When toasting with karl-heinz rummenigge, niko kovac only briefly smiled. The trainer couldn’t hide his frustration a bit during the traditional oktoberfest visit of the FC bavaria.
Even the stars found it difficult to look friendly into the cameras at the "krisen-wiesn", dressed in traditional costumes and holding the mug in their hands. The humiliating 0:3 (0:2) against borussia monchengladbach and the fall from the champions league ranks had already caused a powerful hangover before the first prosit. At least kovac was able to enjoy a clear declaration of belief from president uli hoeneb.
"I know the mechanisms of soccer and the bundesliga. I know that time is different at bayern munchen," said kovac, taking a realistic view of his personal situation after the previous season’s low point. Almost exactly one year to the day after carlo ancelotti was sacked, the croatian has to fight for his job at the german fubball record champion – and shortly before the 100-day grace period expires.
When kovac got ready for the photo in front of a promizelt, sport director hasan salihamidzic demonstratively stood next to the 46-year-old and gave him a friendly hug. Hoeneb later took a public position for the coach. Hoeneb told the "suddeutsche zeitung" that he would stand by kovac "like one", "no matter what happens in the next few weeks". On the way to the marquee, he and rummenigge had remained silent about the crisis and kovac.
"I had the approval for the first seven games, now after the four games i also assume that," kovac said at the start of what for him will be an uncomfortable country break. A decisive addition followed: "but I’m not the one who can ultimately answer this question."
The last time louis van gaal had a negative record like kovac’s was eight years ago. At that time, munich were only in twelfth place after seven games and even canceled their oktoberfest visit without further ado. Van gaal initially fought his way out of the crisis, but was sacked six months later after all.
"There are certainly better days to go to the wiesn. We know how the situation is, we have recognized the seriousness of the situation," said captain manuel neuer at the oktoberfest visit. Here and there, in the presence of women and families, people laughed while enjoying all kinds of snacks and treats. Four compulsory games without a win, plus two league defeats in a row without a goal of their own, however, depressed spirits. "We imagined the wiesn a bit differently. But it’s not all bad, a bit of a distraction," said niklas sule. Bayern remain in distress – and so does coach kovac after just eleven compulsory games.
"This doesn’t mean anything good not only for the coach, but for the whole club," said neuer. "It’s a mixture of mistakes, lack of commitment and a certain anti run," analyzed thomas muller. Munich only lost a league home game three times high!
Playfulness, self-confidence, security – practically everything has been lost in a few days by the currently enormously low-paced star ensemble. "We got into a maelstrom that we hadn’t imagined," complained sule, who fluffed before alassane plea made it 0:1. Lars stindl after thiago’s blunder and patrick herrmann made the luck of the efficient gladbacher perfect.
For days there has been rumbling in munich. Hoeneb’s provocative statements during the week on rotation and kovac’s responsibility played a significant role in this. In addition, rumors about bad moods in the cabin made the rounds. "We stand by the coach and also stood by the coach in the first seven games when the coach and we were also hyped up," sule said.
Joshua kimmich stressed that he was experiencing a "good" and "positive" kovac. "He’s trying to push us all the time. It’s amazing how self-confident he remains despite this," said the national player, but pointed out that the laws of the trade are still in force. "Every coach in the bundesliga and every coach in the world is ultimately measured by success and failure just like we players are. This is also the case with FC bayern munchen. We are no exception."
Kimmich is the only remaining eagle defender after david alaba’s injury (minor muscle fiber tear in the thigh). To make matters worse, kovac is now without his fourth player, although not for long. The squad, which is considered too rough by the bosses, does not currently offer many options.
After six championship titles at the stuck there is helplessness on the stage. The protagonists are counting on the break, hard work and more luck in now four (!) playing off the guard at the stucco. "Always bad luck is also not a coincidence", kimmich noted but nuchtern. In addition to defensive mistakes, the lack of scoring chances is glaring.
The bavarian stars could not be accused of refusing to work, as lothar matthaus, the national team’s record-breaking player, had suggested. But even salihamidzic complained about a lack of "body language. "We’ll definitely come out of this as a team again," promised sule. As a team – and for the time being with this coach as well.