Niko Kovac repays Bayern’s trust

When Jupp Heynkes finished his final season at Bayern as interim coach in the 2017/2018 campaign, the German giants surprised everybody by appointing a young and relatively inexperienced coach in Niko Kovac. The Croatian, an ex-Bayern player, had impressed at Frankfurt and won the DFB Pokal (German Cup), but at that time it looked like a risky appointment.

See also: Brighton’s Hughton sack nonsensical

The skepticism around his appointment only grew as Bayern struggled in the league while Dortmund, fueled by their new young Englishman Jadon Sancho, were in blistering form. Bayern had won the previous six league titles and their form in the first half of the season put a seventh consecutive one in jeopardy.

sancho-23112018
Sancho was on fire as Dortmund challenged Bayern for the title this season.

 

At another big club, for example Real Madrid, the axe might have swung early for the Croatian coach but not at Bayern. Rummenige knows how to run a football club properly. Kovac was backed and allowed to implement his style with this Bayern team. The result? A Bundesliga title and a DFB Pokal final against Leipzig, on top of a Super Cup win in 2018. Kovac could complete a domestic treble tomorrow and become the first man in German football history to win the league and cup as both player and manager [1].

The major blip in the season is the loss at home to Liverpool in the Champions League round of 16. However, keep in mind that Liverpool were last year’s finalists and it’s perfectly reasonable to say that Kovac needs more time with his squad to challenge for a European title.

Aging stars, injuries and an acclimatization for both squad and coach played a big part in Bayern’s early season shakiness. Kovac also did not get to enjoy Robben and Ribery at their peak, two players who have been the pillars of the German champions for the past decade.

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Bayern Munich legends Ribery and Robben will both leave the club at the end of the season.

It’s damning that the media is still reporting Kovac will be sacked come the end of the season when he has done an admirable job at Bayern. Football is getting more and more fickle and the media’s greed for clicks and likes makes them more annoying than informative.

CEO Rummenige quashed all talks of Kovac’s future being in peril on Friday.

It was never in question that he would be our coach next season. It would be crazy to make a decision based on one game… I think it is definitely a success to win the league in your first year at Bayern. He is a young and relatively inexperienced coach.

He also denied Uli Hoeness and himself disagree on Kovac.

Bayern Munich put their trust in their coach and in the end were rewarded. Short-termism might work sometimes but if you do your due diligence picking a coach and one that knows the club well in this case, then you should trust that this coach will deliver in the long term.

 

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[1] https://www.bundesliga.com/en/bundesliga/news/how-has-niko-kovac-turned-bayern-munich-s-season-around-2954

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niko_Kovač

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