Why was Harry Kane subbed off by Thomas Tuchel?

Explained: Why was Harry Kane subbed off by Thomas Tuchel during Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich?

Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel’s decision to substitute Harry Kane off in the 85th minute as the Bavarians led Real Madrid 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg led to several raised eyebrows from fans and pundits.

Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich: The game leading up to Harry Kane being subbed off

The Bavarians made a good start to the game in the first half but could not capitalize on their two chances. Real Madrid, on the other hand, looked electric in the final third with Vinicius Junior on form, but failed to replicate that in the 18-yard box. The two sides were deadlocked at 0-0 entering the half-time break.

Substitute Alphonso Davies gave Bayern Munich the lead after 68 minutes following an assist by Harry Kane, who did well to link up play in general. The Englishman attempted three shots, of which two were on target. He also played two key passes and won five duels during his 85 minutes on the pitch.

Despite there being a possibility of a late Real Madrid goal, which would result in extra-time, Tuchel made the bold move and subbed off Harry Kane. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting came on in place of Kane but could not make a positive impact.

As fate would have it, Manuel Neuer’s error gifted Los Blancos an equalizer after 88 minutes, and the Spaniard made it a brace just three minutes later to break Bavarian hearts.

Thomas Tuchel’s explanation for his decision

As one would expect, Tuchel was extensively quizzed about why he would sub his 44-goal striker off in such a crucial moment. The German gave a concise response, saying,

“He couldn’t keep going. He played with back pain and he couldn’t keep going, his back froze up. 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.”

Tuchel was then asked about how the players and staff will deal with the setback at this late stage in the Champions League, to which he replied,  

“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.”

Bayern now have two Bundesliga games, against Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg, before their season comes to an end.