Several Bayern Munich players have come out after the fact and spoken of the unrest that plagued the majority of the squad under previous manager Carlo Ancelotti. Sitting down to speak with German outlet, Suddeutsche Zeiting (via ESPN), Jerome Boateng shed some more light on some of the details leading to Ancelotti's sacking.
In his last match in charge before getting the ax, Ancelotti strangely omitted the likes of Boateng, Mats Hummels, Arjen Robben, Kinglsey Coman, and Franck Ribery out of the starting lineup against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League without explanation. Ironically enough, it was that very quintet of players whom reports suggested were at the forefront of the efforts to persuade Bayern's front office to fire Ancelotti, though Hummels was quick to deny the makeshift mutiny. Bayern president Uli Hoeness was quoted as saying "[having] an enemy in your own ranks is a dangerous thing."
It's almost as if Ancelotti knew he was on his way out and fielding a weakened starting lineup against PSG was essentially him getting a last jab at the players who weren't happy with him. Boateng, like most of the players in the squad, was left baffled by the omissions:
It was really odd. Five of us were suddenly told in the team room — without any explanation — 90 minutes before the game that we weren't playing. You can say that the players in question were shocked.
A player who's been hampered with muscular injury problems over the past two seasons, Boateng also questioned the intensity of Ancelotti's training sessions, and he certainly wasn't the only player in the squad to do so. In the weeks before Ancelotti's sacking, Robben had reportedly come out and said that he thought his 11-year old son's training sessions were more intense than Bayern's under Ancelotti, and fitness coach Giovanni Mauri. Boateng had good reason to believe that the lack of intensity in the training sessions resulted in some of his persistent injury problems:
It can never be proven that one is linked to the other, but let's just say we trained differently [under Ancelotti] than how we were used to. As a player, you know whether you are 100 percent or not.
Having spent the majority of the 2016/2017 campaign on the sidelines through injury, Boateng insisted that he did not feel quite like himself, and that he struggled to get back on track:
These were dark days, in particular because, for many years, I had remained almost injury-free and then everything suddenly came all at once at full throttle. It was especially tough following my shoulder injury. I was able to play again after three months out, but it wasn't the same Boateng. I had the feeling I was in another body.
Boateng's energy and demeanor turned entirely positive when he was asked about Jupp Heynckes and how effective he's been since taking over as Bayern Munich manager for his fourth stint:
Heynckes is more than the coach with whom we won the treble with in 2013. We spoke on the telephone regularly following his departure. He's one of the few who got in touch when it was not going so well for me, for example during my time out with injuries. His dignified manner has played a huge role in our present success. Every player is considered part of the group, and he makes everyone feel important. That gives us players the feeling that we wish to give something back to this man.