Bayern Munich’s poor run of form over the past two weeks has caused an outpouring of negative reactions and criticism lodged towards players, the coaching staff, and even the club’s front office. Justifiably: four matches without a win across competitions at a club like Bayern is significant cause for concern, and Bayern need to turn a sharp corner right after the international break concludes.
After the 3-0 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Lothar Matthäus questioned the attitude of some of the players in the squad so far this season, specifically referencing James Rodriguez, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and Robert Lewandowski (via Blick and Bild):
There are too many one-man-companies at Bayern. Too many players who only think of themselves. Players like James and Lewandowski put themselves above the club; Robben and Ribéry, too. The one whines that he’s not playing enough; the other that he doesn’t get enough balls, and the third one curses when he’s subbed or goes crying to the journalists. Some stars act egotistically and disrespectfully toward the coach, club, and teammates.
Matthäus particularly singled out James, who has struck a frustrated figure this season due to a lack of minutes under Niko Kovac. His conduct on and off the pitch does not warrant a consistent starting spot in Kovac’s starting eleven, according to Matthäus:
Just because Kovac doesn’t put his arm around him as often as Jupp Heynckes did, doesn’t mean he can react so furiously. And show a reaction despite that on the pitch. Against Gladbach, not the slightest sign at all. What I saw from him there confirmed Kovac: playing like that is only good enough for the bench. But what’s also important now is this: there has to be a declaration by the bosses, that they stand in solidarity with the coach. It can’t be the case that everything gets pinned on the coach.
Hopefully for Bayern, this is only a temporary blip for James. The Colombian struggled to hit his stride early last season, but enjoyed a fantastic return to form after Jupp Heynckes came back to take over for Carlo Ancelotti. James has turned his season around before, so there’s no reason he can’t do it again with Kovac.
Additionally, Matthäus argued that some of the more veteran players in the squad should be more open to Kovac’s rotation policy. Matthäus stressed that the front office also has to send a clear message to the players in support of the coach. If a player’s attitude isn’t right, Matthäus feels, he can be benched to keep his ego in check:
On the one hand, Uli Hoeness has to stop making statements like the ones about rotation. He and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic have to make it clear to the players that they have to change their negative body language. If someone acts up egotistically, then he can sit on the bench for four weeks. And with respect to rotation, the older players have to see that it helps them. If they play every time, they’ll be injured in November.
Despite all of the unrest surrounding the club right not, Matthäus still feels that Kovac is the right man for the job and fully backs the Croatian to get Bayern back on the right track after the international break:
He’s an ambitious guy with a plan, a football-nut. He’s the right man to put the ship back on course.