Niko Kovac returns to Bayern Munich as manager


Germany, April 14 (TNS): Niko Kovac has been appointed as the new head coach of Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich on Friday on a 3-year contract. The 46-year-old also represented Bayern Munich as a player during 2001-03.

The Bayern Hierarchy appointed him after he impressed as head coach with Eintracht Frankfurt.

“We’re very happy that we could win Niko Kovac as a new coach for Bayern,” sports director Hasan Salihamidzic said.

“Niko was a player at Bayern, he knows the characters and the structures and the DNA of the club very well. We are convinced that he is the right coach for the future of FC Bayern.”

Current manager Jupp Heynkes stepped out of retirement last October to steady the ship of Bayern’s stumbling season but made it clear that he is an interim manager and will not continue to manage the Bavarian side after the end of the season. Niko Kovac will now replace Jupp who is a godfather figure and has a legacy of his own at Bayern.

Kovac will be joined at Bayern by his younger brother Robert as an assistant coach. The 44-year-old Robert Kovac also previously played for the club.

Bayern paid 2.2 million euros to trigger the release clause of the manager to acquire him from Frankfurt, as Niko had a contract till 2019 with his previous club.

Despite inexperience at the bigger level, the former Bayern player had a stint with Croatia after which he stepped into club management with Eintracht Frankfurt.

He saved them from relegation in the first season and then led them to the German Cup final the next season. Niko’s side will now face Schalke in the German Cup semi-final.

He won over the players through tactical intellect, commitment and by convincing them to sacrifice for the team.

“The coach keeps the team together brilliantly. Respect is hugely important in such a collective. Everyone respects the other,” Frankfurt forward Kevin-Prince Boateng said earlier this season.

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.