It is well known that Niko Kovač relies heavily on Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard has been one of the most important players for Kovač this season, if not the most important player. When he is not in the lineup, Bayern seems to struggle to replace its midfield maestro.
He is a coach who wants to get out the best out of each player.
Kovač, of course, is an ex-Bayern player who manned the same position as the Spaniard and played it very well. Kovač might not have been as technically as gifted as Thiago, but he can provide valuable insight on how to best operate defensively. Watching Thiago play under Kovač, we can see that he has implemented those instructions well and improved his play.
Thiago transformed into a fighter
Under Kovač, Thiago has adapted a hard-working style of play, while transitioning from an the “8” position to the “6”. Now, the 27-year-old is not as reluctant when facing rough duels. He is much more aggressive on the ground and in the air than in previous years and looks extremely strong.
Thiago acknowledged that his game has evolved:
With age, you get more experience in football. Also with teammates you play alongside, which makes it different from year to year. Every year I try to be stronger than the year before. Now I’m stronger than last season, and next season I want to be even stronger than now.
Transfer rumors over Barcelona return
Last summer, Thiago’s future was uncertain as there were heavy rumors of a Barcelona return. The former Barca player, however, is bound to Bayern until 2021. With Thiago’s current form, it would not be shocking if Bayern starts to receive even more inquiries for the Spaniard, but Thiago was not interested in a deep dive regarding his future:
Yes, I feel comfortable here and I still have a contract here. We will see.
For now, the Spaniard just wants to think about football, specifically catching the current Bundesliga leaders — Borussia Dortmund.
The next step is the next Bundesliga game, that’s the most important thing. It’s up to us alone.
Thiago has become one of the most important and consistent links for Bayern’s game under Kovac and his presence will be key as Bayern chases BVB and prepares for its Champions League tilt against Liverpool.