Like the hopes and dreams of so many people who thought one line of cocaine during the 80s would not be a big deal, the downfall of Niko Kovac at Bayern Munich started in Miami.
According to an absolutely insane report from Bild (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia), Kovac’s standing at the club quickly fell apart in his first season during the International Champions Cup series / Audi Summer Tour.
Here are the details:
- After playing against Juventus in Philadelphia during the summer tour of exhibition matches, Bayern Munich headed to Miami for a showdown with Manchester City. The Bavarians were feeling the sting of the World Cup and were missing almost all of their key players. Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Rafinha, Javi Martinez, and Sven Ulreich among the experienced player within group and were complimented by a huge cast of youngsters, many of whom have already moved on.
- While in Miami, the team had planned a night out, but Kovac found out and squashed the idea. The players were disappointed because they felt like they have practiced well and deserved to be able to hit the town. Kovac, meanwhile, wanted the team to be focused on the Manchester City friendly. The team was allegedly “demotivated and disappointed.”
- While unhappy, some of the group was undeterred by Kovac’s demand to stay disciplined. Rafinha, Alaba and Ribéry plotted to lead a ‘revolt’ and planned to go out anyway. The trip started a WhatsApp group called “Miami Nights” and included the entire team.
- Rafinha — who apparently gave zero (bleeps) on this trip — called for the Code Red. In this the Code Red was “Vamooosss! Vamooosss”, which meant the Miami Flee Party was on and starting in 15 minutes!
- The excitement of doing something bad apparently made the group brazen and some of the players did not attempt to even be sneaky about it. Instead, they sauntered out of the hotel — despite being seen by assistant coach Robert Kovac.
- The players — allegedly — did not care, hit a local club, and returned to the hotel at 6AM worse for the wear. The report does not specifically call out who those players were or how many were involved.
- The big test was to see how Niko Kovac would react knowing his players disobeyed his “stand down” order.
- So...what did Niko Kovac do? Nothing. He ignored it.
- A player told Bild journalist Christian Falk the following in the aftermath: “When a coach makes such a statement, he has to follow it up with consequences. We’d have accepted that. By not saying anything, Kovac lost us. The team went out again and it went on for the next few months. The respect for him was gone from the start.”
Wow...that was a wild ride and lot to unpack, so let me do this bullet style:
- Chris Richards had just joined the team at this time...he must have though he joined a frat house.
- There is zero shot that Robben went out right? He stayed in the hotel and called the front desk about his towels not being folded properly.
- Miami Nights is legendary. This should be a t-shirt.
- Kovac probably regrets how he handled this for a couple of reasons, but mostly because he should have built in one night for the players to just get Miami out of their system.
- The boss, however, was in a terrible spot. He was new to the team and if he cracked down on respected veterans, he knew he would likely lose the team. Unfortunately for him, he allegedly lost the team anyway. It was a total no-win situation for the manager.
- How did the Bayern Munich players mobilize that quickly? 15 minutes? Craziness!
Look, it was Bild and all of that, but....admit it, you can totally see this being true can’t you?