Good(ish) news for Niko Kovac! In an insightful interview that touched on many subjects, Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness gave the coach some additional backing that he sorely needed.
First, let’s take a look at what he said about firing coaches:
You mentioned the importance of the coaches for the success of FC Bayern. They have experienced many - and had to dismiss some ...
Hoeneß: ... and that’s the most difficult thing. These are the low points of your own career. Because I’ve always seen the human component. I can remember cases where my throat closed when you had to tell a man with whom you had often worked well for years that things couldn’t go on any longer.
Can you give examples?
Hoeneß: I have often called the dismissal of Jupp Heynckes in 1991 my biggest mistake. It was also crazy for Ottmar Hitzfeld. I invited him to my home with his assistant Michael Henke and their wives. My wife cooked. First we discussed the separation and then ate nicely and celebrated until three o’clock in the morning. That’s the way it goes. In 1996, after a lost game, we had Otto Rehhagel come to Säbener Strasse to tell him that it was over.
I would have liked to have disappeared under the president’s table in Franz Beckenbauer’s office. Franz was tough at the time. I wouldn’t have wanted to do that back then. I would also like to take this opportunity to say that Rehhagel has now become a very good friend of ours.
It’s always fascinating to hear stories like that from a top-level football executive like Uli. As the game becomes more and more commercialized, the human side of football seems to become increasingly diluted. While tends to get criticism for his unfiltered comments, he genuinely does care about the club and everyone connected to it.
Now, here’s the relevant bit about Niko Kovac.
Niko Kovac has followed in the footsteps of Jupp Heynckes and other famous coaches like Pep Guardiola. He hasn’t had an easy first year as a Bayern coach. What does he have to do so that you can trust him with the future?
Hoeneß: What do you mean, what does he have to achieve? I liked the way he led the team out of the difficult valley in November. The team is in upheaval. We also put Niko Kovac under pressure to make the transition with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry. It’s clear that you also have to be patient.
Well there you have it — patience is the name of the game. Judging by the amount of support Kovac has gotten lately, it seems likely that he’s going to be the manager at the beginning of next season.
Big thanks to Deep L Translator for helping us out with the quotations!