Sleeping giant Bayern Munich are planning for dominance next season

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The season in Germany is of course not over but it has been an awkward one for the giants of the country Bayern Munich.

Usually dominant in the Bundesliga Bayern simply haven’t had it all their own way this season and have had to play second fiddle to Borussia Dortmund for most of it. True as they go into this weekend Bayern are on top, but that’s only on goal difference. Either Dortmund or Bayern will win the league this season and that looks like it will go right down to the wire.

Bayern’s Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool underlined that the team needs refreshing. Stars such as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, loyal servants are too old and they will need to be moved on in the summer. Nico Kovac the young Croatian manager has been under intense pressure this season with even Arsene Wenger linked to the job. Truth is Kovac has inherited an aging team who at times haven’t always been hungry for success.

The good news for Bayern is that club President Uli Hoeness has promised that the club will spend big in the summer, and he’s not lying. Indeed Bayern have already splashed the cash with the confirmation of Lucas Hernandez for an incredible £68m. Hernandez will join from Atletico Madrid in July and be ready for next season.

It does appear that Hoeness who has been famous in the past for tightening  the clubs purse strings is putting his mouth where the money is and delivering on his promise and Bayern fans will be excited to hear what he had to say. Hoeness recently said: “If only you knew (the names) we have lined up for next season. We can’t make announcements right now. Everyone here would go mad and we still have goals to reach in the current campaign. We’ve saved. We’re well prepared for the summer. Our director of sport (Hasan Salihamidzic) has it all under control.”

Exciting times look to be around the corner for Bayern who have not won the Champions League since 2013, and since the rebranding took place in 1993 have only won the competition twice despite appearing in numerous finals. But also the current domestic season has not been good enough even if they win it, because just being able to win it is very un Bayern like. Think, for example, PSG winning Ligue 1 on the last day of the season.

Bayern mean business and it will be interesting if they will be able to attract the players they want. With Real Madrid reportedly having a huge spending package this summer it could turn into quite a transfer tussle between the two teams this summer- whoever is selling will benefit.

Niko Kovac’s job looks safe at Bayern Munich after shaky start

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Niko Kovac looked like he was out of his depth for much of this Bundesliga season with German giants Bayern Munich. But the Croatian seems to have turned things around at the club after Bayern went on a five game winning run before the traditional Christmas break in Germany.

In the process after being as low as 5th this season Bayern have roared back and are just six points behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund. The league does not start again until January 18th.

It has been quite a rollercoaster few months for Kovac with the pressure meter constantly at 10, but the club have responded and it is thought that club directors are more than happy with Bayern’s performances. This is bad news for Arsene Wenger, with the former Arsenal manager having been linked to the club. Jose Mourinho was directly linked also after he was sacked from Manchester United last month.

If anything Kovac has bought himself some time and it seems with Champions League qualification also in his back pocket that he won’t be sacked this season at least.

Kovac has had much to say about the campaign claiming that teams around Bayern have improved and this has been a much tougher season than the last one. Kovac said Bayern’s official website. “I feel we’re the Bayern from the start of the season again, that we’ve restored our ease and confidence – and that the lads are fired up to give it everything and put up a fierce fight against Borussia Dortmund. It was a half year with many facets, very emotional, and certainly not boring. We had many good periods but also had to weather difficult ones. However, taken altogether we’re on a good track, and at the end of the day our conclusion to the six months is positive.”

Kovac continued, “Of course we wished for a good start. We worked very hard for it during pre-season. We dominated the matches. The lads wanted to assert themselves after the arrival of a new coach. The performances in training and in matches were correspondingly strong.”

With Bayern pulling three points clear of 3rd place Borussia Monchengladbach it seems that the league has turned into a two horse race and at least it will be an exciting finish in Germany this season. As for Kovac if Bayern do not win the league his job does look like being in the balance, because 2nd just isn’t good enough for a club like Bayern.

Still after a difficult start at least Kovac has won the first round and is looking good to steer Bayern to silverware this season, against for some, all the odds.

Should Bayern Munich make a move for Arsene Wenger?

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You could be forgiven for having to look at the current standings in the German Bundesliga and take a double look and what you see. Bayern Munich, the great Bayern Munich are not in first place, but their not even 2nd or at a push in third. No try 5th place.

It has been a stunning start to this German league campaign for the Bavarians but not for the right reasons. Under new coach Niko Kovac the side are experiencing one of the most difficult seasons in recent memory. They are 9 points behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund and have only won 50% of their games so far in the league and have not won a game for their past 3 encounters.

Kovac is under serious pressure with many fans and pundits believing that he is a good coach but is simply out of his depth at such a club as Bayern. Kovac got the job mostly through leading Eintract Frankfurt to the DFB Pokal Cup last season. He does have a win rate of 63% this season which would be good for most clubs, but with Bayern you have to be aiming for closer to 70%.

So could Kovac lose his job. To be honest it is surprising he hasn’t already. If he was coach at Real Madrid or Barcelona it would be almost certain that he would have. But Bayern have given him the luxury of some time. And yet surely this form can’t go on too much longer without it costing him his job.

