Niko Kovac Stokes Bayern Munich Transfer Fire by Praising Leroy Sane & Ousmane Dembele

?Bayern Munich remain keen on signing Manchester City star Leroy Sane this summer following the departures of veteran duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, but Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele is seemingly also of interest to them after a positive review from coach Niko Kovac.

90min reported this week that Sane is open to leaving Manchester City and joining Bayern, with the opportunity to become a more regular starter in Bavaria an important factor.

Gabriel Jesus,Leroy Sane

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has already publicly confirmed the club’s interest in Sane, stating recently, ” The current situation with Sane is that he comes back from vacation this week. We are still looking for wingers as we lost two valuable players in Robben and Ribery.”

At a press conference this week, Kovac added to that by saying, “[Sane] could help us with his skills, as has already been seen in the German national team and in Manchester City.”

But just as interesting were the Croatian’s comments on Dembele, even suggesting that a deal for the French international would be more straightforward if Neymar returns to Camp Nou.

“Dembele is also a great player,” Kovac is quoted as saying by SPORT. “If Barça finally takes Neymar back from PSG, that should increase the chances of reaching an agreement with Dembele.”

Ousmane Dembele

Following the closest Bundesliga title race in years and failure once more to go the distance in the Champions League, Bayern are in the midst of a much needed summer rebuild.

Robben, Ribery, Mats Hummels, James Rodriguez and Rafinha are the high profile names that have left, while close to €120m has already been spent on Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez and Jann-Fiete Arp. But Kovac has ?insisted more players need to arrive.

“Our goals for the season are clear: we want to defend our Bundesliga crown and do much better in Europe than we did last season,” he said.

FBL-GER-BAYERN-MUNICH

“We will be the hunted again in the Bundesliga, we will get pushed to our limits. Injuries must be taken into account. Therefore, I believe that the squad size of 17 will not be quite enough.”

Let’

Mario Mandzukic Drawing Interest From Bundesliga Rivals as Juventus Seek €15m for Veteran Forward

Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund look set to fight it out over the signing of Mario Mandzukic from Juventus.

Mandzukic, who has played for both Wolfsburg and Bayern – spending two seasons at both and notching a total of 68 goals and 26 assists – has been with I Bianconeri since 2015.

Despite his not-so-tender age of 33 and considerable attacking competition, the Croatian was still a major player in Turin last season, appearing in eight of their 10 Champions League games, with all but one coming from the start. 

Mario Mandzukic

However, according to various reports in the Italian media, the striker is available for poaching this summer, thanks to his veteran status as well as the influx of talent descending upon the Serie A champions.

And, as per a report from Sport Bild, his two biggest suitors are the German rivals, with FCB citing Mandzukic as the perfect backup foil for Robert Lewandowski and BVB eager to improve their precocious ranks with a wise head following the departure of Mats Hummels. 

Despite completing several deals as part of a defensive overhaul, including the purchase of World Cup winners Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, Bayern are facing increased pressure to add to their dilapidated strikeforce after the loss of legends Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

The Leroy Sane saga continues to roll on and, though the latest reports (a 90min exclusive) show the youngster is open to a move, with or without his arrival, other options are needed, and Mandzukic’s versatility up front is seen as a major weapon. 


According to Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira, the fee required to pry the forward away from Italy will be €15m, and Dortmund will take their rivals all the way in the pursuit of the target.

Let’

Robert Lewandowski: Why the Pole’s New Contract Will Be the Catalyst for Bayern Munich’s UCL Dream

?Just in case fans across Europe weren’t already aware, Bayern Munich are pretty good at winning Bundesliga title, with very little competition from elsewhere in Germany’s top flight.

But where the Bavarian giants are falling short time after time is in the Champions League, reaching four semi-finals over the last six years only to fall at the penultimate hurdle of European football’s elite competition.

On the face of it, Bayern Munich’s record since they last lifted the coveted trophy in 2013 is actually very impressive, but it’s a polar opposite opinion for those at the Allianz Arena.

Success in the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal – they’ve won three of the last six domestic cups – is always going to be overshadowed by how the club performs in the Champions League.

FBL-EUR-C1-REAL MADRID-BAYERN MUNICH

Bayern Munich have been in desperate need of a rebuild for a number of years and that’s something which has contributed to their ‘failure’ in Europe over the last three years specifically, most recently being knocked out at the last 16 stage of the competition.

New faces like Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard will give the club a much-needed facelift at the back, but it’s Bayern’s ability at the other end of the pitch that will be the difference between success and failure on the biggest stage that club football has to offer.


