Bayern Munich's dressing room upheaval hinders Kovac recovery
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
The tactician is reportedly facing opposition from some senior players and is struggling to turn the tide as the season approaches its halfway point.
Bayern Munich's poor run of form has opened up a horde of different other problems for them this season. One of which is a conflict of ideas and trust among some players with their new manager Niko Kovac. The Croatian who won the Dfb Pokal with his former team Eintracht Frankfurt last season has not enjoyed a smooth ride with the Bavarians yet. The issue seems to be escalating pretty quickly as a source from inside is leaking news to the media about the club's whereabouts and the Bayern bosses have struggled to handle the delicate situation.
The Bavarians who have won the Bundesliga title for consecutive six seasons have certainly fallen off the cliff as they are placed at fifth position, now struggling to find a win in their last three fixtures. The story of this year's Bundesliga title seems a lot different to the last six seasons if the Bavarians do not buckle up quickly, they will leave it too late with a lot of ground to be covered.
Kovac's men enjoyed a 5-1 win over Benfica in the Champions League fixture as the German giants have made their way to the knockout stages of Europe's elite league. But even Kovac knows that it just a temporary respite but the real test may come up against Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga and a slip up there may not turn out nicely for him.
Bayern were shambolic in their last league game where they blew up twice a two-goal lead at home, as the match ended in a 3-3 draw against newly promoted Fortuna Duesseldorf. The match prompted for a meeting between club president Uli Hoeness and several players who are not backing Niko Kovac as their manager.
The dressing room feud was earlier addressed by Kovac's predecessor Jupp Heynckes who ridiculed the behaviour of the players and called them acting like 'divas' and making a complicated situation all the more complicated.
"The talk was about four who are allegedly against me," Kovac told reporters after the Benfica win. "But there was no talk at all about those who are on my side. It is clear there are many of them in the team."
The Croat has criticized the mentality of the players and blamed them for lack of focus on games against considerable weaker opponents in domestic or European competitions. He feels that is the main reason because the side has been lagging behind and haven't yet shown the desperation to be themselves again in the Bundesliga.
"It sounds strange but when we play in the Champions League or the Bundesliga against the big teams, then I can see that we are capable," the Croat said. "But against the seemingly smaller teams, we think maybe we can do it with half the strength. These are the points we are missing now."
The problem just does not end there and it is not limited to their performance on the pitch. Bayern Sports director Hasan Salihamidzic looking to address the situation of the person who is leaking news out in the media from which the news of an unwanted dressing room atmosphere in the club has grabbed headlines and spotlight in major news outlets.
"There are some people who are well-connected with some others," Salihamidzic said when asked about the informant. "But we will deal with that. You can imagine what it would mean if I caught him."
Amidst all of the conundrum, Niko Kovac has still got the backing of Bayern CEO Karl Heinze Rummenigge. He feels that the Croatian is the right man for the job and will surely get them out of the difficult phase that they are in.
"We wish to work together with Niko for a long time," the 63-year-old commented in an interview with the Abendzeitung newspaper. "I hope that he’s not only our coach on Christmas Eve in 2018, but also on Christmas Eve in 2019 and 2020.
"He knows Bayern Munich well. He’s a strong character, in a good way, and he’s someone I like.
I see a coach fighting, ready to change a few things, which he must do," he added. "Everyone at Bayern is ready to give Niko Kovac this opportunity."
Dortmund on the other hand, have also advanced to the knockouts of the Champions League following their 0-0 draw against Belgian side Club Brugge.
Published: Fri Nov 30, 2018 07:35 PM IST