Niko Kovac – the man to make Bayern unbeatable?
Bayern Munich ended speculation over their new head coach on Friday, announcing the appointment of Eintracht Frankfurt's Niko Kovac on a three-year contract.
The 46-year-old, who spent two years at the club as a player and won the Bundesliga title in 2003, will take over from Juppy Heynckes at the Allianz Arena on July 1 this year.
Kovac enjoyed a long playing career for club and country and spent two years at the helm of Croatia, but his two seasons at Frankfurt are the only ones he has had as a head coach at club level.
Bayern's decision is therefore not without an element of risk, but, as Opta data shows, they could be rewarded with a man who could might just make them practically unbeatable.
50 - Niko #Kovac will take charge of @FCBayernEN exactly 50 years after the last Croatian coach did, Branko Zebec, who won the first #Bundesliga title with the club in 1969. Trener. pic.twitter.com/7tEWYiljwR— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) April 13, 2018
72 – Kovac has taken charge of 72 league matches with Frankfurt. His record is a nicely balanced: 28 wins, 28 defeats and 16 draws.
88 – Frankfurt have conceded 88 times in the Bundesliga under Kovac, while they have scored only 82. However, their defence has certainly got stronger under the Croatian: they have only conceded more than three goals in a league match once since May 2017, and were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Bayern in a league meeting in December.
47 – In fact, since Kovac's appointment at Commerzbank-Arena, only Bayern (47) have conceded fewer goals than Eintracht's 88 (which is level with Borussia Dortmund).
1.39 – This is the average number of points per game Kovac has managed. The last Frankfurt boss to achieve that figure or better was Felix Magath, between December 1999 and January 2001. They have had 11 changes of coach since Magath's departure.
19 – Of his 28 Bundesliga wins as coach, 19 have come by a one-goal margin. In the same stretch, no other team has won more than 17 games by a single goal.
#Heynckes on Kovač: "I've read his biography and it's very positive. He is working with many different types of player with varying nationalities in Frankfurt, and he's doing a wonderful job. He is no doubt predestined to coach #FCBayern." pic.twitter.com/rV7rJ94tDf— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) April 13, 2018
If Bayern are looking for defensive steel and a will to win, they certainly look to have got the right man. With seven titles won in a row, perhaps an invincible campaign should be the objective in Kovac's first term in charge...