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DFB Pokal: Tuchel defends Bayern Munich after shock exit

Thomas Tuchel insists Bayern Munich were not "arrogant" after his side were dumped out of the DFB Pokal in the second round by third division Saarbrucken.

After Patrick Sontheimer had cancelled out Thomas Muller's early strike at a wet Ludwigsparkstadion on Wednesday evening, it looked like the contest would be heading into extra-time as the clocked ticked into the sixth minute of added time.

However, 34-year-old left-back Marcel Gaus had other ideas and he finished off a quick break to give the hosts a famous victory, securing their place in the last-16 stage of the competition.

Take nothing away from Saarbrucken's performance, they competed throughout the contest and after riding their luck on a few occasions, managed to make the most of the chances that came their way. But this is a chastening defeat for Bayern and one that dents their confidence ahead of Der Klassiker this weekend.

Early exit not such a surprise

While seeing the Bavarians knocked out by third-tier Saarbrucken is a huge shock, exiting the DFB Pokal at this early stage has become somewhat of a normality for the German champions in recent seasons.

Bayern have now lost in the second round of the cup for the third time in the last four campaigns, having been bested at this stage against Holstein Kiel in 2020/21 and Borussia Monchengladbach in 2021/22.

What will be worrying about this latest defeat is the fact Tuchel put out a strong side. Muller, Leroy Sane, Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer and Alphonso Davies were all named in the starting XI.

Critics will say the reigning Bundesliga champions were dismissive of their lower-ranked opponents heading into the tie, but former Chelsea boss Tuchel was quick to dispel this.

"We weren't arrogant or took it lightly," he said. "There are either 100 explanations or none.

"It feels strange. Everyone who says we have to win here is right. There's no clever explanation, we are extremely disappointed. We really wanted to reach [the final in] Berlin. It is what it is, we have to congratulate our opponent."

Kane snub a bold call

The decision to leave Harry Kane on the bench has ultimately backfired on Tuchel, who would have hoped the likes of Muller, Sane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting could have got the job done.

Even when the substitutes were called upon, England international Kane was still overlooked and, perhaps, the big upcoming Bundesliga clash against BVB played a part in the manager's thinking.

But not calling upon a striker that has 14 goals in 12 appearances across the Bundesliga and Champions League this season is a head-scratcher, especially now the Bavarians have been sent packing from the competition.

This exit also reduces Kane's chances of landing the first trophy of his career, with the league title and the Champions League now the two targets for the rest of the campaign.

Muller slams post-match actions

Tempers were flaring after the final whistle and Muller, who has been at the club his entire senior career, was unhappy with the lack of senior members who went to address the travelling support.

Muller, Sane, Mathys Tel and Bouna Sarr were the senior players that went over to apologise to the Bayern fans that were making their feelings made clear, while youth players Lovro Zvonarek and Taichi Fukui came over from the bench.

It was something that didn't sit right with Muller, the forward explaining: "The guys were here, traveled to the away game and supported us. The least you can do is to give something back.

"And it's not about applauding 100 times and singing any songs, it's about showing respect. We also discussed this once in the dressing room. We will show a different face in the future. Of course it's unacceptable."

Injury further dampens mood

While the defeat is hard enough to take for Bayern, it now looks like they will be without Matthijs de Ligt after he went off with what looked to be a serious-looking knee injury.

The Netherlands international has been in solid form at the heart of defence, but his absence leaves the Bavarians short of centre-back options heading into the clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, which is available to follow on bet365's Sports Live Streaming platform.

Kimmich ended up slotting in alongside Kim Min-jae at the back and this seemed to unsettle Bayern, especially in midfield as they lost the control they had with their German maestro in that position.

It leaves Tuchel with a selection issue ahead of Der Klassiker, which the German champions are 3/4 to win against 3/1 Dortmund. The draw is priced at 16/5.


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