Feature: Kovac solving his Muller problem - for one game

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 17, 2019
Adjust font size:

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- The dissatisfaction of Bayern Munich's most prominent substitute remains a problem for Niko Kovac.

When facing FC Augsburg this weekend in the Bundesliga, the Bayern Munich coach might manage to ease the tensions surrounding former German international Thomas Muller, as the striker is expected to be in Kovac's starting 11.

It would be the 30-year-old striker's first appearance after five games spent either as a substitute or not in the squad.

However, Brazilian midfielder Coutinho is likely to return to the starting lineup as early as next week for the Champions League clash against Greek side of Olympiakos.

While Kovac having chosen the 27-year-old South American to set behind spearhead Robert Lewandowski and inside wingers Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, Muller has lost out in the battle for a starting spot.

Benching Coutinho this time seems understandable, as the Brazilian international only returned to Munich on Tuesday after lengthy travel with his national team.

But smart crisis management is required for Kovac to keep everyone's feet behind the line in future.

The tabloid Bild called the Bayern coach's move a "tranquilizer" for Muller after weeks of ongoing turmoil for the Bavarian side. Pundits rate Muller's chances of game-time as low, with only an injury crisis said to improve his situation.

The striker is expected to demand to play more often in important games.

Kovac's standing within the club is still said to be insecure, and far from the comfortable position enjoyed by former coaches such as Pep Guardiola.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added that he can understand Muller's unrest "as he would be at the wrong club" if he accepted his downgrading without complaint. Muller, he said, is far from a gap-filler, but is a vital part of the club, as much for his Bavarian roots as his qualities as a footballer.

The forward announced that he would consider his future with Bayern if he does not receive more playing time, despite having a contract until 2021.

Aside from the current situation, Muller seems the right man to beat underdogs Augsburg, as he has scored seven goals in 14 clashes against the FCA.

A good performance from Muller could increase the pressure on Kovac, who is highly dependent on good results over the coming weeks.

The former Croatian national coach is said to face a decisive period, as further missteps won't be accepted following a 2-1 home defeat to TSG Hoffenheim two weeks ago.

Kovac did not discuss detailed plans for the Augsburg game but said "we want to get back to the top spot this weekend." He added that having a squad of Bayern's quality around is always hard work for a coach "but believe me, coaches are always trying to find the best solution for everybody." Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter