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Highlights from a live Q&A by The Athletic’s Raphael Honigstein

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The journalist and insider talks Bayern, Kovac — and potential replacements! — and more in a live chat before the season begins.

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Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach For DFL Photo by Johannes Simon/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

So this may be cheating, but when a man like Raphael Honigstein talks, Bayern Munich fans listen.

One of the newest writers at The Athletic, Honigstein gave to a live Q&A session on the site and talked all things Bayern, the Bundesliga, Kovac’s future, and more ahead of the season opener today.

Here are some of the highlights:


Bayern Munich:

Question: Who are the leading contenders to replace Kovac (whether by Christmas or next summer)? Nagelsmann after a good year with Leipzig will be wanted by every top club in 2020. Poch could be on the market next summer. Jose and his weekly updates that he’s learning German is floating around.

Raphael Honigstein: There are people working at Bayern who don’t believe Kovac will see out the season. Rather ominously, Bayern have installed Hansi Flick as his assistant, a man who screams perfect caretaker manager. Beyond that, Ralf Ragnick is very much in the mix. I don’t see José at Bayern. Other long-term prospects are Ten Hag and van Bommel. Nagelsmann unlikely to leave after just one year. Same goes for Rose, if he takes BMG to the CL.


Q: Odds of Bayern get Bale on Loan?

RH: (V)ery low. Wages are astronomical.


Q: Any chance of Sane being completed in January? Looks certain he will join

RH: I wouldn’t call it certain — too many variables — but I certainly expect Bayern to try


Q: By the end of the transfer window, how many more signings do you think Bayern will make?

RH: As things stand, two more.


Q: Hey Rafa, how you rate Bayern’s transfer window so far? Do you think there are any more ‘big name’ signings on the horizon?

RH: “must do better” — doesn’t look as if any truly big names are coming.


From around the league

Question: Obviously Lucien Favre’s first season at Borussia Dortmund was a big success. But considering issues he’s had in the past in terms of being very demanding and frustrating dressing rooms, do you think he can keep everyone on the same page and working hard all year again?

Raphael Honigstein: Favre’s obsessive ways can be demanding but so far I haven’t heard anything about players being unhappy etc. That might happen when they’re not playing though - BVB’s squad is very deep. Dortmund believe that the now have a good set-up in the dressing room and for the club itself to balance Favre’s complex character.


Q: How do you think Union Berlin will get on! Loved my trip there 2 seasons ago.. proper football club!

RH: I hope they will survive but it’ll be very tough.


Q: Who do you think will be the breakout stars of the season in the Bundesliga? We all expect Sancho to have another great season but who is relatively unknown currently that you think will have an impact?

RH: Diadie Samassékou looks like great buy for Hoffenheim and keep an eye out on Kelvin Ofori at Dusseldorf


Q: I’ve noticed Frankfurt knocking on the door over the last few seasons, including their Europa League run and DFB-Pokal win. Thoughts on their continued progress?

RH: (T)heir progress has indeed been amazing. I worry they will have trouble replacing Jovic and Haller. But Hütter is a top coach and Bobic one of the smartest sporting directors in the game. Getting close to Europa League places again will be a success.


Q: How are Leipzig and Nagelsmann preparations after their first pre-season together?

RH: Nagelsmann has said the team are not quite playing his football yet. It could take a bit of time, and the CL will complicate matters. But I expect them to be just as good if not a litte better than last season.


Q: Hi Rafa. How can you see Schalke fairing this season? It’s been a rough couple of seasons following them and there doesn’t seem to be a lot to be excited by at the minute. Hoping you can change my thoughts!

RH: Tough one to call. Wagner has had a very positive impact and I like Michael Reschke (Stuttgart notwithstanding). At the same time, the Toennies affair will do a lot of damage to morale and unity. Could be a slow start...