Bayern Munich have officially announced that Niko Kovac will become the new manager come July 1st, succeeding Jupp Heynckes. Kovac will join Bayern after two and a half seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt, during which he took them from a lower-table team to serious contenders for European qualification this season; there can be no disguising his positive impact on the club.
It was only last week that Frankfurt and Kovac had again denied having any contact with Bayern Munich and more-less ruled out the possibility that Kovac might become Bayern’s next manager. Taking that timeline into consideration, it is no surprise that Frankfurt are not happy about Kovac’s sudden departure at the end of the season. Per Abendzeitung, Frankfurt’s sporting director, Fredi Bobic was very critical of the way Bayern kept Eintracht utterly in the dark until Kovac had already accepted:
They did their thing. I find this M.O. extremely dubious and disrespectful. There was not any contact on our part with Bayern whatsoever. The speed [of the transaction] surprised us very much. We didn’t like it at all. Behaving in such a way is out of line in soccer.
Bobic was also particularly angered by the fact that the news was released to the public before either club had officially confirmed Kovac’s summer appointment as Bayern’s new manager:
The fact that information found its way into the public—definitely not from Frankfurt—is disrespectful and inappropriate. That was unprofessional.
During Frankfurt’s press conference ahead of their massive clash against Bayer Leverkusen, Kovac said (via ESPN) “it has nothing to do with Fredi [Bobic] or me that things were made public the way it happened.” Kovac also maintains that Bayern had not contacted him until Thursday, when they presented him with the offer of the three-year contract; an offer he simply couldn’t turn down.
Recognizing the exit clause that was triggered in Kovac’s contract with Frankfurt, Bobic seemed highly frustrated that Bayern was the club to initiate said clause:
Yes, there was an option for Niko Kovac to get out of the contract if an absolute European top club came. It’s annoying we must talk about this. That information also came exclusively from another big German city.
What’s done is done, though, and Kovac will take charge on July 1st of this summer, perhaps leaving a few burned bridges behind in Frankfurt. Bobic declared that he intended to speak with Bayern’s leadership about their actions in the near future.