Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has revealed that Eintracht Frankfurt boss Niko Kovac will replace Jupp Heynckes as coach of the record German champions on a three-year deal, starting 1 July.
Kovac, 46, has been in charge of Eintracht since March 2016, saving them from relegation before leading the Eagles to the DFB Cup final in his first full season in charge. In the current campaign he has guided them to fifth place in the Bundeslga and to the last four of the cup.
“Niko’s done a fantastic job, he took over Frankfurt when they were in a difficult position and now they’re pushing for Europe,” Salihamidzic told FCBayernTV. “He also has international experience, having taken Croatia to the World Cup.”
As well as his impressive managerial record, the former Croatia international also meets Bayern’s wish to have a German speaker at the helm. Born in Berlin, Kovac played for Bayern as a midfielder between 2001 and 2003, when he was a team-mate of Salihamidzic.
“Niko played for Bayern, and knows the people in charge, as well as the structures and DNA of the club very well,” Salihamidzic continued. “We’ve convinced he’s the right trainer for the future of FC Bayern. There are parallels with Jupp Heynckes, too.”
Bayern have been on the lookout for a new boss after failing to persuade Heynckes to stay on for another season, and they vowed to have a new man lined up by the end of April.
Heynckes was only tempted out of retirement in order to help Bayern after they sacked Carlo Ancelotti last October. The 72-year-old has since guided them to a 27th Bundesliga title and a place in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, where the five-time winners will face holders Real Madrid.