A master coach returns: Kovac before Wolfsburg change

He won the DFB Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt and the double with Bayern Munich. In the coming season, Niko Kovac should lead VfL Wolfsburg to success again.

Is about to return to the Bundesliga: Niko Kovac. (Image: dpa)
(Foto: Šimánek Screw/CTK/dpa)

Wolfsburg – He could have returned to Berlin. His home club Hertha BSC was very interested. He reportedly wanted to move to England.

The Premier League was always considered his dream destination. In fact, Niko Kovac will most likely become the new coach of VfL Wolfsburg from July 1st. The “Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung” reported on Wednesday evening about a decision in favor of the 50-year-old. “Kicker” and “Bild” later enriched this report with details such as a contract term until June 30, 2025.

Compared to his traded and previous coaching stations (Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern Munich, AS Monaco), Wolfsburg is certainly not the most dazzling option for Kovac. But this rather unexpected return of a champion coach to the Bundesliga also shows that the Volkswagen club has a lot to offer an ambitious coach like him. The money flows reliably at this location even in times of a pandemic. The training conditions are among the best in the league.

Coach search probably ended quickly

It is no coincidence that VfL can apparently end their search for a coach faster than their competitors in Augsburg, Mönchengladbach and Schalke. The separation from Florian Kohfeldt was only announced last Sunday.

In this case, there is also the fact that Kovac’s very direct and demanding nature is not considered a flaw in Wolfsburg, unlike in Munich and especially Monaco, but as a kind of job profile. After the sporting crash of the past few months, VfL was specifically looking for someone who would give the team a new thirst for success, a new level of fitness and a tactical identity.

Kohfeldt was no longer trusted. His predecessor Mark van Bommel had created many of the problems in the first place. But Kovac told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” in a major interview this week: “Every coach gives his maximum, everyone wants to be successful. But my whole life has consisted of being very diligent. I took that with me to my coaching job.” You have to “take the players with you and inspire them, but you also have to demand a lot from them and encourage them. It’s a fine line.”

The former Bundesliga professional with German and Croatian citizenship knows his reputation. “You know all the stories: Kovac trained again for two and a half hours,” he said. But they want someone like him in Wolfsburg. Plus his name, plus his achievements.

Double winner with Bayern

Kovac led the Croatian national team to the 2014 World Cup, Eintracht Frankfurt to the 2018 DFB Cup victory and FC Bayern Munich to the 2019 championship and cup double. Not even six months later he had to leave the German record champions.

In Wolfsburg, he should lead VfL back into European competition with young and ambitious newcomers like Patrick Wimmer (Arminia Bielefeld) and Jakub Kaminski (Lech Posen). “Next year we would like to play for these places again,” said Florian Kohfeldt when he assumed at the beginning of the month that he would be allowed to stay as a coach. That will now be the task for Niko Kovac.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220519-99-360215/2

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