When Bayern Munich were at their treble-winning peak during the 2012/13 season, it was the devastating partnership of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry – nicknamed Robbéry – that proved to be the difference on so many occasions, with both players on the cusp of turning 30.

Switching to Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman last season was an inspired move (the former was voted as their player of the season) but now attention has to focus on Robert Lewandowski’s role in leading the line in Bavaria.

Jann-Fiete Arp will offer respite in Bayern Munich’s less important matches, but the Poland international will still be needed to carry the club through the latter stages of the Champions League.

FBL-EUR-C1-BAYERN MUNICH-AEK

As the competition’s sixth top goalscorer of all time and with a better record than the likes of Thierry HenryAndriy Shevchenko and even Filippo Inzaghi, Lewandowski has already established himself as one of the all-time greats in the ?Champions League.

But just like Ronaldo Nazário, Zlatan Ibrahimovi? and Ruud van Nistelrooy, the Poland international – who’s been directly involved in 69 goals in just 80 appearances in the Champions League – is at risk of ending his career without a winners’ medal in club football’s biggest competition.

Constant links with Real Madrid throughout his career have appeared to hold Lewandowski back in recent years, with it widely thought that a handful of good performances in Europe would surely land him the only available step up from Bayern.

But Lewandowski’s expected decision to commit his future to the club will all-but end any chance of him ever being unveiled at the Santiago Bernabéu, and he can now focus on his chance to win football’s biggest prize solely with Bayern Munich.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN-MUNICH-TRAINING

Another major boost for the club heading into the new campaign is the extra experience they have with manager Niko Kova?, who showcased his best and worst abilities during last season’s Champions League campaign.

The Croatian is still a relatively inexperienced head coach – last year was his first-ever taste of European football – but 12 months in Bavaria’s notorious hot seat will have him ready to tackle the club’s high expectations next season.

For any chance of following in the footsteps of legendary managers Jupp Heynckes, Dettmar Cramer and Udo Lattek, however, Kova? will have to rely on Lewandowski’s individual ability to help usher in a new golden age for Bayern Munich in Europe.

Let’

Udo Lattek: The Bundesliga Icon Who Shattered European Records

Udo Lattek is number 29 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next six weeks.


Being a manager is by no means an easy job. The work is tiring and the pressure is almost unbearable?, and there are plenty of examples throughout history of people failing to deal with managerial life.

If you don’t dream of being a manager, chances are you won’t be able to cut it. Rarely have we seen people fall into management and take to it like a duck to water, but we haven’t seen many like Udo Lattek.

The German was far more than a manager. He was a brilliant mind and an incredibly ally, and he simply understood what it took to win football matches. 

Wherever he went, trophies followed. He blossomed into one of the game’s all-time greats, but that was never Lattek’s plan.

FUSSBALL: 1. BUNDESLIGA 85/86

Lattek dreamed of becoming a teacher, and he spent his early years working towards such a career. As he was training, he played football casually. Nothing was ever supposed to come of his game but, as a striker with an uncanny aerial ability, he found himself getting more and more involved as the years went by.

By the time he was 30 and already a full-time teacher, he decided to call time on his unspectacular playing career as he successfully applied for a coaching role with Germany’s youth sides. He worked closely with Dettmar Cramer and head coach Helmut Schon, and ultimately found himself part of the coaching staff for West Germany’s 1966 World Cup side.

Given he was just 31 in 1966, he was a similar age to many of the playing squad, including legendary defender Franz Beckenbauer, and his likeable nature saw him strike up a number of close bonds with some of the players.

This worked to his advantage in 1970 when Lattek, with no managerial experience at all, was recommended for the ?Bayern Munich job by Beckenbauer. His appointment could hardly have come as more of a surprise to the world. After all, this was a completely unknown, unproven youth coach taking over one of Europe’s biggest sides. Almost like a real-life game of Football Manager.


Career Honours

?DFB-Pokal (1971, 1984, 1986)
??Bundesliga (1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1985, 1986, 1987)
?European Cup (1974)
?UEFA Cup (1979)
?Cup Winners’ Cup (1982)
?Copa del Rey (1983)

His team already had the likes of Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller, and Lattek managed to bolster his squad with the additions of Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeness, and here began Lattek’s reign of utter dominance.

Bayern won the DFB-Pokal in his first season, before picking up three consecutive ?Bundesliga titles between 1972 and 1974. Yet, many were still not convinced by Lattek, despite the fact the team were showcasing a stunning blend of technical ability and physicality, week in and week out.

After all, he had waltzed into a job with one of the world’s strongest squads at his disposal. Hoeness and Muller were two of the finest in attack, whilst the defensive pairing of Beckenbauer and Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck was unfathomably dominant. Surely anyone could have won trophies with this group, right?

