The future of Niko Kovac as coach of Bayern Munich remains uncertain. Fans and club leaders find themselves in a controversial debate despite the 47-year-old’s team having trounced national rivals Borussia Dortmund 5-0 last weekend.
After Bayern’s disappointing exit in the last 16 of the Champions League against Premier League side Liverpool, it seems that not even winning the 2019 Bundesliga title and the German Cup will be enough to save the Croatian, whose contract runs until 2021.
The reigning German champions seem split down the middle when it comes to Kovac. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is said to stand for the faction opposing Kovac as next season’s coach, while President Uli Hoeness appears as the leading figure of the group in favour of the Croatian.
According to the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Hoeness is likely to win out. The Munich-based outlet noted that things can change quickly when success isn’t forthcoming. While Rummenigge has announced his intention to step down at the end of 2021, Hoeness is set to continue in office for another three or four years.
Former Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn is expected to follow in Rummenigge’s footsteps, joining the club next year.
Rummenigge revealed that Kovac narrowly escaped suspension last autumn, “when we faced a self-inflicted crisis.” The 63-year-old revealed how he and Hoeness spoke out against Kovac’s “unlimited rotation” system, which was said to have harmed the team’s hierarchy and progress.
Insiders reported at the time that Kovac had “lost the dressing room”. Demands from players and officials to change his cautious playing style and take more risks kept discussions alive.
At present, Hoeness doesn’t want to increase the tension. He had the feeling “we were losing control” in November, “but since then things have developed, and we have rarely lost any games.”
The 67-year-old underlined that he is backing Kovac, as “you can’t collaborate with someone you constantly doubt.”
Meanwhile, Rummenigge renewed his point “that no one can count on a job guarantee when working for Bayern,” adding that if someone is insisting on getting one, “he is at the wrong club.”
Insiders say it is still to be decided whether Kovac is the right man to carry out the rebuilding of Bayern’s squad over the next years. Investments of up to 350 million euros seem inevitable in order to bring the club in line with top international standards.
Media reports speak of Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan possibly joining the Munich club this summer. The German international has rejected a recent offer of an extention to his current contract, which expires in 2020. Rumors suggest that Real Madrid and Barcelona are interested in Gundogan as well.
Elsewhere, James Rodriguez will most likely leave at the end of his loan deal this season and returns to Spanish giants Real Madrid, as Bayern are not keen to exercise their 42 million euro option to purchase the Colombian midfielder. Former German international defender Jerome Boateng is also expected to leave this summer.
While James failed to convince Bayern’s club bosses in continental games, it seems the relationship between Boateng and Bayern is irrevocably damaged. The 30-year-old is said to be heading to Juventus or Paris Saint Germain.