Bayern Munich held a public training today, but not all players were involved for various reasons. More than 300 people braved the blustery 29-degree Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius) weather to watch Niko Kovac’s training session, which was also broadcast on Facebook.
Per a recap of the session by FCBayern.com:
Niko Kovac had a total of 21 players at his disposal. Serge Gnabry worked individually in the performance center, as did recovering trio Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Corentin Tolisso, while James Rodriguez was also absent as he has been given an extra day off by Kovac.
A report from kicker, indicated that Robben eventually joined his teammates on the field for the last portion of training, which could be a good sign:
Robben first sat on the bike before the Dutchman entered the pitch at 12:34.
FCBayern.com later stated that the session was mainly focused on passing drills and varying “forms of play” on a smaller field setting. After the practice, Bayern’s players greeted the fans and signed autographs.
While the news on the individual training session for the injured players was expected, the day off for James Rodriguez was not — at least not publicly. Per Bild, James was “frustrated” about his place on the bench Friday and then was subsequently hit in the face with a ball during Saturday’s training for the reserves.
On Friday night, he had to sit down on the bench, pushing frustration. And on Saturday afternoon, he also had to bleed when he got hit in the face by a ball with full force during reserve training.
Given the contentious relationship between Bayern’s front office and some publications at this stage, it is hard to discern if there is merit to any frustration James may or may not have about not starting against Hoffenheim or if this is simply a case of Bild poking the bear (not Berni).
Perhaps Kovac just wanted to give the Colombian an extra day of rest given James is still probably working on his fitness coming off of the knee injury he sustained in the Hinrunde.
There is no reason to think the absence is related to any transfer rumors involving James at this stage.