Critics were ecstatic to see results dry up in the early stages of the 1974/75 campaign, and things got so bad that it ultimately cost Lattek his job. Finally, this ‘fraud’ was being exposed in front of the world, and critics were adamant that Lattek would never manage again. 

Udo Lattek

So, when Lattek assumed control of Borussia Monchengladbach the following season, he quickly found himself under the spotlight. Fortunately, Lattek rose to the challenge in emphatic fashion.

He won the Bundesliga title in both of his first two seasons with ‘Gladbach, while he only missed out on adding a third consecutive title through goal difference in the 1977/78 campaign. At this point, he had won the Bundesliga five times, and he soon added a second European title as ‘Gladbach lifted the UEFA Cup in 1979.

He brought his time at ‘Gladbach to an end that summer and jumped ship to ?Borussia Dortmund, in what was certainly the most disappointing spell of his career. Club officials felt Lattek should have been able to lead the team to glory, but their squad was simply too weak to do so.

Dortmund gave Lattek two years to improve the side, but ultimately lacked the patience to rebuild. As a result, he found himself looking for a new job in 1981, and ?Barcelona came calling.

Fussball/Medien: DSF Bundesliga Praesentation 2003

The Blaugrana were full of stars, including Quini, Asensi and Allan Simonsen, who had been a core part of Lattek’s success with ‘Gladbach. 

His first season was a real rollercoaster. Barcelona looked to be on for a league title, only for striker Quini to be terrifyingly kidnapped at gunpoint in March 1981. He went missing for 25 days, and the club struggled to cope without him, failing to win in four games as the players’ minds were understandably elsewhere, before Quini was eventually returned unharmed.

However, next season they stormed to the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1982, which was a historic victory for Lattek.

Winning that trophy meant Lattek became the first manager to ever win three European titles, and the first – and only – to do so with three different clubs. It was clear that Lattek was one of football’s greatest minds, and not just in the right place at the right time.

Things took a turn for the worst for Lattek when a 22-year-old Diego Maradona arrived at Camp Nou the following summer for a record £5m. On paper, this should have been perfect for everyone involved, but it quickly became apparent that that was not the case.

Maradona struggled with injury during the early stages of his Barcelona career but, upon his return, is said to have come back with an ego. This was a 22-year-old who was now the world’s most expensive footballer and, according to Lattek, he began acting like it.


“My only problem was Maradona, who wasn’t used to hard work. Once, he didn’t turn up on time when the team were due to leave. I had two options: wait for him and lose my authority or go without him. We decided to leave and the rest of the players applauded.” Udo Lattek.


Things went downhill very quickly, and Barcelona soon had to choose between Lattek and Maradona. Unsurprisingly, they sided with their soon-to-be star, and Lattek was out of a job.

The German longed to return to a club where he would be respected, and Bayern came calling again in 1983. Hoeness, now acting as a director of the side, did not hesitate to reunite with Lattek, knowing full-well that he would almost guarantee success.

Lattek did not disappoint. He won the cup in his first season, before adding three consecutive Bundesliga titles to his resumé between 1985 and 1987. He now had eight titles to his name, cementing his place in German history.

He left the club soon after as his health began to deteriorate, and he looked to try and take up a more relaxed role. That search led him to 1. FC Koln, where Lattek took up the role of director in 1987.

Fussball: 1. BL 04/05, FC Schalke 04 - FC Bayern Muenchen

He became a hugely popular figure amongst fans, helping the club to a memorable undefeated start to the 1987/88 campaign. His pragmatic approach to football, coupled with his ability to motivate, seemed to be working wonders even from all the way in the boardroom.

After a brief hiatus to pursue a career in journalism, Lattek returned to his director role in 1990, but it was a year later that he made his (brief) return to the dugout. Early in the 1991/92 season, Koln parted ways with manager Erich Rutemoller, and Lattek offered to lead the side for just one game, so a replacement could be found.

His opponent? None other than Bayern Munich.

Lattek led Koln to a 1-1 draw with his former side, before quickly handing control over to new boss Hannes Linssen.


Team Managed

?Bayern Munich (1970-1975)
?Borussia Monchengladbach (1975-1979)
?Borussia Dortmund (1979-1981)
?Barcelona (1981-1983)
?Bayern Munich (1983-1987)
?1. FC Koln (1991)
?Schalke (1992-1993)
?Borussia Dortmund (2000)

Clearly bitten by the managerial bug once more, Lattek made another return to management in 1992, but this time with ?Schalke. He managed six unspectacular months with the club, before being relieved of his duties in January 1993. He retired once more soon after.

