Niko Kovač Second Ever to Win Bundesliga Title as Player and Coach

Daniela Rogulj

Former Croatia national team coach Niko Kovač did not hide his joy after Bayern Munich defeated Eintracht 5-1 to win the Bundesliga title in the final round, reports on May 18, 2019. 

Just before the final round, Bayern Munich had only two more points than Borussia Dortmund and needed a victory against Eintracht to claim their seventh consecutive Bundesliga title. Borussia faced Mönchengladbach in the last leg and their hope for the title could be secured only if Bayern lost and they won. 

Bayern celebrated 5-1, while Borussia won 2-0, which kept the Bavarian club two points up on Borussia for the title. 

Behind Bayern coach Niko Kovač is a tough season which the media ruthlessly displayed. Kovač had disagreements with his players and was criticized by the club’s leaders. At one point, Bayern was nine points behind Borussia Dortmund, but Kovač managed to prevail and eventually win the championship with the ovation of a packed Allianz Arena.

“I believe I will lead Bayern next season. I am confident that I will continue, I have first-hand information, not second-hand,” Kovač said after winning.

Niko Kovač is just the second former Bayern player after Franck Beckenbauer to win the Bundesliga title as a player and a coach. 

However, the journey to the top was anything but smooth.

Recall, Bayern had a poor start to the season and after 15 rounds, they were nine points behind Borussia. Then, it seemed an impossible mission to compensate from so far behind. Halfway through the season, Borussia was up six points, and after 20 rounds, seven. However, only four rounds later, Bayern caught up, and both teams had 54 points after the 24th round. 

Borussia then went into crisis, and from the 20th to the 24th round, they secured just one win, two draws and one defeat, while Bayern managed four wins in a row. In the key match of the season, Bayern crushed Borussia 5-0 and made a significant step on the road to the record 29th championship title.

“It was not an easy season, I think we all saw it,” said Kovač, before adding:

“We were nine points behind; however, what the team did after all the criticisms shows the quality of these players.”

Kovač commented on the ovations of fans who chanted his name.

“The fans sang my name? Of course, I am happy; I’m a man of blood and flesh,” Kovač concluded. 

This is Kovač’s second trophy at the helm of Bayern after winning the Superkup at the start of the season with a 5-0 win against Eintracht. On May 25, Bayern will play in the Cup final against RB Leipzig.

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