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Kovač suggests he will transition Robben and Ribery to new roles off the bench

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The new Bayern boss recognizes the wonderful careers of both veterans, but knows with such success can come some difficulty as the duo nears retirement.

Getty Images for FC Bayern

Niko Kovač has far more depth and talent with this Bayern Munich team than he ever did at Eintracht Frankfurt and the new boss is eager to work with the roster. As captured by AZ from Monday’s press conference, Kovač firmly believes that both players still have much to offer with leadership, experience, and talent; but they may have to accept reduced roles give the squad depth.

Both of them are world-class players, who have accomplished great things in their careers. Both have a high degree of quality, a fantastic personality — they are impulsive people. I know how both of them think and feel. And it’s obvious that players are disappointed when they’re not picked. I’ll definitely talk to them, but it won’t be mainly about that. I’m delighted that I can work with such capabilities. You can’t only always see what’s perhaps negative. There is much more that is positive.

Kovač is entering this relationship with the best intentions and does see the bigger picture of what the players can do to help younger teammates, while still contributing in lesser roles on the field. Both players had brief moments of brilliance last season, but will likely see less playing time with Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, and Thomas Muller also likely to get on the field at the wing positions.

Specifically, Kovač addressed the sometimes volatile Robben, who holds high expectations for himself, his teammates, and his coaches.

He’s now 34 years old and I think that his way of thinking can’t be changed at a moment’s notice. But I’ll try to explain a few things from my point of view and I hope he takes some of it on board.

Clearly Kovač will have to win over many of the veterans on the roster, but his resume and pedigree should at least give him some foundation of credibility among the player.