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With rigorous training, Niko Kovac has already whipped an overweight Renato Sanches into shape

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Acute attention to detail in every third of the pitch is the name of the game for Kovac and company, especially his Portuguese project, Renato Sanches

FC Bayern AUDI Summer Tour 2018 - Day 2
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 24: Team coach Niko Kovac of FC Bayern Muenchen reacts during a training session on the second day of their FC Bayern AUDI Summer tour 2018 on July 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
FC Bayern AUDI Summer Tour 2018 - Day 2 PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 24: Team coach Niko Kovac of FC Bayern Muenchen reacts during a training session on the second day of their FC Bayern AUDI Summer tour 2018 on July 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern)

Niko Kovac has now spent just under a month’s time working with the majority of Bayern Munich’s squad who didn’t participate in the World Cup. Most of the World Cup players just returned to Säbener Strasse this week whilst the rest of the squad is in the United States for the preseason Audi Tour.

Per a report by SportBild, Kovac has implemented a very structured system of operating his sessions, dividing every third of the pitch into different zones during scrimmages. Since Kovac uses a coordinated series of commands with code words and phrases (including “Sandwich position!”), even the non-German-speaking players in the squad, such as Renato Sanches, know exactly what Kovac wants, where he wants to ball to be played, or where he wants players to shift their positioning.

Tactically, different scenarios are rehearsed to try and simulate how opponents will deploy different systems and counter whatever Bayern are doing. In his time as Eintracht Frankfurt, Kovac showcased tactical flexibility, as he often made adjustments from his favored 3-5-2 formation.

FC Bayern AUDI Summer Tour 2018 - Day 2
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 24: Team coach Niko Kovac of FC Bayern Muenchen reacts during a training session on the second day of their FC Bayern AUDI Summer tour 2018 on July 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Kovac shouting tactical instructions during a training session in Philadelphia.
(Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern)

Kovac’s belief in a renewed Renato Sanches

Kovac has also been outspoken about the fact that he wants Renato Sanches to find renewed success at Bayern after the Portuguese 20-yeard old experience a difficult loan spell in the Premier League with Swansea City. The manager has asked the rest of the squad to show their full support to Sanches as he tries to jump-start what could be a defining season for him under a new boss.

The midfielder didn’t have the easiest of starts to training this summer, either. SportBild reports that arrived back from vacation overweight. To make matters worse, the first time Bayern went for a ride on bicycles in training, Sanches crashed into a barrier and fell off his bike, and he also embarrassingly fell over during a simple side-stand drill.

Despite some of the minor hiccups in training, Kovav has shown continued faith in the 20-year-old. And Sanches has already rewarded that confidence in some of his preseason performances; most notably, his free-kick goal against Paris Saint-Germain in Austria.