FC bayern starts a groundbreaking few weeks accompanied by a rough and tumble debate. In eight games within 29 days, coach niko kovac, who is still under pressure, and his stars want to prove that they can master the unfamiliar and unloved role of the manager.
The improved performance of the 2:3 against borussia dortmund, seven points behind, should be a "benchmark basis for the next weeks", according to chairman of the board karl-heinz rummenigge.
"The time has now come for the team to get back on the road to success as of saturday," rummenigge said on thursday evening at the official handover of the team bus at odeonsplatz in the heart of munich.
With all the protection from his bosses, kovac must now deliver consistently with the ensemble – results and playing style. Away from the pressing questions about the new face of the bayern ensemble in the coming summer in the midst of the sporting misery, there is increasing speculation these days about the future in the executive suite. More and more often the name of oliver kahn falls as a top candidate for the reshuffle.
At the annual general meeting next week, in addition to the record championship figures with the sales record of 657.4 million euros, there were also indications of the changes to be made in the management team. President and chairman of the supervisory board uli hoeneb himself had recently fueled the question with chatter about a possible retreat in the next "two or three years. His post is not up for election at the meeting of members in the audi dome. The current term of office lasts until 2019. Rummenigges contract expires shortly thereafter.
After once loose munich mind games, the "suddeutsche zeitung" or "sport bild" speculate with kahn now about concrete scenarios, with an entry as early as autumn 2019 or a return in 2020. "It’s important what he wants from his future," said rummenigge, who declined to speculate. In principle, such personnel matters of the supervisory board were dropped. "This is an important task of the supervisory board, to discuss the future and decide accordingly."Oliver kahn was an "extremely important player in the history of bayern munchen".
Whenever and in whatever role: the mia-san-mia-titan would have been perfect for an office at the club, which he drove to numerous titles from 1994 to 2008 with his always-on creed. A situation like the current one in the bundesliga, with the highly unusual rank of fifth, had surely only spurred the 49-year-old on even more.
Now the current generation of serial champions is challenged. "Seven points is not a lead that can never be recovered at this stage. But we’re in debt for now," said co-captain thomas muller. "We must see that we get points on our sheet."
The table 17. Fortuna dusseldorf on saturday should be the perfect opening opponent for a rough hunt for points and goals before christmas. Franck ribery is in particular focus after his most recent freak-out, when he attacked a french TV employee after the BVB summit. Regardless of this, some stars are playing for keeps. Hoeneb already announced to look closely the next three, four months, "who is usable, and who is not".
In the champions league, the eighth finals are practically assured and are to be made perfect on tuesday against benfica lisbon. The wintering in the DFB cup is fixed. But what is still possible in the bundesliga, where hoeneb is "very optimistic about the next few weeks until christmas"?? Instead of speculating about the timing of the next autumn championship, as in previous years, munich must first return to the top flight.
"We must not talk about the title. I don’t think we are good enough for that at the moment. You have to be that realistic. But I’m very confident that we can achieve a lot if we get our act together again," said arjen robben.
Never before had munich made up such a rough deficit at this point in time. "Statistics are there to be broken," robben said these days in the sportschau club. His short break due to knee problems is coming to an end. The comeback of kingsley coman (torn syndesmosis ligament), who has been injured for three months, is getting closer.
"In the second third of the season you can still do a lot of good, that’s what we want," was kovac’s cautious assessment. Researcher was joshua kimmich: "the hunt can begin."