After he was not named in Niko Kovac’s starting lineup for Bayern Munich’s eventual 2-1 loss to Hoffenhaim, Javi Martinez was seen sitting on Bayern’s bench in tears before warm-ups. He was seen being consoled by assistant manager Hansi Flick while he cut an incredibly frustrated and deflated figure in his warm-up jumper.
Given the poor result at home, Martinez will have been even more frustrated not to have even appeared as a sub. Kovac decided to bring on Thomas Müller and Ivan Perisic midway through the second half and failed to make a 3rd substitution as Bayern were pressing for an equalizer late in the match. The Spanish midfielder has yet to make a single start for Bayern this season and has made a total of just five appearances across competitions, all as a substitute at either halftime or in the second half. He has only played a total of 89 minutes in the Bundesliga so far this season.
Speaking after the loss to Hoffenheim, sporting director Hasan Salihamidiz commented on Martinez’s frustration and said that the decision not to have him in the starting lineup was likely for “sporting reasons.” At the same time, he understood the frustration from the Spaniard after being specifically asked in the mixed zone about the photos taken alongside Flick on Bayern’s bench pre-match (via AZ):
Yes, I think there were purely competitive reasons for that. I wouldn’t know what else it might be. Of course it’s frustrating for Javi that he’s not playing. But the coach has decided in favor of this formation and the players must accept that. We have many games and Javi will definitely get his chance.
Per Sport1, when Martinez was seen post-match in the mixed zone, he did not want to comment on his exclusion from the starting lineup, the bench photos with Flick, or the result. When Philippe Coutinho was asked about the trio of subjects, he said that he didn’t know Martinez was distraught and so had no comment.
Interestingly enough, to bring this full circle, in the pre-match press conference for the Hoffeneim match, Niko Kovac said it is his job to pick the best possible starting eleven for every given match. But that question was about Müller’s status in the squad, who has seen decreased minutes with Kovac’s preference to Coutinho. Both Martinez and Müller are players who should arguably be receiving more minutes and are both well within their right to be frustrated with how things have gone for them this season.