Bayern Munich part company with Niko Kovac following 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt

Niko Kovac on the touchline
Under Kovac, Bayern won the Bundesliga by two points last season

Bayern Munich have parted company with manager Niko Kovac.

The decision follows Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, which was the German champions’ second in 10 Bundesliga games this season.

Kovac leaves with Bayern fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

The 48-year-old former Croatia midfielder had been in charge since July 2018 and led Bayern to a league-and-cup double last season.

Kovac won 45 of his 65 games in charge of Bayern but Saturday’s defeat was the club’s heaviest in the Bundesliga in 10 years.

Bayern said in a statement the decision had come as “result of a mutual discussion with Niko Kovac on Sunday.”

Chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said: “The performances of our team in recent weeks and the results have shown us that there was a need for action.

“We had an open and serious discussion with Niko this Sunday based on that and came to the mutual decision that Niko is no longer head coach of FC Bayern.

“We all regret this development. I would like to thank Niko Kovac on behalf of FC Bayern for his work, particularly for last season’s double win.”

Kovac was also quoted in the statement on the club’s website as saying he thought it “was the correct decision for the club at this time”.

“The results and the way we’ve played lately have led me to this decision,” he said. “My brother Robert and I would like to thank FC Bayern for these past 18 months. During that time our team won the Bundesliga, the DFB Cup and the Supercup. It was a good time. I wish the club and the team all the very best.”

Assistant coach Hansi Flick will take charge of Bayern in the Champions League against Olympiakos on Wednesday (17.55 GMT) and Borussia Dortmund on Saturday (17.30).

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane “is not a diver” according to Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp, despite the forward being booked for the offence at the weekend.

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane went to the ground in the penalty area under a challenge from Aston Villa’s Frederic Guilbert, but was then booked with a VAR check confirming there was no penalty. Mane went on to score a 94th-minute winning goal

Liverpool are top of the Premier League, six points ahead of second-placed City with the two teams meeting at Anfield on Sunday.

However, the German said he “was not in the mood to talk about Man City” as the Reds play Belgian side Genk in the Champions League first.

Asked if he was banning the words ‘Manchester City’ until after Tuesday’s match, Klopp replied: “You can say the words Man City, you just cannot think about it.

“The story the boys wrote in the last three years was only possible because we were always focused on the next game.

“No-one thinks, and I don’t have to tell them, ‘City is on Sunday, tomorrow is Genk’.

“I don’t doubt my players at all, I would feel a bit embarrassed if I had to tell them, ‘Don’t think about Man City already’.”

John Stones: Man City defender suffers muscle injury

John Stones of Manchester City
John Stones arrived at Manchester City from Everton in August 2016

Manchester City and England defender John Stones will be out for between four and five weeks after suffering a muscle injury in training.

The injury is a setback for City, who are also without Aymeric Laporte until January or February because of injury.

It leaves City with one established central defender in Nicolas Otamendi.

The injury comes as City prepare for a busy period of games in the Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup.

Stones, 25, could miss up to eight league and cup matches for reigning Premier League champions City, who suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat at newly-promoted Norwich last Saturday.

“”For me as a manager it is an incredible challenge,” said City boss Pep Guardiola after revealing the news about Stones’ injury during a news conference.

“But I believe in something people don’t know about – spirit and commitment. We will make steps forward to solve this problem.”

After facing Shakhtar, City entertain Watford on Saturday before playing Championship Preston at Deepdale in the third round of the EFL Cup next Tuesday.

City are away to Everton on 28 September, host Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on 1 October before welcoming Wolves to Etihad Stadium five days later.

After the international break, Pep Guardiola’s side are at Crystal Palace on 19 October and then host Italian side Atalanta in the Champions League three days later.

France centre-back Laporte, 25, had surgery on his right knee after being carried off during the 4-0 win over Brighton on 31 August.

City are second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Liverpool.

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November 2019