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Bayern Munich shakeup: Could Niko Kovac be set to cut a fan favorite?

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He’s done it before, and some are speculating that he’s going to do it again.

Arsenal FC v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Bayern Munich have completed their US tour and are safely back at the Sabener Strasse. With the new season just weeks away and a full squad under his scrutiny, coach Niko Kovac may have some important decisions to make regarding his veterans and Bayern’s fan favorite players.

An article on TZ speculates that Kovac may be ready to phase out a high profile member of Bayern’s squad. Looking back to his days at Frankfurt, Kovac virtually ended the career of club legend Alexander Meier.

Meier, who joined Frankfurt in 2004, was a stalwart veteran and beloved by the fans. In the back end of the 2016-17 season, he suffered a heel injury that ended his run. When he returned, he was no longer wanted — Kovac having moved on with his new striker Kevin-Prince Boateng. Meier only played three minutes in the Bundesliga last season. He now finds himself cast out from Frankfurt and without a club.

TZ speculates that a similar fate could be in store for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Bayern’s aging winger duo. The reasoning is sound. Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry have shown themselves quite capable and in need of starting minutes, which will have to come at the expense of someone else. When MLS starlet Alphonso Davies joins the club in January, there will be even less game time to go around.

Could Robben and Ribery be the first Bayern players to be Meier’d? It makes a lot of sense — but they’re not the only ones who should be concerned. Kovac says he doesn’t care about age, which might worry Thomas Muller, whose spot in the first XI is under serious threat from James Rodriguez and Thiago Alcantara. It’s no stretch to say that Muller is perhaps Bayern’s most popular player, being the last of the homegrown Bavarians coming directly from the club’s youth system. Benching him would be a deeply unpopular move — it was arguably what killed the Ancelotti era.

Whatever he decides, it’s clear that Kovac has a plan for Bayern. What will that entail, and can the young manager afford to upset the fans?

Poll

How would you feel if Kovac benched your favorite player?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    I’ll support him because he is the manager.
    (491 votes)
  • 45%
    I’d surely question his judgement.
    (417 votes)
908 votes total Vote Now