Bayern Munich confirm Kovac will replace Heynckes as coach

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The Croatian coach and his brother will leave Eintracht Frankfurt to take charge of the Bundesliga champions at the end of the campaign

Bayern Munich have confirmed Niko Kovac will replace Jupp Heynckes as the club's coach next season.

Widespread reports in Germany over the past couple of days had suggested the former Bayern defensive midfielder had won the race to succeed Jupp Heynckes, but Eintracht Franfurt board member Fredi Bobic said on Thursday the coach's current club were unaware of any deal .

However. Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed the following day that an agreement has been made.

Salihamidzic said: "We agreed a three-year contract on Thursday.

"We are very happy that we can have Niko Kovac as the new coach of FC Bayern. Niko was a player at Bayern, he knows the characters, the structures and the DNA of the club very well.

"We are convinced that he is the right coach for the future of FC Bayern."

Kovac will be assisted by his brother Robert, who fulfils a similar role at Eintracht.

The appointment continues a remarkable upward trend for 46-year-old Kovac, who will take over on July 1, after an impressive spell in Frankfurt - his maiden job in club management.

After being overlooked for the RB Salzburg job in 2012, having coached the reserve team, Kovac took over as national team boss for his native Croatia.

He led them to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but was then sacked after a disappointing qualifying campaign for Euro 2016.

Kovac was appointed at Eintracht in March 2016 and helped the club survive a relegation play-off that season before guiding them to a respectable 11th-place finish in 2017.

The club’s resurgence has continued this term with Kovac’s men fifth in the Bundesliga, just two points behind Bayer Leverkusen, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot.

Kovac will succeed  Heynckes in Bavaria following another hugely impressive stint in charge from the 72-year-old.

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Heynckes returned in an interim capacity – his fourth time in charge of Bayern, with the previous three reaping a Champions League title as well as four Bundesliga crowns and a DFB-Pokal – in October 2017 after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked.

Bayern clinched a sixth successive Bundesliga last weekend and were on Friday drawn against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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