Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac has urged his team to stick together like a family, amid bad results and reports of dressing room unrest.
Bayern have dropped to third in the Bundesliga and trail leaders Borussia Dortmund by four points ahead of meeting them at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday.
A defeat would see them go into the international break seven points behind Dortmund after just one third of the season.
“If the family sticks together, things are easy. If not, it will fall apart. There are several examples in history. Take Troy or take Caesar,” Niko Kovac told his prematch news conference ahead of their Champions League meeting with AEK Athens on Wednesday.
“We must stick together, that’s the point. Everyone is under the duty to do all we can so we can be successful with the club. I don’t believe it helps when internal affairs are made public. It should not happen. It’s much easier when you stick together.”
Several reports in German media in recent weeks claimed that the relationship between Kovac and his squad was not the best, with kicker claiming on Monday that Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels were not supporting their coach.
Bild, meanwhile, has focused on James Rodriguez, who is said to be at odds with Kovac amid rumours he could leave Bayern in January.
A news conference by Bayern bosses Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge did little to steady the situation. And controversial social media posts by the club itself as well as from Muller’s wife, who questioned Kovac on Saturday, have also caused unrest.
Bayern were also targeted by the most recent Football Leaks published by Der Spiegel on Friday.