Under-pressure Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac desperately needs a win at Wolfsburg on Saturday to break the Bavarian giants’ miserable run and reignite their Bundesliga title defence.
Kovac, 47, only took charge in July, but must turn things around at mid-table Wolfsburg with the German champions winless in their last four matches, including back-to-back league defeats.
After dominating the Bundesliga for the last six seasons, Bayern are sixth in the table and four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, an unacceptable situation for senior bosses.
A humbling 2-0 defeat away to Hertha Berlin was bad enough before Bayern crashed to an embarrassing 3-0 drubbing at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach a fortnight ago.
Gladbach midfielder Christoph Kramer rubbed salt in Bayern’s wounds by saying their superstars were dispirited, “this is not the dominant Bayern team we all know”.
A third straight defeat would test the patience of Bayern president Uli Hoeness, who has promised to “defend Kovac until the death”.
“It’s about time that we get the feeling of a win back again,” admitted defender Mats Hummels. Former Bayern midfielder Markus Babbel says pressure on Kovac will come from within at Munich. ‘No support, no chance’
“Players can go to Hoeness or (Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz) Rummenigge. Then you as a coach you have no chance, because they’re crying here and there,” Babbel told Omnisport.
“This is the biggest problem. You have two big men in the office. If they don’t support you, you have no chance,” he added.
Germany’s best-selling daily Bild claim Bayern’s stars are on the verge of revolt because of Kovac’s insistence they cycle to cool down after games.
With the vast majority of his squad on international duty, the head coach has had little time to make changes. Colombian attacking midfielder James Rodriguez only returned to Munich on Thursday while Jerome Boateng and Leon Goeretzka both have light leg injuries.
“I believe that it’s a good time to host Bayern Munich,” said Wolfsburg’s sports director Marcel Schaefer.
Wolfsburg have concerns in defence with left-back Jerome Roussillon struggling with a calf injury, while centre-backs John Anthony Brooks, of the USA and Congolese Marcel Tisserand are just back from international duty.
Winger Arjen Robben refuses to hear any talk of crisis at Bayern.
“If you make the last few games bigger than they are, then you talk yourself into a crisis, I am firmly convinced that this is only about a few small details,” said the Dutchman. -AFP