Opposed to Bayern on Wednesday night in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League, PSG may meet, on the bench or in the stands of the Allianz Arena, Tanguy Nianzou Kouassi, his former home nugget, who preferred to join the last summer the Bavarian club. Where, the fault of injuries, he never plays.
He had the opportunity to go professional with his training club, the club of his city, the club which had offered him at only 17 years old his first 13 appearances in the big leagues, including two in the Champions League. But for reasons that belong to him, Tanguy Kouassi preferred last summer to push back the advances of PSG to engage with Bayern Munich until 2024.
A few weeks before the final of the Champions League, the French club then lost a match behind the scenes against its German counterpart. And a promising central defender, able to evolve a notch higher. “Tanguy, it’s no secret that I like him very much, regretted Thomas Tuchel. He played against Dortmund, the most important match, without a pro contract, at 17. He deserved the confidence. He had a great future in this club. He knows it, it was not the moment to leave. Not at all. We had confidence, he had minutes. It was possible for him to play in 6 and central defender. I cannot not understand. I’m sad … “
Four game sheets, 21 minutes of play
Sad, Tanguy Kouassi, may be, nine months later, when he meets his old team in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League (Wednesday, 9 p.m. on RMC Sport 1). Because his integration into Bayern, his German dream, for the moment looks like a nightmare. On Wednesday, the international U18 – who was added to the list of players qualified in C1 during the winter – will at best be on the bench against Paris. But even then, imagining it scratching playing time seems next to impossible.
It’s simple: since crossing the Rhine, Tanguy Nianzou, as he chose to be called in Germany, has only scored four small match sheets with Bayern. For only one appearance, on November 28 against Stuttgart in the Bundesliga (3-1), and 21 minutes of play.
How to explain this white season? We could mention the formidable competition in central defense, with Jerome Boateng and David Alaba, but also Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez. But the problem is not even there. Or not yet. So far, the former Titi has just been betrayed by his body.
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One muscle injury in September and another in December
On September 8, ten days before the start of the German championship, Bayern reported in a press release of a thigh strain for his young recruit. First hard blow. After almost two months in the infirmary, Nianzou made his first appearance on the Bavarian bench against Werder on November 21. The following week, he played about twenty minutes against Stuttgart, and still had a score sheet the following weekend, against Leipzig. Until the second glitch.
On December 12, new Bayern press release, and rebel: this time, the club evoked a tear in the right thigh. Which will keep the player away from the field … until last weekend. For nearly four months, the defender had to follow strict protocol, and train alone. To resume collective sessions only last week, and therefore find the bench during the precious success against Leipzig (1-0).
If he is now spared from physical problems, Tanguy Kouassi could finally take advantage of the spring, and the title almost won in the Bundesliga, to make a few appearances and finally get out of this long tunnel. Hansi Flick, who closely monitored his rehabilitation, seems to believe in him anyway. “Tanguy has a great talent and a good attitude, greeted the technician in January. He already speaks German well, you can exchange with him. He is very professional, and works a lot.”
It remains to be seen if the coach will still be on the Bavarian bench next summer, and if the French will have the opportunity to climb in the hierarchy. On paper, the scheduled departure of David Alaba could free up a place in axial defense. Except that this has already been compensated by the arrival … of Dayot Upamecano. A compatriot, but a new competitor.