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Robert Lewandowski scored twice for the reigning Bundesliga champions to regain their place at the top of the table.
Hansi Flick has revealed that he was “left with no choice” but to eliminate Leroy Sane, 36 minutes after introducing him as a substitute during the 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Former Manchester City winger Sane, who is working to get back in top form, was hired in the 32nd minute as a replacement for Kingsley Coman.
Bayern were trailing 1-0 at the time with a goal from Patrik Schick, but drew through Robert Lewandowski shortly before the break.
Flick was unhappy with his team’s efforts midway through the second half and chose to bring in Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala. Corentin Tolisso gave way to Kimmich, and it was Sane who was transferred to Musiala.
It was a surprising decision, but Flick felt he had no other option based on his players’ performances on the field.
“When we make changes, we have to do it sensibly,” Flick said. “If you watch the second half, Thomas Muller is indispensable, Serge Gnabry improved in the second half, that’s why I replaced Leroy Sane.
“We had to react like this because there was no other option.”
Managers are judged on their decisions, and those of Flick paid off in the end when Lewandowski appeared in injury time to score the winner for Bayern, after being attacked by substitute Kimmich.
The victory allowed Bayern to overtake Leverkusen and move to the top of the Bundesliga, two points ahead of their opponents and RB Leipzig.
For Sane, it is a setback from which he will have to recover. Flick criticized the winger last month for his lack of quality against RB Salzburg in the Champions League.
“We’re happy with him, but it’s important that when he starts a game, he gives 100 percent,” Flick said. “We are working on that.
“Like other players, he unnecessarily fumbled the ball a couple of times against Salzburg and, in some cases, he didn’t go head-to-head. There are reasons for this and we talk about it. He will try to do better next time. “
It seems Flick didn’t see what he wanted from Sane on Saturday, but the winger now has a fortnight to sort things out as Bayern won’t be back in action until they take on Mainz on January 3.