Bayern Munich have sacked Niko Kovac as manager after Saturday’s embarrassing 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, the club announced on Sunday.
“The performance of our team in recent weeks and the results have shown us that there was need for action. [Bayern club president] Uli Hoeness, [sporting director] Hasan Salihamidzic and I had an open and serious conversation with Niko on this basis on Sunday with the consensual result that Niko is no longer coach of FC Bayern,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a club statement.
The defeat by Eintracht was Bayern’s second of the season, but they have also drawn three and are in fourth place in the league standings.
“We all regret this development. I would like to thank Niko Kovac on behalf of FC Bayern for his work, especially for winning the doubles this past season,” added Rummenigge.
Assistant coach Hans Flick will take charge of Bayern’s Champions League clash with Olympiakos on Wednesday and for next Saturday’s key clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Kovac, who took over at Bayern in 2018 after a spell in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt, said it was the “right decision”.
“The results, and also the way we last played, made me come to that decision,” he said.
“During this time, our team has won the championship, the DFB Cup and the Supercup. It was a good time. I wish the club and the team all the best.”
Kovac’s team wowed Europe with a 7-2 rout of last year’s beaten finalist Tottenham in the Champions League on Oct. 1, but struggled in every game since.
They lost 2-1 at home to Hoffenheim in the following game and then drew 2-2 at struggling Augsburg. They failed to impress in narrow wins over Olympiakos (3-2 away), promoted Union Berlin (2-1 at home) and only barely scraped past second-division Bochum (2-1 away) in the German Cup last Tuesday.
“It’s not a huge surprise what happened,” Bayern captain Manuel Neuer said of the defeat in Frankfurt. “It’s just not happening. Something has to change.”
While Robert Lewandowski proved a reliable goal-scorer, the rest of the team lacked balance and Kovac’s problems were made worse by serious injuries to defenders Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez. Jerome Boateng will be suspended for the game against Dortmund following his early red card in Frankfurt.
Bayern have already conceded more goals in the league, 16, than Union Berlin. It’s the side’s worst defensive record since Jurgen Klinsmann was coach in 2008.
Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.