Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Kovac demands defensive discipline in Der Klassiker

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 4 Apr 2019

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Niko Kovac has demanded defensive “responsibility and discipline” from his Bayern Munich side in Saturday’s mouth-watering clash against Borussia Dortmund.

Kovac was stunned by his side’s defending in their dramatic 5-4 DFB-Pokal quarter-final win against second-tier Heidenheim on Wednesday.

Bayern host Dortmund, who are two points clear of them at the Bundesliga summit, on Saturday and Kovac wants every member of his team to contribute to keeping their opponents at bay – regardless of their position.

“It’s about responsibility and discipline,” he told a media conference on Thursday. “I do not just start with the defenders, it starts earlier. You have to be ready, no matter what your level.

“France have become world champions because they played well but also defended well.

“It is not for nothing that titles are decided at the back. We have to come back to defending well, as individuals and as a team.

“That’s what we have to go back to, but you have to want it even if you’re an artist.

“It will be an interesting game. The team that makes fewer mistakes will win.”

Kovac also waded into the debate over Jerome Boateng’s reported plan to throw a party hours after the clash with Dortmund.

The club’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic believes Boateng’s decision is ill-advised – a view the Bayern boss broadly agrees with.

“Personally, I do not think he should have started this party, but on the other hand, everyone has to decide for themselves what they do in their free time,” he explained.

Manuel Neuer missed the tie against Heidenheim with a calf injury, while Robert Lewandowski was only fit enough to be named as a substitute after suffering from illness.

Kovac said a late decision will be made on Neuer’s fitness but he thinks Lewandowski – who came off the bench to score Bayern’s winning goal from the penalty spot – will be “fine”.

He also confirmed that David Alaba, who has missed his side’s last two games through injury, has returned to training and could feature, but James Rodriguez has a problem with his adductor and could miss out.

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