Bayern Munich’s next coach, Niko Kovac, says his only concern is beating his future club when they host his Eintracht Frankfurt team in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
A fortnight ago, Kovac, 46, was announced as Bayern’s head coach for 2018/19 to replace Jupp Heynckes. Kovac insists his only priority is inflicting more woe on Bayern, who lost their Champions League semi-final, first leg 2-1 at home to Real Madrid on Wednesday. “All I’m interested in right now at Bayern Munich is just how we can beat them,” said Kovac.
“The only thing important is Eintracht and what else we can achieve this season.” Bayern face Kovac’s Eintracht twice in the coming weeks with the clubs also to meet in the German Cup final on May 19.
Bundesliga champions Bayern are sure to rotate for Saturday’s league match at the Allianz Arena, four days before their return European semi-final in Madrid. Bayern have Jerome Boateng sidelined for the rest of the season after injuring his groin in the Real defeat while midfielders Arjen Robben (groin) and Javi Martinez (head injury) will also sit out the game.
Seventh-placed Frankfurt are desperate for points to bridge the single-point gap behind RB Leipzig to get in amongst the European places. Kovac calculates Frankfurt “still have to get four (league) points” in order to finish fifth or sixth and qualify for the Europa League.
He doesn’t see it as an advantage that Bayern will rest their stars for Real. “The players who face us will want to put themselves forward for the match in Madrid, which makes it even more complicated for us,” said Kovac.
Frankfurt are missing key Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and striker Ante Rebic, who both have leg injuries, and suspended Japanese defender Makoto Hasebe. Second-placed Schalke can be sure of a direct Champions League berth next season if they beat Borussia Moenchengladbach at home on Saturday. -AFP