Jerome Boateng has not started in Bayern Munich’s last three league matches to start off 2019, as Niko Kovac has preferred the center-back pairing of Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle. The last match he played in was Bayern’s 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the final match of the hinrunde, in which he started and played the full 90 minutes. Since then, he’s only come on once for a one-minute cameo in the 3-1 win over Hoffenheim.
Following the Leverkusen match, Boateng spoke with German television outlet Nitro (via SportBild). The towering center back vented his frustration that he had not played in the match, although he said it is not the first difficult situation of his career:
I wasn’t in the starting lineup — that’s not up to my standards. Soccer is also not always fair, but you have to fight your way out. I’ve come out of very different situations stronger.
The busy week ahead for Bayern Munich, which will play in the DFB-Pokal at Hertha Berlin on Wednesday and in the league against Schalke on the weekend, could give Boateng an opportunity in the starting lineup alongside either Süle or Hummels, giving the other a rest.
If the first three matches of 2019 are any indicator of how Kovac currently views the defensive pecking order, however, Boateng has every right to be concerned. For large portions of the first half of the season, Boateng and Süle seemed to be the preferred pairing, while Hummels was the odd man out. But now it looks as if Boateng has fallen out of favor.
Boateng knows he must take full advantage of the next opportunity he receives to start, whether it’s against Berlin, Schalke, or someone else further down the road.
What does everyone think, should Boateng get a chance vs. Berlin and/or Schalke this week? Let us know in the comments section!