Bayern Munich will play Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday, and the fitness of midfielder Joshua Kimmich is a worry.
On Friday night, the German champions played an exciting 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen as a tuneup for their European matchup.
After taking a 2-1 lead on the strength of goals from Harry Kane and Leon Goretzka, it seemed like they would go on to win by a comfortable margin.
However, Exequiel Palacios scored in stoppage time to tie the game from the penalty spot and prevent Bayern from extending their winning streak to four games. Kimmich was taken out of the game around the hour mark and replaced by Noussair Mazraoui, therefore, he was unable to see it through to the end.
Tuchel explains Kimmich replacement
Before the clash, it was unclear whether Kimmich would play because of a knock he sustained while on international duty. Thomas Tuchel said after the tie that he was concerned about the midfielder’s fitness and decided to bench him.
Despite Kimmich’s apparent annoyance, the German coach explained that the replacement was predetermined and based on the advice of the medical staff.
“Joshua had an inflamed tendon and we didn’t want to take any risks with him. The medical team clearly said he could only play 60 minutes and that’s why we brought him off in the 60th minute,” he told the media.
Player has different story
Interestingly enough, while Tuchel claims that the decision was already agreed, Kimmich did not take the news well on the pitch. The German international player certainly didn’t react kindly to the gesture as he walked off the field at Allianz Arena.
Thomas Tuchel, himself, sought to strike up a conversation with the player in his technical area but was ultimately unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, when questioned whether he was taken out of the game due to injury, the 28-year-old grinned and answered, “Ask the coach,” making things even more unclear.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Ulrich Hufnagel