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Flick had 'no other option' but to haul off substitute Sane for Bayern Munich against Leverkusen

00:58 GMT+3 20/12/2020
Leroy Sane/Hansi Flick Bayern Munich 2020-21
Robert Lewandowski scored twice as the reigning Bundesliga champions reclaimed their spot at the top of the table

Hansi Flick has revealed he was left with “no other option” than to take off Leroy Sane, 36 minutes after introducing him as a substitute during their 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Former Manchester City winger Sane, who is working his way back to full fitness, was brought on in the 32nd minute as a replacement for Kingsley Coman.

Bayern were trailing 1-0 at the time to a Patrik Schick goal, but drew level through Robert Lewandowski shortly before half-time.

Flick was not happy with his side’s efforts midway through the second half, and elected to bring on Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala. Corentin Tolisso gave way for Kimmich, and it was Sane who was hauled off for Musiala.

It was a decision that raised eyebrows, but Flick felt he was left with no other option based on the performances of his players on the pitch.

"When we make substitutions, we have to do it sensibly,” Flick said. "If you see the second half, Thomas Muller is indispensable, Serge Gnabry improved in the second half, that's why I substituted Leroy Sane. 

“We had to react like that because there was no other option."

Managers are judged on their decisions, and Flick’s paid off in the end as Lewandowski popped up deep into stoppage time to net the winner for Bayern - having been teed up by substitute Kimmich.

The win allowed Bayern to leapfrog Leverkusen and move to the top of the Bundesliga, two points ahead of their opponents and RB Leipzig.

For Sane, it is a setback he will need to pick himself up from. Last month, Flick called out the winger for his lack of quality against RB Salzburg in the Champions League.

"We are pleased with him, but it is important that when he starts a game, he gives a 100 per cent,” Flick said. “We are working on that.

“Like other players, he unnecessarily lost the ball a couple of times against Salzburg and in some instances, he didn't quite pursue one-on-ones. There are reasons for it, and we talked about that. He will try to do better next time.”

It would appear Flick did not see what he wanted from Sane on Saturday, but the winger now has a fortnight to set things right as Bayern are not in action again until they face Mainz on January 3.