Bundesliga: Müller against Kovac: “Notnagel” still has an open account

Status: 08/12/2022 14:25

For the first time since his release in Munich, Niko Kovac appears as a Bayern opponent in the Allianz Arena. Some ex-players would like to welcome Sadio Mané’s home debut.

Goodbye is it fun? Niko Kovac’s feel-good factor when he returns to Munich and the clash with his former Bayern players like Thomas Müller may be very limited.

The football league champion’s goal express around home debutant Sadio Mané started brilliantly in the Bundesliga – and VfL Wolfsburg could never win in Munich.

Especially Müller, who was once demoted by Kovac to an “emergency seam”, could feel a special desire to welcome the ex-boss. In any case, the international hopes on Sunday (17.30 / DAZN) that his team will have “energy intensity and joy of play” like the 6-1 start a week ago at Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt: “We will stay at the top of the the table!”

Don’t worry is Kovac’s approach. “It’s always nice to come back where you’ve played or worked as a coach,” said the 50-year-old: “That’s why I’m happy. You’ll meet a lot of companions in the game.”

Müller, Neuer or Kimmich, for example, who also wore the Bayern shirt three years ago, when the double winner Kovac had to go out at the beginning of November after a heavy 1:5 defeat in Frankfurt – and the successor Hansi Flick Bayern with the rehabilitated leader Müller led to the triple title in a few months.

“Emergency seam” statement about Müller

Former Bayern captain Stefan Effenberg recalled the breakup between Kovac and Müller in the fall of 2019. “Thomas Müller only played a supporting role under Kovac at Bayern at the time and was described by him as an ’emergency stitch’. It’s still somewhere in the back Müller’s mind”, wrote Effenberg in his column on t-online.de.

Kovac didn’t just demote Müller. Before a game, he also expressed his displeasure with the Bayern veteran. “If a man is needed, he will certainly get his minutes.” Soon after, Kovac got into trouble – and Müller’s thoughts about a possible change of club quickly evaporated.

Now Müller could want to make up for the old scoring when Kovac returns to the Allianz Arena. Wolfsburg have never won in Munich – there were a total of 23 defeats and two draws. Kovac knows what can happen to him: “The worst thing happens when you fall apart in Munich, then it will be really cordial.” Müller is looking forward to the next play with the newly formed Bayern attack: “Of course we are very variable up front. And it’s nice when it’s going so well at the moment. It’s working very well,” said the 32-year-old.

Kovac considers Mané-Bayern to be at least as good as the former Lewandowski-Bayern. “I’ve read a lot that Bayern are much worse this year because Robert Lewandowski is gone. And after just one matchday, everyone has to calm down,” he said, stressing: “For me it’s the number 1 title contender.”

Nagelsmann is calm

His Munich successor Julian Nagelsmann can look forward to the game relaxed. He has no reason to change his top harmonizing eleven, he said. Stars like Leroy Sané or an expensive newcomer like defensive boss Matthijs de Ligt must also be patient on the bench before the English weeks. “We are still in the humane phase of the season,” Nagelsmann noted. Only when the Champions League starts will there be more changes.

On Friday, Nagelsmann described coaching opponent Kovac as an “emotional coach who likes to let football work”. A lot of work should be needed, especially in the Wolfsburg defence, to stop Müller and co. By the way: In the last duel as an opponent of FC Bayern, Kovac won the DFB Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018 – after a completely surprising 3-1 in the final in Berlin.

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