There have been rumours circulating that a one Arsene Wenger could take over at the club. Some media are against it, seeing Wenger as a has been and yesterday’s man, but Bayern do have a tendency to bring in older coaches, like Ottmar Hitzfeld and more recently Jupp Heynckes. Bayern see coaches through years of experience and even Kovac had 9 before joining the club.

Wenger himself has spoken out, not directly about Bayern but by saying that he will return to a managerial position and that his hopes are to do so by the beginning of 2019. He seems very adamant on that which is a surprise, does he know something that we do not? Wenger surely would not coach a team that isn’t a recognised top 4 of 3 club in a major league and would love nothing more than to finish his career on a high with trophies. In that respect Bayern and Wenger could be the perfect match.

 

Germany’s latest woes in the UEFA Nations League should spell the end for Joachim Low

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Germany, the great international side that are usually compared to the very greatest footballing nations in the history of football have been relegated in the UEFA Nations League.

What this means is that the team cannot win the next edition of the new international cup set up by UEFA. This is all by and large and the competition is still under scrutiny as to whether nations are really taking this seriously. After all it isn’t the World Cup or European Championships and feels like glorified friendlies. Still whichever way you look at it relegation means you are not getting results and this has been a quite woeful year for the Germans so accustomed to winning.

But when will the finger point to coach Joachim Low. Low has been in charge of the national side for an incredible 12 years- surely his tenure is up now? In that time he has won the ultimate prize- the World Cup in 2014 as Germany became the first ever European side to win it in South America when that edition was held in Brazil.

Many expected Low’s time was up this summer when Germany exited the World Cup in Russia at the group stages. It was the first time in 80 years that Germany had done so and pardon the pun was a new low for the national side. His sacking seemed inevitable and yet the German FA gave Low the choice- he remained in the hot seat.

Low has done fantastically well for the national side, reaching the European Championship final in 2008 and making the latter stages of major competitions but surely now is the time to walk.  Since the World Cup things have hardly improved for Low with just 2 wins from 5 games and now failure in the Nations League.

What Germany need now is another strong character in order to qualify for Euro 2020 which shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Low has actually done very little wrong in his time with the national side and him stepping down should just be an occurrence of time, and he has certainly had his. It would be a major surprise if the FA do not take action and let him go if he doesn’t want to.

If anything Low who is almost 60 needs to give others a chance and there are a lot of ex German players now that are reaching that age where they would like to give the national team a decent shot. Change is needed because if not the great German side may just stagnate, something that we couldn’t see coming in a generation. Low’s time is up.

 

Bundesliga Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 6

Following the Englisch Woche, the Bundesliga is back underway with some thrilling fixtures.

Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich

After a 1-1 draw against Bavaria rivals FC Augsburg, Bayern Munich will want to rectify their mistakes after dropping points for the first time this season. They welcome Hertha Berlin to the Allianz Arena on Friday night with the capital club themselves enjoying their start to the Bundesliga campaign. Three years of steadying the ship, Pal Dardai’s Hertha are finally up in the top half of the table while challenging for European football could be a real possibility this campaign after beating the likes of Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach. Continue reading

Can anyone stop Bayern Munich?

Bayern Munich have maintained their 100 percent record to the 2018/19 season which begs the question once again, can anyone stop them? Winning the Bundesliga for the sixth consecutive season, Bayern Munich have played 208, winning 167 and losing just 16 of those, boasting a staggering goal difference of 416. Continue reading

Renato Sanches proves he has Bayern Munich future

Two years after joining Bayern Munich, Portugal international Renato Sanches finally looks like the €35 million midfielder they were getting back in 2016. The 21-year-old was awarded his first start under head coach Niko Kovac against former club, SL Benfica. Sanches played his part in Robert Lewandowski’s opening goal while he started and finished the move for Bayern Munich’s second. Continue reading

Can Thilo Kehrer plug the holes in defence for PSG?

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Thilo-Kehrer-180816-Unveiled-PSG-1050PSG manager Unai Emery struggled to string words together when asked to justify the shambolic defensive performance by his unit at the Camp Nou against hosts Barcelona. Brazilian attacker Neymar ran rings around the defence leading the Spanish giants to the next round on the back of a 6-1 win in the 2nd leg with the Parisians blowing a 4 goal lead.

The Spanish manager finally painstakingly mustered together a statement to the media, describing the debacle as a major consequence of lack of composure under pressure and a paucity of experience.

‘In the last few minutes we lost everything we had worked so hard for, and there’s no explanation for what happened in the final minutes, it was all or nothing. There can be no excuses, we did not play in the first half. After winning 4-0 in the first leg this is very difficult to accept, but we have no choice. You learn from negative experiences in the future and this is a very negative experience for the players, for me and for the staff.’

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Bayer Leverkusen’s season isn’t going as planned

Consecutive defeats for Bayer Leverkusen to start their 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign isn’t something head coach Heiko Herrlich had in mind. Many had predicted Die Werkself to challenge Bayern Munich for the title after a strong summer of recruitment following a successful campaign last season.

The 46-year-old brought European football back to the BayArena, finishing fifth and just missing out on a return to Champions League football on goal difference to Borussia Dortmund. Europa League football will have to do but the vibe around Leverkusen playing in Europe once again is positive.

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