In German outlet Sport1’s latest report, Florian Plettenberg has shed light on the curious case of Bayern Munich’s marquee man, Lucas Hernandez.
In his debut season, Hernandez struggled to make a breakthrough due to injuries. Although he has regained fitness this season, the Frenchman is yet to nail down a regular place in coach Hansi Flick’s starting-XI. Per fbref, the 24-year-old has been on the field for merely 58% of the total playing time of his team, despite missing out on only one game due to thigh problems.
As the report points out, Hernandez has been mostly used in rotation with or as a backup to defensive-duo Alphonso Davies and David Alaba.
14th matchday, Mainz 05 (5:2): Unused substitute.
15th matchday, Borussia Mönchengladbach (2:3): Unused substitute.
Second round of the cup, Holstein Kiel (7:8 nE): 120 minutes as central defender.
16th matchday, SC Freiburg (2:1): Unused substitute.
17th matchday, FC Augsburg (1:0): 90 minutes, left-back.
18th matchday, Schalke 04 (4:0): Benched, 22 minutes at left-back.
Bayern’s #21 was awarded “Meister of the Match” for his performance against Augsburg, but found himself on the bench in the next match against Schalke.
So, why does Flick remain reluctant to play Hernandez?
Per the report, the constant benching of Hernandez has been purely due to sporting reasons.
At left-back, fully-fit Alphonso Davies is climbing back to his previous self with game-time and confidence. With his speed, offensive prowess as well as defensive awareness, the 20-year-old provides exactly what the coach demands in his system.
As for center-back, David Alaba will continue to operate as Bayern’s commander-in-defense. Irrespective of his imminent departure, the Austrian’s skill-set remains indispensable to the team’s current style of play.
While Flick is highly impressed with the strong mentality of Hernandez. The France international’s deficits, however, are currently holding him back from securing a permanent place in the starting lineup. The ex-Atletico Madrid has displayed noticeable weaknesses in the buildup game and remains inconsistent in his performances.
However, Bayern Munich management expects Hernandez to be played on a frequent basis, in particular due to his €80 million price tag. Flick, on the other hand, doesn’t take superficial characteristics like transfer fees or star stature into account, and rightly so. The treble-winning coach factors in necessary sporting qualities while making his selections, and knows that in failing to do so, the team harmony might suffer.
The report also reveals an interesting figure. With Javi Martinez, Corentin Tolisso and Alaba unlikely to stay beyond this season, sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić has been allocated a €50 to €80 million transfer budget for the upcoming summer.
Faced with prospect of losing three of his most-trusted soldiers (i.e. Thiago, Boateng and Alaba), Flick will also be closely monitoring the 2021/2022 transfer situation at Bayern.