Succeeding in the feat of leading his club for the first time in the final of the Champions League is not an all-risk insurance. Thomas Tuchel can attest to this. After having stumbled for a long time at the quarterfinals or the knockout stages, the German coach led Neymar and his partners to the C1 final this during the Final 8 in Lisbon (defeat against Bayern Munich). Four months later, this epic already seems far away and the disappointing results of Paris Saint-Germain have cost the ex-coach of Borussia Dortmund dearly, about to be made redundant in the capital. What could pass for a lack of recognition given the historic journey of PSG in the Champions League would almost resemble a small habit among other unhappy finalists of the Cup with big ears.
One in two chance of staying
Of the six teams that played their first final since the new C1 formula in 1992, three fired their coach in the days, weeks or months that followed. Bayer Leverkusen coach Klaus Toppmöller is the first “cursed”. In 2002, the German created a sensation by reaching the final against Real Madrid and Zinédine Zidane, author that evening of an anthology volley. Elected “coach of the year” in his country, he was fired nine months later, in February, with Bayer threatened with relegation.
In Chelsea, Avram Grant “jumps” three days after the final
Six years later, it’s Avram Grant’s turn to “jump”. In 2008, however, Chelsea finally saw its (financial) efforts pay off. The Blues advanced to the final but fell on penalties against Manchester United. Avram Grant, who replaced José Mourinho during the season, leaves the club three days after this cruel defeat …
Pochettino like Tuchel
Finally in the very recent past, Mauricio Pochettino, expected at PSG in place of Tuchel, also suffered the same fate as his predecessor. In November 2019, the Argentinian paid Tottenham’s poor start to the season a few weeks after a breathtaking journey in C1 and a final lost to Liverpool.
Deschamps and Wenger, strong in post
Three other coaches escaped this curse and held at least one season on their bench: Hector Cuper with Valence, finalist in 2000 (against Real), Didier Deschamps with Monaco in 2004 (against Porto) and Arsène Wenger with Arsenal in 2006 ( against Barça).
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