German has two different ways to realise ch phonetically:
One way (let's call this the hard realisation) like in Kuchen, lachen and kochen is similar to the Spanish J. I have learned that this pronounciation takes place whenever the ch is proceeded by one of the vowels o, a or u. (according to what Andrew website says here.)
The other way (let's call this the soft realisation) like in lächeln, frech, sicher, Küche, köcheln, räuchern, euch, takes place when the ch occurs in the middle syllable or at the end of a word when it is proceeded by one of the vowels/diphthongs ö, ä, ü, i, e, eu, äu, oi. This realisation is similar (but different) to the english realisation of sh.
To my eye, durch and manchmal seem to be exceptions from these rules: There, the ch is proceeded by one of the vowels listed in the rule for the "hard" realisation of ch (a or u in these cases), but still the realisation of ch is "soft". Why does the ch pronunciation rule not occur for words such as durch and manchmal? Are the words durch, manchmal and manche that have the "soft" realisation of ch, exceptions from this rule? Is there any other exception for that?