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Rafinha lashes out at Niko Kovac: “The coach is not being respectful to me”

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The backup right-back told Bild that he cannot fathom why Kovac will not give him playing time, although he will have to replace Joshua Kimmich in the second leg of the Champions League tie against Liverpool.

AUGSBURG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 15: Rafinha of Bayern Muenchen looks on prior to the Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and FC Bayern Muenchen at WWK-Arena on February 15, 2019 in Augsburg, Germany.
Rafinha not in the best of spirits prior to Bayern’s game against Augsburg, February 15, 2019.
Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s dedicated backup right-back Rafinha gave voice to his frustration after sitting out yet another Bundesliga match without playing. Bayern beat Hertha 1:0 at home, but Rafinha was not involved, despite the fact that the player he would most likely replace, Joshua Kimmich, was on a yellow card and head coach Niko Kovac had promised to get the defender playing time to prepare him for Bayern’s eventual clash with Liverpool, when Kimmich will serve a yellow-card suspension.

In comments after the game to Bild, Rafinha declared,

Recently the coach is not being respectful to me. I bring my performance in training. It’s hard for me to motivate myself. I train well, but I don’t play any part [in matches].

Bild asked whether Rafinha felt that Kovac was being unfair to him:

Yes, I think so. No idea why. I always give 100 percent. I bring my performances, but he doesn’t rely on me. I don’t know what he thinks. With Heynckes, Ancelotti, Guardiola, I played.

Maybe Ancelotti, Heynckes, and Guardiola have no clue about soccer, because I always played for them. With Niko, I played in the Hinrunde; now I’m not playing anymore. I don’t know what’s up. I’m really disappointed.

Rafinha finds himself wondering whether Kovac has written him off because it was announced that he is playing his final season with Bayern:

I have no idea what the reason is. The coach knows that I’m leaving at the end of the season. Maybe that’s the reason.

The last significant playing time Rafinha saw was in Bayern’s 3:1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen on February 2. Since then, he has sat out three Bundesliga matches, including today’s, and a Pokal game (also against Berlin). He played a single minute of the away leg against Liverpool, coming on as a time-wasting late substitution in stoppage time. He added,

I’m sad because I haven’t been allowed to play in the fourth consecutive game. I’m a good player, but I’m not allowed to show it. When you don’t get any minutes, it’ll be hard to be there then [in the second leg vs Liverpool]. I hope that I get some minutes in the next two weeks. I simply want to play. If I was happy with my situation, something would be off...

Bild followed up immediately with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. He commented,

I understand that he’s dissatisfied. Games will come again also for him. In this phase, you have to grit through it and train well.

Brazzo added, “I’m always in my office and open to discuss anytime.”