For seven years, Lattek enjoyed an impressive journalism career, working with numerous papers as a columnist, as well as a television commentator. However, he just could not stay away from management, answering the desperate call of a Dortmund side in utter turmoil.

Dortmund were supposed to be one of Germany’s finest teams but, with just five games to play in the 1999/00 season, they were just one point about the relegation zone. 

They needed a miracle. 

They needed Lattek.

Under Lattek, Dortmund picked up eight points in their last five games, which was enough to save them from relegation. 

Udo Lattek

He was given a well-deserved heroes welcome, and this would be the last that the football world would see of Lattek, before his death in 2015.

In early life, it was clear that Lattek’s true passion was to inspire those around them. He did so as a teacher, and he certainly did as a manager. Players simply could not help but to give their all for Lattek, who returned the favour by treating his squad as his equals. 

At the time, his approach was unheard of, but that did not phase Lattek, who tackled football in the only manner he knew. He had plenty of critics, but his grit and determination ensured Lattek will be remembered as one of the finest of all time.


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa – El Loco’s Journey From Argentina to Footballing Immortality in Europe

Number 49: Vic Buckingham – How an Englishman Discovered Johan Cruyff & Pioneered Total Football

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: A Ridiculed Tinkerman Who Masterminded One of Football’s Greatest Ever Achievements

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: Mr Tottenham Hotspur, the First Double Winning Manager of the 20th Century

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Scudetto Winning Shagger Who Never Solved the Lampard-Gerrard Conundrum

Number 45: Sir Alf Ramsey: The Man Behind the ‘Wingless Wonders’ & England’s Sole World Cup Triumph

Number 44: Antonio Conte: An Astute Tactician Whose Perfectionist Philosophy Reinvented the 3-5-2 Wheel

Number 43: Kenny Dalglish: The Beacon of Light in Liverpool’s Darkest Hour

Number 42: Massimiliano Allegri: The Masterful Tactician Who Won Serie A Five Times in a Row

Number 41: Sir Bobby Robson: A Footballing Colossus Whose Fighting Spirit Ensured an Immortal Legacy

Number 40: Luis Aragones: Spain’s Most Important Manager, the Atleti Rock and the Modern Father of Tiki-Taka

Number 39: Herbert Chapman: One of Football’s Great Innovators & Mastermind Behind the ‘W-M’ Formation

Number 38: Carlos Alberto Parreira: The International Specialist Who Never Shied Away From a Challenge

Number 37: Franz Beckenbauer: The German Giant Whose Playing Career Overshadowed His Managerial Genius

Number 36: Viktor Maslov: Soviet Pioneer of the 4-4-2 & the Innovator of Pressing

Number 35: Rafa Benitez: The Conquerer of La Liga Who Masterminded That Comeback in Istanbul

Number 34: Zinedine Zidane: Cataloguing the Frenchman’s Transition From Midfield Magician to Managerial Maestro

Number 33: Luiz Felipe Scolari: How the Enigmatic ‘Big Phil’ Succeeded as Much as He Failed on the Big Stage

Number 32: Jupp Heynckes: The Legendary Manager Who Masterminded ‘the Greatest Bayern Side Ever’

Number 31: Vicente del Bosque: The Unluckiest Manager in the World Who Led Spain to Immortality

Number 30: ?Arsene Wenger: A Pioneering Who Became Invincible at Arsenal


Let’

Udo Lattek: The Inspirational Leader’s All-Time Best XI

Udo Lattek is number 29 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next six weeks. You can find Tom Gott’s Lattek Career Overview ?here?


Udo Lattek did two things throughout his career: get the best out of his players, and win countless trophies.

He rose to prominence with Bayern Munich, before memorable spells with both Borussia Monchengladbach and Barcelona. Lattek could have turned any player into an all-time great, but he worked with plenty of established superstars during his career.

He was lucky enough to lead some of the world’s finest talents, so here is Lattek’s all-time best XI.


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Franz Beckenbauer

Sepp Maier? – Not only was Sepp Maier one of Germany’s most likeable players of all time, but he was also one of the country’s finest ever goalkeepers. Known as ‘The Cat’, Maier was already an established icon with ?Bayern when Lattek arrived in 1970, and the pair went on to win three ?Bundesliga titles.

Berti Vogts – Another one-club man, right-back Berti Vogts made his name with Gladbach. He was coming towards the end of his career when Lattek arrived in 1975, but Vogts was showing no signs of slowing down. He was a vital part of Gladbach’s two Bundesliga titles under Lattek, and will undoubtedly be remembered as one of Germany’s finest.

