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Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann explains selecting Noussair Mazraoui over Benjamin Pavard against Mainz

What is going on with Benjamin Pavard?

FC Bayern München v 1. FSV Mainz 05 - Bundesliga Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

By all accounts — even from his haters — Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard has had a fantastic season in 2022/23.

However, head coach Julian Nagelsmann selected Noussair Mazraoui over the Frenchman once again in the Rekordmeister’s 6-2 win over Mainz 05. Nagelsmann insisted that it was no big deal and that there was some reasoning behind the move.

“I think the distribution of playing time is equal between them. Nous did well against Barcelona. He’s very calm on the ball against aggressive teams. We also want to have Benji an an option at center-back because Lucas (Hernandez) is out,” Nagelsmann said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

As Bayern Munich’s bad luck would have it, starting center-back Matthijs de Ligt left the match with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and Pavard was thrust into action in the central defense.

If you have a conspiracy theorist mind, however, you could wonder that maybe — and this is a big maybe — Pavard let the club know that he intends to move on after the season to pursue a career at center-back elsewhere.

That scenario seems doubtful at this stage, but it is a situation worth watching.

Interested in more analysis of the game? We talk about the tactical changes Julian Nagelsmann has made to make Bayern Munich so much more threatening in our postgame podcast. Listen to it below or on Spotify.

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