Franck Ribery was an unused substitute in Bayern Munich’s 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, and he didn’t seem to be too pleased with Niko Kovac’s decision to leave him on the bench. Per a report by AZ, the Frenchmen left the Allianz Arena via taxi, before the match was even over. At around the 83rd minute mark, he exited the team’s bench, went down the tunnel, and proceeded to leave in a taxi for unbeknownst reasons.
Although it seems to have been a move out of frustration for not being involved in the match at all, Ribery insists that there was no bad blood between him and Niko Kovac, and that he had permission to leave early:
It didn’t have anything to do with the game. I’m not upset at all that I didn’t play. Everything was arranged with the coach.
Additionally, Bild are reporting that he left due to family reasons that were brought to his attention in the second half of the match, and they don’t really go into any further detail, respectfully.
Despite Ribery’s affirmation that everything was all cleared with Kovac before he left the bench, it still seems bizarre that he’d be allowed to leave before the match was even over. He’s shown his frustrations at being subbed off numerous times before, most recently during last week’s match vs. VfB Stuttgart, and he did look slightly peeved to be sitting on the bench yesterday. Regardless, hopefully everything is okay with Ribery’s family and nothing serious is wrong.
With Corentin Tolisso’s ACL tear, Kovac now has one less option in midfield, adding to Kingsley Coman’s extended injury absence. As it stands, Ribery, Arjen Robben, Serge Gnabry, James Rodriguez, and Thomas Muller are the only fit midfielders that can play as wingers; both Robben and Ribery are the more natural wingers, but Gnabry, James, and Muller can all play there too. With Bayern’s busy fixtures list coming up, Kovac will likely have to make some rotations, but with limited options on either wing, Ribery will probably see decent minutes.