Premier League

Thomas Tuchel explains controversial Harry Kane substitution in Real Madrid defeat

Thomas Tuchel

Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed Harry Kane asked to be substituted after struggling with injury late in Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

With 84 minutes on the clock and Bayern leading 1-0 (3-2 on aggregate) at the time, Tuchel opted to withdraw both Kane and Jamal Musiala, leaving him without his two most influential forwards when Joselu’s late double subsequently forced Bayern to chase the game again.

Tuchel has faced intense criticism for his removal of Kane, with many blaming mismanagement for the defeat, but the boss has now revealed his striker was battling injury at the time of his substitution.

“Kane was having back problems,” Tuchel revealed. “It was no longer possible [for him to continue]. We started with a front four and all four had to go out with injury or cramp. The front four all said they had to go.

“It hurts. It’ll take a while to recover, but on the one hand it’s a loss where we left it all out on the pitch. Of course, it’s tough to accept. It’s part of reality. No regrets. But on the other, there were too many injuries, a few too many substitutions, too many cramps.”

Thomas Tuchel

Tuchel has blamed injury / Mateo Villalba/GettyImages

Bayern’s elimination from Europe means Kane will end his first season with the club without a single trophy, having seen his side fall short in both the DFB Pokal and DFL Supercup earlier this year, as well as being a distant second to Bayer Levekusen in the Bundesliga table.

Last month, the former Tottenham striker ruled out a move away from Bayern this summer, insisting he remains fully committed to the project despite the initial lack of team success.

Individually, Kane has enjoyed a sublime first year with Bayern. He has racked up 44 goals and 12 assists in just 45 games in all competitions, including a return of 36 strikes in 32 Bundesliga outings.

The Bundesliga single-season scoring record currently stands at the 41 netted by Robert Lewandowski during the 2020/21 season, meaning England’s captain needs more five goals from Bayern’s remaining two league games to tie that mark – and six to break it.

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