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Niko Kovac: James Rodriguez and Leon Goretzka were dropped for “tactical” reasons

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This probably isn’t helping the team’s efforts to keep the Colombian.

27 October 2018, Rhineland-Palatinate, Mainz: 27 October 2018, Germany, Mainz: Soccer: Bundesliga, FSV Mainz 05 - FC Bayern Munich, 9th matchday. Munich's James Rodriguez is sitting on the bench. Photo by Torsten Silz/picture alliance via Getty Images

In his press conference ahead of the game against Werder Bremen on Wednesday, Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac admitted that James Rodriguez and Leon Goretzka were dropped from the lineup for tactical reasons. This confirms that James’ absence against Borussia Dortmund was not due to injury as first thought.

Here’s what the coach had to say:

Leon has developed wonderfully. He’s made very many goals, played fantastically. We took him and James out against Dortmund on account of a tactical decision. This decision produced a 5-0. Why should I change something?

It’s not simple for them. Neither for me. That’s the quality of FC Bayern. The fact that a good player doesn’t play because (another) good player is playing is normal here.

Kovac isn’t wrong — at a club like Bayern, anyone can find himself on the bench, even players like Leon Goretzka and James Rodriguez. However, while Goretzka will likely stay at Bayern for a long time and will enjoy many opportunities to claw his way back into the lineup, time is running out for James to convince his coach. His loan deal ends this season, and it seems unlikely that either the Colombian or Bayern will be interested in extending it at this time.

For the present, it is unlikely that we’ll see either player start against Werder Bremen in Bayern’s semifinal Pokal match.