Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Hoeness defends Bayern's conduct in Kovac approach

Niko Kovac is currently in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt Niko Kovac is currently in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt
Lucia Summers | 15 April, 2018, 22:17

Bundesliga champions Bayern revealed on Friday that Kovac will take charge at the end of the season, when the short-term reign of Jupp Heynckes comes to an end.

The war of words between the clubs rumbled on in the aftermatch of Bayern's 5-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening, with Uli Hoeness taking umbrage at comments made by Frankfurt's director of sport Fredi Bobic.

The 72-year-old is in his fourth spell at the club, and could yet win the Champions League again. The former striker has won the Europe's premier club prize as a coach with both clubs (1998 with Real and 2013 with Bayern). He joins from Eintracht Frankfurt, where he had a contract to 2019, for a reported transfer fee of US$2.5 million (RM9.7 million).

Reports suggesting the Frankfurt manager had been chosen as Jupp Heynckes' successor began to circulate on Thursday, prompting Bobic to criticise the "unprofessional" nature of Bayern's conduct.

The decision to appoint Kovac marks a change of approach for success-driven Bayern, who had previously opted for big-name coaches. "Bayern have thought of themselves and not for a second about Eintracht Frankfurt".

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A Bundesliga and DFB Cup double victor with Bayern as a midfielder in 2003, Kovac was Croatia manager as recently as 2015 before taking up the reins at the Commerzbank-Arena.

"We were obviously surprised especially in this phase (of the season) we are in which is extremely important for us", Bobic said.

However. Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed the following day that an agreement has been made.

After retiring Kovac was briefly an assistant coach in Austria and took over Croatia before signing with relegation-threatened Eintracht Frankfurt in 2016 and turning them into Champions League contenders this season. Bayern's loss is Hoffenheim's gain, however, as the young coach can continue to build his team to climb the Bundesliga table. Frankfurt are mired in a knife-edge battle for Champions league qualification and bosses fear the news could derail their season at a crucial stage.

Bayern was initially in talks with former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, but he informed the club that he had agreed to take over another team while it was still trying to convince Heynckes to stay.

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