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Only Bayern Munich could steal their own thunder after winning a dramatic last-minute-of-the-last-day championship, moving the story on from the on-the-pitch heroics to a bloody boardroom coup in an instant.

Just seconds after the final whistle in Saturday’s decisive 2-1 away victory over Cologne, news broke that chief executive Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic had been dismissed by the club’s supervisory board. Jan-Christian Dreesen, the former finance director, will take over from Kahn.

“But we just won the title one minute ago!,” long-serving forward Thomas Muller cried out in disbelief when he was confronted by the news.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel had been told about the ruthless cull in advance but didn’t seem sure whether he was supposed to cheer the unexpected trophy (Borussia Dortmund went into the day top but could only draw with visitors Mainz) or feel sorry about the dismissal of the two people who hired him only eight weeks ago. Tuchel readily admitted that “this political issue inside the club casts a bit of a cloud over this extreme championship and the team’s willpower today.”

In purely emotional terms, it was easily the biggest domestic triumph in a decade of Bayern dominance and will be no doubt celebrated as such at Munich’s Motorworld event space on Saturday night and well into Sunday. Not too many players will feel perturbed by the firing of Kahn, who always kept his distance.

Salihamidzic was a more polarising figure, liked by some but not by all in the dressing room. The former Bayern midfielder, nicknamed Brazzo, spoke of his pride after winning a sixth championship in as many years in his job and graciously thanked chairman Herbert Hainer and honorary president Uli Hoeness — previously his biggest backer — for informing him about their intentions in a “good talk” on Friday.

“I respect the decision of the supervisory board,” he was quoted on the club’s website, “FC Bayern stands above everything else, and I wish our team and our fans cohesion and success.”

Tellingly, there were no quotes from Kahn, which suggests that the 53-year-old former Bayern and Germany goalkeeper didn’t take his dismissal nearly as well. He was a notable absentee in the Rhein Energie stadium VIP area and later tweeted that the club had “prevented” him from travelling to Cologne, explicitly contradicting a press briefing that he had been suffering from flu.

A bit later, he doubled-down by telling Sky Germany that Saturday was “the worst day of my life, not being allowed to celebrate with the boys”. A high-ranking club official insisted to The Athletic that Kahn had merely been “recommended” to stay behind. Either way, it was another communication disaster for Bayern, and a rather indecorous way to shunt a club icon out of the door.

That won’t be the end of it, either. Bosses in Munich are bracing themselves for Kahn going on the offensive in the coming days. He’s clearly hurting.

It’s not entirely clear why the supervisory board chose to preempt a meeting that had initially been planned for this coming Tuesday. Had they lost faith in their team’s ability to stage a late comeback and wanted to clear the decks for a new beginning after what would have been their first season without any silverware in 11 years? Fears of a leak might have played a role, too.

We’ll know more when Hainer and Dreesen answer reporters’ questions on Sunday morning.

They will no doubt point to a relatively poor season as the main reason for letting Kahn and Salihamidzic go but as the curious timing of the duo’s departure showed, the campaign’s denouement was more of an opportune moment than the real reason to make changes. Kahn’s leadership qualities and management style had been in question for a while.

But if he and Salihamdzic had managed to keep Hoeness on board, both might have yet survived. The 71-year-old still pulls the strings at Bayern from his Lake Tegernsee villa south of Munich and didn’t like the fact that decisions — such as selling striker Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona last summer — had increasingly been made without his input during Kahn’s short, three-year reign.

Dreesen, who had been edged out by Kahn in the autumn and has now usurped his place, is very much Hoeness’ man.

There’s also talk of previous chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge returning, this time as a member of the supervisory board — the body that needs to green-light any transfers above €25million (£21.7m; $26.8m). It all adds up to an almighty power grab by the ancient regime.

Tuchel is smart enough to have seen it coming. He had pointedly thanked Hoeness for entrusting him with the club after his appointment in late March.

Amid all the madness, it won’t be forgotten that Tuchel played a key role in this title win.

When Bayern needed to score a winner yesterday after Dejan Ljubicic’s 81st-minute equaliser, he had no qualms about substituting Germany international Leon Goretzka, who had only been sent on 14 minutes earlier. “It was a horror decision, I apologised to him,” Tuchel explained. “But in that moment, I couldn’t make any allowances.”

One of the players brought on as Goretzka and Noussair Mazraoui were withdrawn on 85 minutes, Jamal Musiala, duly scored a goal worthy of winning the championship, even if Bayern’s performance overall on the day wasn’t.

Asked whether he was ready for a long holiday after such a chaotic season, Tuchel shook his head. “This is not the moment to go away,” he said. “It’s about being around and taking responsibility now, having discussions. Especially after the decisions in relation to Kahn and Brazzo.”

There will, indeed, be plenty to talk about as the club will seek to avoid relying on another 88th-minute piece of Musiala magic on matchday 34 next year. And Tuchel will be at the heart of those strategic deliberations. In the absence of a new sporting director, who will be hired in due course, the former Dortmund, PSG and Chelsea coach will see his position vastly strengthened this summer.

The new board will be wary of more instability and will thus afford him more influence in the transfer market than any of his processors have enjoyed. Therefore, there’s a good chance that, on the pitch at least, things will look much more joined-up.

Dortmund certainly feel that way. One of the reasons they were so upset about their failure to take advantage of Bayern’s weakness this season is their reasonable expectation — if not to say fear — that with a proper pre-season and or two key additions, Tuchel will make the 11-time champions into a very different beast for 2023-24.

(Top photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)



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