It has taken a while, but former Atlético Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez might be close to 100% for Bayern Munich. After months of waiting, the Bavarian club’s most expensive acquisition to date is really getting a chance to show his talent.
Hernandez finally was healthy enough to make a start on Saturday and was a major contributor in Bayern Munich’s 3-0 victory over Schalke 04. After the game, Hernandez spoke to Bundesliga.com and was a bit relieved to get back on the pitch and contributing to the squad:
I’m very happy. After five months of injury, I really felt like playing this game. Now my chance came and I tried to make the most of it, I played for almost 80 minutes and I’m very happy. I had to work hard, but to play again after such a long time is the best thing that could happen to me.
It was a bit of a fluke that Hernandez was even in the starting lineup, though. Originally, Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac had Thiago Alcantara penciled in to start with Hernandez as a bench option. When Thiago was unable to play due to injury, Kovac called an audible and shifted Joshua Kimmich up to the defensive midfield, Benjamin Pavard out to right-back, and Hernandez into the starting lineup.
He [Thiago] couldn’t play, so the coach decided that I would take his place in the starting line-up. I tried to do my best to let everyone know they could count on me when I was on the pitch.
Hernandez teamed with Niklas Sule on Saturday against Die Königsblauen to form a very stable and athletic set of central defenders. On the day, Hernandez completed 74 of his 78 attempted passes, won nine tackles and was two-for-two in aerial battles.
Clearly, there was not much rust showing on the 23-year-old.