In the 77th minute of Bayern Munich’s 3-1 win at Mainz over the weekend, Thomas Tuchel made the decision to replace Leroy Sané with Mathys Tel and Jamal Musiala with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
At the time, it was already 3-1 to Bayern, but Mainz was throwing bodies forward to try to get back into the game, so Tuchel wanted to bring some different looks to Bayern’s attack to try to keep the home side honest for the remainder of proceedings.
When Sané’s number was held up on the substitute’s board, he looked visibly frustrated and was not happy at all to be coming off. It is not the first time he has expressed his frustration at being taken off and he has quite arguably been one of Bayern’s best players so far this season, so it is not often that his performance merits being taken off, unless he is just being given a bit of a rest.
After that match, Tuchel explained his rationale for making the double switch in the 77th minute and said that he did not mind Sané not being happy to be taken off. Tuchel just wanted to tactically change things up front for Bayern at the time.
“He’s never satisfied with being taken off. But he was not angry, he just always wants to play until the end. He always wants to score and assist — and I really don’t like taking him off. We chose Mathys Tel and Choupo and we wanted height and physicality in set pieces because we knew Mainz were dangerous there,” Tuchel explained (via @iMiaSanMia).
To Tuchel’s credit, he also probably had one eye on the midweek Galatasaray clash in the Champions League and wanted to give his number 10 a little bit of a rest ahead of a clash in a difficult place to play. The atmosphere at RAMS Park can get quite raucous and the home fans can be hostile towards the opposition, so it is at much mentally draining as it is physical. While Tuchel did not come out and say that was part of his thought process for making the changes when he did, it was certainly on the back of his mind.