In Rottach-Egern am Tegernsee the sun has been burning on Bayern’s back for days. Niko Kovač nevertheless demands everything from his players and they toil towards the start of the season. Joshua Kimmich last spoke of “more extensive training”, in which a lot of emphasis is placed on basic endurance.
Longer and shorter sprints, endurance training, strength exercises – Kovač has already been compared to Felix Magath. Kimmich is convinced that “this will benefit them during the season.”
Different day, same heat. Müller and Hummels enjoy the shadow that a golf cart casts on them. They don’t have much time for that. Kovač is already on his way, and sends the two stars to the fans to sign autographs.
The new Bayern coach leaves a good impression these days. On the one hand, he radiates determination, passion and ambition during the training sessions. Clear announcements and many individual conversations should contribute to the implementation of his ideas. But he doesn’t exaggerate that determination.
At public events such as on the training ground, Kovač radiates a calm and serenity that could still be very valuable for the Munich-based team. Because the new season is about to begin. The rising heat increasingly corresponds to the pressure that is building up again in Bayern. There is only one prescription for both symptoms: keeping a cool head.
Frankfurt is the first benchmark
On Sunday his team will be able to prove itself in its first competitive game. The personnel situation looks quite good: Goretzka and Gnabry are being integrated step by step, and James has already been able to complete full training sessions. All three played the last test match against FC Rottach, although Goretzka arrived with a plaster cast on his hand, which should not prevent his use on Sunday.
Sanches, on the other hand, will be missing from the team with a lumbar vertebrae problem, while Boateng has not yet seen a transfer. The central defender completed the secret training during the week, as the Abendzeitung reported, but stayed out of the game against Rottach for the full 90 minutes. Sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić referred to a minor muscle injury.
In Frankfurt Niko Kovač will not only meet a better opponent, but also his past. Only a few months ago he defeated FC Bayern in the DFB Pokal final with Eintracht. Of course he will be interested to see what the atmosphere is like. A quick return is usually not easy, which is something Mats Hummels can tell him a thing or two about.
But much more important for the coach is what he can start to test on Sunday. Until now, his experiments have been limited. Presumably because he will rely on the tried and tested regardless. The first few weeks left no doubt about that.
Peter Hermann will be joining the team soon, the squad has hardly changed and in general Jupp Heynckes’ approach was by no means bad. Kovač has no reason to completely change the style. For example, it was clear in previous games that half space overloads by eights and attackers will continue to be used. As a result, the focus is once again on the strong one-on-one players on the wings.
Against Frankfurt, however, he has the opportunity to test several offensive options. The fact that a trophy is also awarded should be of secondary importance. The Supercup does not have the status to subordinate everything to victory.
Especially since SGE will also be using the match against Bayern to determine how the new ideas of Adi Hütter can be implemented. During the early test games and training sessions for Frankfurt, it was noticeable that they were putting even more pressure on their opponents, and even wanted to attack their opponents depending on the situation.
Again and again Hütter trained various pressure situations in the tightest of spaces, which caused his players’ heads to burst. On the one hand, to strengthen the decision making process in possession of the ball, on the other hand, to train targeted strikes. The transition moments are important.
While the offensive approach failed in their first tests, Eintracht was more successful with a somewhat lower, but still aggressive, midfield pressure. A more cautious approach is also to be expected against Bayern, although there could also be phases in which they push forward.
Either way, the Frankfurters are a physically outstanding side that knows how to make a mess of their opponent’s approach. Something they learned under Kovač.
He’ll be on the other side now. He will no longer have to create chaos, but will have to find solutions to eliminate it. Flexibility, aggressiveness, calmness, not too much risk in possession of the ball – the new coach’s ideas currently resemble a big puzzle.
He has not yet been able to assemble the individual parts in such a way that his idea for the future has been revealed. Only the game structure, which is strongly focused on the half-spaces, attracted attention. Ancelotti had similar ideas at that time, but failed for a long time because of the adequate occupation of the ten space.
For the first time, Kovač will have to deal with slight pressure of expectation with the duel against his former employer. From now on the games become more and more important and his ideas will become more and more visible.
Supercup, DFB Pokal and then the Bundesliga opening match against Hoffenheim on the 24th of August. By then at the latest, his team will have to play football at a high level for the first time in order to avoid screwing up the important start to a trend-setting season.
That’s why it’s good that FC Bayern at Tegernsee currently has not only enough water against the heat, but also a coach who has so far managed to deal calmly and steadily with ever-increasing pressure. A cool head is often underestimated in summer.
We’ve come up with a new game for the coming season. Fatbardh Aliaj (in the comments FR7) has recently done everything in his comments to uphold our five theses. After exchanging on Patreon that we would like to bring back the theses, we developed a new concept: The Theses Duel.
Fatbardh will compete against me (Justin) the whole season. However, not – as usual – with five theses, but with three and one prediction for the line-up.
This is how it will look in detail:
- Thesis 1: A goal scorer is chosen. The player may be chosen from both teams and it may also be guessed that no goal will be scored. It is prohibited to use tips such as: “Lewandowski will not score a goal.” In addition, it will not be allowed to guess the same scorer in two matches in a row.
- Thesis 2: Here you can choose freely. However, the thesis must be clear enough for a decision.
- Thesis 3: Before the games the participants alternately determine a number. Both must then decide whether they will score more or less goals. Example: 2.5 is selected as the number. The participants must then decide whether they expect fewer (i.e. a maximum of 2 goals) or more (i.e. at least 3 goals) goals.
- In addition, the entire line-up of Bayern is predicted. It does not matter in which system the players are set up.
For each correct thesis there is one point. For every correct player there will be 0.2 points. Since there is hardly ever any rotation in the goal anyway, there are no points awarded. This means that a maximum of 5 points per matchday is possible.
For the Supercup game we are testing the format and the points will not count towards the season.
- Goal scorer: Kingsley Coman
- Free thesis: More than three yellow cards will be distributed.
- Over/Under 2.5 (selected by Justin): Under!
- Line-up: Neuer – Süle, Martínez, Hummels – Kimmich, Goretzka*, Thiago, Alaba – Coman, Lewandowski, Ribéry
- Goal scorer: Robert Lewandowski
- Free thesis: Bayern will score on two set pieces.
- Over/Under 2.5: Over!
- Line-up: Neuer – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Thiago, James, ?* – Robben, Lewandowski, Coman
We ask for feedback on the implementation and creative suggestions for the name of the “competition”. This season Fatbardh gets a permanent place as my opponent for his effort in the comments. For the coming season I will look for a new opponent, or change regularly.
*We had Tolisso here first. Since he’s still on vacation, he drops out.