players sent off in a heated end to Friday’s 1-0 home loss to AC Milan on Friday.


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