Were Bayern Munich justified in sacking Kovac?

With the dust settling and the anger and frustrations dissipated somewhat the question remains were Bayern Munich justified in sacking Niko Kovac?

Kovac was sacked at the beginning of the month after Bayern lost 5-1 at Eintract Frankfurt. This is a result that Bayern were simply not used too and it was a terrible one, but was there too much knee jerk reaction to it? After all even in defeat Bayern were just 4 points from the top of the league.

Partly the problem seems to have been the clubs position at the time which took them down to 4th. Fourth place and Bayern have a bad relationship the two simply do not go hand in hand. Let’s face it Bayern have not really trusted Kovac either. Had an experienced coach been in charge of the club that position would have been looked on back and forth to the manager, Bayern would have swallowed some pride and got on with it. In sacking Kovac who has little experience the decision would have been a much easier one.

When Kovac was sacked Bayern had won 50% of their games and lost 2 matches. The damning fact for the club was that they had won 18 points from a possible 30, continue that trend and the club would be lucky to qualify for the Champions League.

Since Kovac was sacked Bayern have won 2 games in the Champions League and Bundesliga under Hans-Dieter Flick. The most impressive was beating rivals Borussia Dortmund 4-0. That could well tell us that Kovac had lost the dressing room, if so then Bayern had little choice but to sack him.

The problem though is what were Bayern expecting when they recruited him? And it seemed from the beginning that the moment Kovac had put pen to paper and signed his contract it was the moment that Bayern woke up and thought what have we done?

Kovac’s first season did look like it would turn into a nightmare but he got fully into his job and turned it around and Bayern won the league and the cup double and he became the first person in Germany to win the double as a player and then as a coach. His win rate of 69% was also excellent.

And yet here we are and Kovac is out at Bayern after such a glorious time. All in all Kovac’s sacking seems like a very harsh decision, but at the very top of the game that is how it is now. His full time replacement may not even be needed until next summer as Flick is doing such a fine job. As for Kovac he needs to chin up because he has a bright future ahead of him.

 

James Rodriguez to lead Real Madrid summer exodus

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James Rodriguez is set to leave La Liga this summer, with Real Madrid happy for the Colombian international to move on after an unfulfilled five years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Rodriguez, 27, signed for Los Blancos ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, on the back of an outstanding performance at the World Cup two months before, however his face never seemed to fit at the club particularly under previous boss Zinedine Zidane.

Despite the last two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, he does not appear to be guaranteed a continued role in Bavaria either.

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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.

Are Bayern Munich in crisis?

It looked to have been a mere blimp in Bayern Munich’s season but picking up just one Bundesliga point from an available nine has raised questions around the Säbener Straße. A 1-1 draw against Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin and a 3-0 hammering against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening.

Just one goal in three games isn’t your typical Bayern Munich. This is an elite European club that has won six consecutive Bundesliga titles and if things don’t change imminently, there could be real problems ahead. Continue reading

Bayern Munich’s first defeat is just a minor setback

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It all seemed to be going so well for Bayern Munich but after dropping five points from an available six, questions surely must be asked of Niko Kovac’s side. Conceding a late equaliser to Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg kicked proceedings off before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat against Hertha BSC on Friday night. 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

DFL Supercup Preview: Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern Munich

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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.

Probable line-ups

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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Bayern Munich should sell Jerome Boateng

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

Are Croatia dark horses for Euro 2016 under Niko Kovac?

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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?