Bayern Munich’s season opener was a decisive 3-1 win against a strong opponent and their wily coach, but the positive feelings were spoiled by a serious injury to Kingsley Coman. The 22-year-old winger missed the crucial second half of last season and France’s successful World Cup bid on account of the same injury.
Reactions to the game were accordingly mixed (from AZ). Niko Kovac was content with the game, but acknowledged that the a controversial penalty awarded to Bayern Munich was potentially incorrect. “I don’t view it so crystal-clear. I wouldn’t have given it,” Kovac said.
One of the major post-match themes was Kovac’s decision to bench Arjen Robben and Mats Hummels for the season opener. Kovac acknowledged that the pair were not happy to sit on the bench but was unapologetic about his intentions to rotate players regularly.
The two of them started already in the Supercup and in the Pokal. Of course I have to rotate. Today it was their turn; next time it will be other players’ turn.
Bayern’s captain, Manuel Neuer justified the call, essentially suggesting that it could have been worse:
You just have to take a glance at our squad list; some players weren’t ever there. But we’re all FC Bayern players and know that we have a long season ahead of us. Some things will undoubtedly change. The very players that were subbed on today also helped decide the game.
The biggest subject was, of course, Coman. Right-back Joshua Kimmich admitted he was moved to tears by the sight of Coman lying on the pitch.
It’s extremely painful for us, for him of course even more so. He just came back from an injury that cost him the World Cup. Especially now, to have to be subbed off right on the first matchday after such an outstanding performance is incredibly bitter. I was also a bit shocked and almost had tears in my eyes when I saw him lying there. The way he reacted, I fear, we won’t see him back so quickly.
Although he was visibly irate on the bench when the foul occurred, Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said he did not believe it was intentional. The offending player, Nico Schulz, likewise explained himself to ARD (via Kicker) immediately after the game:
At that moment I thought he [Coman] was about to cross. I tried to stop the cross, he cut inside, and then I slid into him. Of course I feel bad for him; I hope he doesn’t have anything serious. On my part it was definitely not intentional.
We wish Kingsley Coman a speedy recovery.