Towards the closing stages of last season, Jerome Boateng cut a frustrated figure. It really looked has if his days left with Bayern Munich were numbered. Niko Kovac’s preference to start Niklas Süle and Mats Hummels together as his center-backs of choice in Bayern’s back line often resulted in Boateng having to sit on the bench, something he had seldom been used to in seasons past. Given his demeanor both on and off the pitch, combined with rumors linking him with a move away from Bayern, it was noticeable that Boateng’s attitude had taken a turn for the worse. He really looked like he wanted to leave.
Per a new report in Bild am Sonntag (via Bild+), Boateng wishes to apologize to Bayern fans for his negative attitude at the end of last season. The towering center-back is heading into the new season with a renewed sense of hope, helped in part by the departure of Mats Hummels to Borussia Dortmund and the fact that Lucas Hernandez is only just returning from a lengthy injury layover. With the work he’s put in during Bayern’s pre-season preparations, Boateng is confident he’s in top form ahead of the new campaign, and apologized for the attitude he put across to not only the fans, but also to his teammates last season:
I think I showed in the past weeks of the preseason that I’m doing everything to be in top form. I know that many people were critical of my behavior, as well as many fans. And I understand that. No mater how things go on now, I’d like to apologize for that regardless. It was not acceptable, but I really didn’t want to annoy or insult anyone. I acted only out of deep disappointment over my situation. I somehow couldn’t help myself.
A big season ahead for Boateng
Looking at the facts in chronological order, Boateng had been heavily linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2018, but a deal was never reached and he stayed at Bayern. Despite beginning the 2018/2019 campaign usually as a starter, Kovac later showed a preference for the center-back pairing of Hummels and Süle, causing Boateng to spend a lot of time on the bench. Boateng was again linked with a move away from Bayern in the winter transfer window, but again, nothing materialized.
During Bayern’s Bundesliga title celebrations in May, Boateng seemed isolated and disinterested in celebrating with the rest of his teammates, causing speculation of his future to intensify; it really looked as if he was definitely going to leave this summer. Club President Uli Hoeness even went as far as saying he “strongly advised” Boateng to leave the club during the summer transfer window.
The big question
- Will Boateng eventually be behind Süle, Hernandez, and Benjamin Pavard in the pecking order?
With Hernandez still making his way back from his ACL injury, it remains uncertain whether or not Kovac will decide to thrust him right into the starting lineup. He doesn’t have many minutes under his belt aside from coming on for the second half of Bayern’s 23-0 friendly win over FC Rottach-Egern. Pavard has the versatility to play as both a center back or a right back so he can slot in for Joshua Kimmich if and when Kovac ever decides to make rotations or play Kimmich as a defensive midfielder. Regardless, it’s more competition for Boateng and he’ll constantly be competing with Hernandez, Süle, and Pavard, given that they’re all fully fit and healthy.
Nonetheless, we hope Boateng has a strong season and helps Bayern win some more silverware!
Training camp day 1. final preps for the season start we aim high! pic.twitter.com/ZZc3b7xKvt— Jerome Boateng (@JB17Official) August 6, 2019