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
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
Niko Kovac’s first chance to win a trophy at new club Bayern Munich will be against his former side Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFL Supercup on Sunday. It’s the Bundesliga champions vs DFB Pokal winners in the curtain raiser for Germany’s 2018/19 football season and it’s a fixture that is expected to be as exciting as their last: the Pokal final. The previous meeting between the two sides resulted in a 3-1 victory for Eintracht which was masterminded by Kovac, with the Croat now in the opposite dugout at Commerzbank Arena, in charge of Bayern.
Sunday will be just the second-time Eintracht Frankfurt has featured in the curtain raiser, their last coming in a 2-0 defeat to Werder Bremen in 1988. Meanwhile, the ever-dominant Bayern Munich have participated in seven of the last eight DFL Supercup’s, although they’ve lifted just four with their most recent being last season.
We’ve seen mixed results from Bayern Munich in pre-season during their International Champions Cup fixtures and for the 2018 DFL Supercup, the Bavarians will have to do it without Arturo Vidal who has departed Munich for Barcelona. Although, there could be starts for Bayern’s two new signings, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry, the latter returning from his Hoffenheim loan spell.
Like Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt are undergoing a transitional season. Kovac’s spell at Eintracht couldn’t have gone better but now at Bayern, it will be up Adi Hutter, former BSC Young Boys head coach, to carry on the good work by his predecessor.
Eintracht Frankfurt have lost a key player in Kevin-Prince Boateng, who has joined Sassuolo but arguably their biggest signing this summer is the contract extension of Croatia international and World Cup Finalist Ante Rebic, who had been close to joining Manchester United. The forward scored a brace in his last meeting with Bayern Munich, helping Eintracht lift the Pokal while a fine month in Russia has resulted in the 24-year-old penning a new contract that will see him remain at the Bundesliga club until 2022.
New signings Felix Wiedwald, Goncalo Paciencia, Nicolai Müller and Chico Geraldes could well start on Sunday for Eintracht Frankfurt and while there’s no doubting the 2018/19 campaign will be a tough one for the Super Eagles, certainly more difficult than the previous, there’s no reason as to why they can’t push Bayern Munich for 90 minutes on Sunday.
Early signs in the Bayern side suggest that Kovac doesn’t quite know his best formation while they’re going to have play the Eintracht without James Rodriguez, who has yet to return to full fitness after missing the England game at the World Cup.
One positive for Bayern Munich is that star striker Robert Lewandowski will remain at the club despite immense speculation that he would leave for one of Manchester United or Real Madrid this summer. The Poland international looked increasingly frustrated towards the end of the 2017/18 Bundesliga campaign while the 29-year-old criticised his teammates the prior season after accusing them of not helping Lewandowski finish top scorer, instead finishing behind then Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“It’s true Robert and I had a chat. Robert knows what I think about him and how I rate him. The whole club knows the qualities he possesses. He is one of the best three strikers in the world. There’s no way we’d let him leave. That’s why I told him. Robert accepted that, and I’m really happy about it,” Kovac told Sport Bild.
Like the Community Shield, winning the DFL Supercup isn’t the biggest of deals. Of course, both teams still want to win silverware at the end of the day but it’s more about signifying the start of the football campaign in Germany. Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern Munich will provide fans with exciting football given both Hutter and Kovac like their teams to press high up the pitch while defensively neither have look solid. This fixture should certainly provide viewers with top class entertainment.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Wiedwald – Abraham (c), Hasebe, Salcedo – Da Costa, Torro, Fernandes, Willems – Fabian, Gacinovic – Haller
Bayern Munich: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Hummels, Süle, Alaba – Martinez, Thiago – Robben, Müller, Ribery – Lewandowski
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Manchester United’s pursuit of Jerome Boateng came to an end with less than 24 hours remaining before the English transfer deadline day closed. It’s a deal that many had expected to go through with the Premier League outfit so desperately needing a central defender but it’s a move that failed to materialise. But with the French and German windows still open, it would be wise for Bayern Munich to cash in on the 29-year-old before it’s too late.
Wednesday night saw Sport Bild journalist Christian Falk confirm that Boateng’s agent, Christian Nerlinger, would travel to Paris on Thursday to initiate further talks with Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Antero Henrique. Continue reading
Croatia have learned their lessons from a disappointing World Cup campaign in 2014, and look on course to qualify for the 2016 European Championships in emphatic fashion. The Blazers are top of Group H in the qualifiers, and are still unbeaten after seven games. Boasting the best defensive record from the rest of the sides in the table, Croatia under manager Niko Kovac could well surprise many sides should they book their place in next year’s European Championships.
Croatia have lost just one game in the last 12 months, and it was a friendly against World Cup runners-up Argentina away from home. The European outfit have been consistent as they come in competitive fixtures, and haven’t conceded more than one goal in such games since June 2014. Their failed World Cup campaign certainly woke the side up, and Croatia look a real focused side destined to overachieve next year.
Kovac seems to have the side balanced perfectly, with the experienced heads in the defence, midfield and attack supplemented with some of the most promising young talent in the country. There’s the individual brilliance littered through the side in the form of midfielders Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), and strikers such as Andrej Kramaric (Leicester City) and Mario Mandzukic (Juventus).
The European side have always had substance to go toe-to-toe with the best football nations in the world in the past, and this year it’s no different, with Kovac’s men having matched the likes of Italy in both home and away meetings in Group H – taking two points from the two games. Their 12-month unbeaten run in competitive fixtures is showing any signs of being ended at present, and they could go into next year’s finals with real momentum to threaten a deep run.
Croatia are overdue a good performance in the European Championships, with the side having fallen short in the group stages of the last tournaments in 2012. But in Kovac, they have a manager who has lost just three games from 18 in charge, and has the side at it s strongest on paper as well as performances. Their somewhat rise to prominence under the latest head coach has come as a surprise given how poor they were when they took over, but the glory years of deep international tournament runs could be back based on their current showings.
How far can Croatia go in the 2016 European Championships should they qualify for the tournament?