Niko Kovac left his role as Bayern Munich coach on good enough terms with the players that any of them would be able to meet up with him for a coffee, according to captain Manuel Neuer.
Kovac had been under pressure for much of the early stages of the 2019-20 season due to underwhelming results and controversy surrounding his sparing use of fan favourite Thomas Muller.
The final straw came in Saturday’s 5-1 humiliation at the Croatian’s former employers Eintracht Frankfurt, with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge later revealing “an open and serious conversation” the following day brought the hierarchy to the conclusion a change was needed.
Assistant coach Hansi Flick was placed in temporary charge and he presided over a 2-0 Champions League win at home to Olympiacos on Wednesday.
“My brother Robert and I would like to thank FC Bayern for these past 18 months. During that time our team won the Bundesliga, the DFB Cup and the Supercup. It was a good time. I with the club and the team all the very best.”
Niko Kovač pic.twitter.com/sIaOZgLIY4
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) November 3, 2019
Despite Kovac’s dismissal, Neuer insists none of the players hold any ill will towards the man who guided the club to a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in his only full campaign at the helm.
“I take my hat off to Niko and Robbie [Robert Kovac, former first-team coach and Niko’s brother] as they have said goodbye,” Neuer told reporters.
“I think that every player, if he meets Robbie or Niko, can look them in the eyes and drink a coffee together.
“It [the farewell] was emotional, of course, because we had a great time together. We wish him all the best. If we had played successfully, this would not have happened.”
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been heavily linked with the job after Ralf Rangnick and Erik ten Hag distanced themselves from it.
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