Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti dismissed Arjen Robben’s sideline spat as just something “from the media” after the Dutchman was substituted in the Bundesliga leaders’ 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim.
Bayern were denied a sixth straight win on Saturday by third-placed Hoffenheim, who preserved their unbeaten record this season under coach Julian Nagelsmann, 29, the youngest in Bundesliga history.
The visitors took the lead when Hoffenheim’s Kerem Demirbay beautifully timed his arrival in the box to smash Nadiem Amiri’s pass into the top-left corner on 16 minutes.
The lead did not last and when Douglas Costa fired in a cross, Hoffenheim midfielder Steven Zuber deflected the ball between his own goalkeeper’s legs for an own goal on 34 minutes.
Robben was replaced by French winger Kingsley Coman on 78 minutes and the Dutch winger stormed past Ancelotti when he was taken off, without making eye contact.
The 32-year-old is renowned for sulking when substituted and Ancelotti said there was nothing to be read from Robben’s body language.
“He played really well for 70 minutes and then I used a fresh player,” explained Ancelotti.
“Every time that I substitute Arjen Robben, a lot of people seem to think that there is a problem, but there isn’t one — at most, it’s from the media.”
Bayern were unlucky to finish with a draw after both Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller hit the woodwork in the last five minutes.
Mueller has scored four goals in his last three games for Germany, but curiously he has yet to score in any of his ten German league games this season.
“The dirt is sticking to my boots a bit,” he joked when asked about his near-miss which clattered the crossbar.
Hoffenheim have so far claimed the scalps of Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke and Hertha Berlin in Germany’s top flight and Ancelotti admitted his side were given a first-half fright.
“We knew before the game that Hoffenheim are a good team, but we were still given a surprise in the first-half,” said the Italian.
“We played well after that and had our chances to score.
“At end of the day, we deserved to win, but football’s sometimes like that.”
Nagelsmann, who took over in February and kept his side up last season, has turned Hoffenheim into title contenders and is happy to go into the international break unbeaten.
“We have made good progress and now we have the chance to get a bit of energy back,” said Nagelsmann, whose side next face Hamburg and Borussia Moenchengladbach, who are both struggling for form.
But goal-scorer Demirbay, who was signed from second-division Fortuna Duesseldorf in the off-season, said the draw was deserved.
“We proved that we can play football against one of the best teams in Europe,” said the midfielder.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Vitinha joins PSG in club’s first off-season signing
- Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media
- ESPN reveals Women’s Euro 2022 commentators and analysts
- Barcelona sell 10% of Liga TV rights to US fund
- How Antonio Conte revitalized Spurs into an elite side
- Morata to return to Atletico as loan at Juventus ends
- Tottenham closing on deal for Everton’s Richarlison – reports
- England’s White eyes Euro glory to cap glorious career
- With royal backing and a Snoop Dogg rap, Malaysia minnows challenge best in Asia
- LAFC ‘perfect for me’ — Chiellini