Franz Beckenbauer – While Lattek always had what it took to be a top manager, he owed his career to Franz Beckenbauer, who recommended him for the Bayern job in 1970. ‘Der Kaiser’ was not just an elite centre-back, but he was one of the greatest to ever play football. He helped propel Lattek to stardom, and his list of individual accomplishments is almost too long to comprehend.

Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck – Lining up alongside Beckenbauer in defence was Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck. The pair formed arguably the strongest defensive partnership in history, taking Europe by storm and leaving countless teams in their wake.

Paul Breitner – Paul Breitner was a left-back by trade, but he could be seen roaming around the field to make an impact wherever he wanted. Breitner spent four years with Lattek between 1970 and 1974, often transitioning into midfield to form an incredible relationship with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.


Midfielders

WORLD CUP-1986-ARG-BELG-MARADONA

Lothar Matthaus – ?What could Lothar Matthaus not do? He made his senior debut for Gladbach just months after Lattek left the club, but the pair soon got the chance to work together at Bayern. Lattek brought in Matthaus in 1984, and three Bundesliga titles followed. Matthaus was the only German to ever win the FIFA World Player of the Year award, and he owes a lot of his development to Lattek.

Rainer Bonhof – Comfortable either as a midfielder or a wing-back, Rainer Bonhof was a dominant force for Gladbach throughout the 1970s. He became known for his unfathomably powerful free-kicks, but his overall game made him a vital part of Lattek’s success between 1975 and 1978.

Diego Maradona – Lattek’s time with Diego Maradona may have gone about as poorly as was physically possible, but that does not mean the Argentine should be omitted from this team. He became the world’s most expensive footballer when he joined Lattek’s ?Barcelona in 1982. Their relationship lasted less than a season, but Maradona was still one of the greatest to ever play the game.


Forwards

FBL-EUSEBIO-MUELLER

Gerd Muller – Already one of the world’s finest strikers by the time Lattek joined Bayern, Gerd Muller continued his reign of European dominance during the 1970s. His ability to find space in the penalty area was second to none, but he also had the technical ability to get the ball into the back of the net. With a frightening tally of 365 goals in just 427 Bundesliga games, it should come as no surprise to see Muller’s name in this XI.

Quini – Before Lattek’s arrival, Barcelona had spent plenty of years pushing to sign Quini, and they finally got him in 1980. By that team, he was undoubtedly past his prime, but he remained one of Spain’s most dangerous forwards. His time in Barcelona was marred in 1981 when he was kidnapped at gun point and went missing for 25 days, but he was still a vital part of their success.

Allan Simonsen -? Allan Simonsen endured a tough time with Gladbach before Lattek’s arrival, but quickly blossomed into one of Europe’s best under the German. He was a vital part of their success in the late 1970s, and his form earned him a move to Barcelona in 1979, where he reunited with Lattek two years later. Maradona’s arrival forced Simonsen out of the club, and he ultimately swapped Barcelona for Charlton Athletic. I bet you haven’t heard of many players to do that.


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa: The Argentina Manager’s All Time Best XI

Number 49: Vic Buckingham: The English Manager’s All Time Best XI

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: The Tinkerman’s All Time Best XI

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: The Tottenham Legend’s All Time Best XI

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Former Lazio Manager’s All Time Best XI

Number 45: Sir Alf Ramsey: The World Cup Winer’s All Time Best XI

Number 44: Antonio Conte: The Fiery Italian’s All-Time Best XI

Number 43: Kenny Dalglish: The King of Anfield’s All-Time Best XI

Number 42: Massimiliano Allegri: The Six-Time Serie A Winner’s All-Time Best XI

Number 41: Sir Bobby Robson: The Legendary Fighter’s All-Time Best XI

Number 40: Luis Aragones: Spain’s Most Important Manager’s All-Time Best XI

Number 39: Herbert Chapman: The Yorkshire Tactician’s All-Time Best XI

Number 38: Carlos Alberto Parreira: The World Cup Hero’s All-Time Best XI

Number 37: Franz Beckenbauer: Der Kaiser’s All-Time Best XI

Number 36: Viktor Maslov: Dedushka’s All-Time Best XI

Number 35: Rafa Benitez: The Likeable Spaniard’s All-Time Best XI

Number 34: Zinedine Zidane: The French Magician’s All-Time Best XI

Number 33: Luiz Felipe Scolari: Picking Big Phil’s All-Time Best XI

Number 32: Jupp Heynckes: The German Master Tactician’s All-Time Best XI

Number 31: Vicente del Bosque: The Moustachioed Mister’s All-Time Best XI

Number 30: ?Arsene Wenger: The Legendary Arsenal Manager’s All-Time Best XI 


Let’