There’s no disguising the fact that it hasn’t been the most joyous campaign for Jerome Boateng at Bayern Munich this season. With Niko Kovac’s preference to the center-back pairing of Niklas Sule, combined with Boateng’s links to a move out of Munich, the towering defender has seemingly had one foot out the door for quite some time now.
In a report from Bild+, new details have emerged from the 2018-2019 season that help shed some light on why, exactly, Boateng and Kovac had such a falling out. Per the report, there were a series of events throughout the title-winning season that significantly rubbed Kovac the wrong way. It first cites Bayern’s away match at AEK Athens in the Champions League where Boateng reportedly warmed up lazily and was thus not selected for the starting lineup.
After the match, Boateng apparently confronted Kovac about it with Hasan Salihamidzic present and said (to Kovac): “You don’t have anything to say to me; you wanted to get rid of me in the summer.” Boateng was linked with a move away to Paris Saint-Germain last summer, but ironically enough, it was Kovac who ultimately vetoed selling him in last summer’s transfer window as well as last winters.
The Bild article also references Bayern’s 3-2 extra time win over Hertha Berlin in February in the DFB-Pokal. They report that Kovac was unhappy with how slow Boateng was taking to get ready. Specifically, he took to long to but his boots on when the squad was getting ready to go through their warm-up paces. While it may look a bit ludicrous on the surface to not play him for putting on his boots too slowly, this isn’t too surprising from Kovac, who also made his substitutes do wind sprints in training after the 1-1 draw at FC Nürnberg as punishment for not warming up properly. It could be a matter of Boateng taking Kovac’s “no bull$?!+” policy too personally, or there could be a lot more to it, but it seems as if it was always stacking up against Boateng throughout the course of the season.
Uli Hoeness has already strongly recommended to Boateng that he leave the club this summer, so at this point it seems inevitable that he will move on. Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez joining the squad also doesn’t make his case for staying any better. When Boateng was seen isolated from the rest of the team during the title celebrations, it was quite obvious that he feels he needs to move on.
All in all, Boateng made a total of 28 appearances across all competitions during the 2018/2019 season, which is certainly less than he would’ve liked. Bayern have put a price tag of about €15m for him, so it’s more than likely that they’ll find a club who will pay that price to acquire his services — hopefully somewhere where he can get consistent minutes and finish his career on a high note.