Jérôme Boateng, who has had a substandard season with the Bundesliga giants, is struggling to find a spot in Niko Kovač’s starting XI. Bayern Munich played their first Bundesliga game of the Rückrunde against Hoffenheim on Friday, in which Kovač chose Mats Hummels over Boateng to play alongside Niklas Süle.
Despite reportedly feeling fit and prepared for the game, Boateng played only through stoppage time, as Kovač waited until the final minute of the second half to substitute him on for Javi Martinez. Boateng was evidently so dismayed about his benching that he immediately disappeared into the catacombs and out of the stadium quickly after the match.
Kovac was asked to explain his decision to bench Boateng after the match (Kicker). He responded, “Mats was just a tiny bit better — we’re talking about a micron.” According to Kovac, “[Boateng] accepted this situation professionally. Jerome is an absolute professional; I have a great relationship with him. I trust him, he trusts me.” But for the starting lineup, “We go by performance,” Kovac concluded.
Boateng shared the bench with two other aspiring starters: Serge Gnabry and James Rodriguez, both of whom received playing time in the second half. Sandro Wagner, who was Hoffenheim’s striker before his transfer to Bayern, did not even make the bench.
Kicker ruled out an imminent transfer for Boateng, since Bayern have no seasoned depth beyond Süle, Hummels, and Boateng at center-back. The summer transfer window, of course, may be a different story.