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Salihamidzic praises Niko Kovac, Bayern Munich’s preseason preparation

Brazzo had no shortage of praise for how good Kovac and the squad have been.

FC Bayern Muenchen Press Conference
MUNICH, GERMANY - JULY 02: (L-R) FC Bayern Muenchen head coach Niko Kovac and sports manager Hasan Salihamidzic present Niko Kovac's new FC bayern training jacket during FC Bayern Muenchen's season opening press conference at Allianz Arena on July 2, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
FC Bayern Muenchen Press Conference MUNICH, GERMANY - JULY 02: (L-R) FC Bayern Muenchen head coach Niko Kovac and sports manager Hasan Salihamidzic present Niko Kovac’s new FC bayern training jacket during FC Bayern Muenchen’s season opening press conference at Allianz Arena on July 2, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
(Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

It’s been a busy preseason for Bayern Munich under new manager Niko Kovac as they prepare for the upcoming campaign, in which they’ll be going for a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title. There’s been long, intense training sessions, a mixed bag of results in their friendlies, but overall, plenty of progress has been made during the month (and a few days) that Kovac has had with the squad. The World Cup stars have only been back with the rest of the squad for two weeks after their extended holidays, but for most of them, you could hardly tell they haven’t trained with the team for a few weeks.

Speaking (via FCBayern.com) on Bayern’s recent training camp in Tegernsee, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic reflected on the perfect conditions at the facilities in the resort town:

We’ve had super conditions and have been able to train very well. We just feel comfortable here. Everything’s worked out really well.

To round out the week long camp in Tegernsee, Bayern put on a clinic in their 20-2 friendly routing of FC Rottach-Egern, a club who play in the tenth tier of German football. The comprehensive routing outlined how quickly the squad have started to collectively click as they prepare for Sunday’s DFL Supercup against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank Arena. Their cohesiveness, Salihamidzic admits, is a joyous sight and everyone is chomping at the bit to start the new campaign:

The lads have really got on board and shown full commitment. You certainly can’t accuse them of not giving everything. It’s enjoyable to watch them and I’m looking forward to the new season.

Niko Kovac and his staff have implemented their own methods and systems in the training sessions, as Kovac pays acute attention to detail. He has a very structured system of operating his sessions, dividing every third of the pitch into different zones during scrimmages. Since he 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.

Under Kovac, Salihamidzic said, the conditioning has been different than it has been in past years, pushing the players just the right amount:

Niko is a very, very hard worker who’s explained a lot of details to the lads. He’s changed some things which are important for him. In terms of conditioning we’ve worked a bit differently to recent years.

Looking forward, Salihamidzic said it will be back to business this weekend for the DFL Supercup final vs. Frankfurt:

It’s the first proper match, which we obviously to win. We want to get the first trophy. Now things get serious.

Bayern’s preseason at a glance

  • July 5: Niko Kovac has his first official session in charge of the club
  • July 21: Bayern come from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 in their first preseason friendly in Klagenfurt, Austria. Renato Sanches scored a beauteous free kick.
  • July 23: Bayern head to the United States for the brief Audi Tour
  • July 25: Bayern lose 2-0 to Juventus in Philadelphia; Bayern bossed possession, but Juventus were content sitting back in a defensive block
  • July 26: The majority of Bayern’s World Cup stars return to Säbener Strasse to report for training for the first time since their extended holidays
  • July 28: Bayern lose 3-2 to Manchester City in Miami; a second half resurgence from City cancelled out Bayern’s 2-0 lead and Bernardo Silva iced the cake for City with his 70th minute winner. Some of Bayern’s kids looked impressive; Chris Richards, Meritan Shabani, and Paul Will in particular.
  • August 2: The players and staff arrive at their training camp in Rottach-Egern, Tegernsee.
  • August 8: Bayern route FC Rottach-Egern 20-2 in their last friendly before the DFL Supercup final.