Niko Kovac new coach of VfL Wolfsburg | NDR.de – Sports

Status: 05/24/2022 12:24 p.m

VfL Wolfsburg have signed Niko Kovac as their new coach. The Croatian, who signed a contract until 2025, will take over a Bundesliga club again after two and a half years and will succeed the dismissed Florian Kohfeldt.

“I’m a child of the Bundesliga,” Kovac reported back with a good, old Otto Rehhagel quote in German football. “The desire and the motivation are very great to start another successful chapter with the ‘Wolves’.” As with AS Monaco, Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt and the Croatian national team, his brother Robert Kovac will support him as assistant coach.

Kovac the preferred candidate

With Kovac, the preferred candidate hires the 2009 champion. The 50-year-old should get Wolfsburg back on track after a disappointing season. The ambitious coach is eloquent, charming, a people catcher in a positive sense. The Croatian is considered to be very religious, extremely disciplined, almost ascetic when it comes to nutrition and fitness, and expects the same from his players. His disciplined way of working corresponds exactly to the Wolfsburg profile.

AUDIO: Niko Kovac: A portrait of the new Wolfsburg coach (1 min)

“He stands for consistent and success-oriented work and I am convinced that the team will bear his signature in the years to come,” said Jörg Schmadtke. “It was important to me that we not only find someone quickly, but above all hire a coach who can develop and bring us forward in the long term.”

The VfL managing director and Kovac have known and valued each other since a season together as Bayer Leverkusen players (1997/98). “The talks with Jörg Schmadtke and Marcel Schäfer were very good and trusting and convinced me to accept this exciting challenge,” explained Kovac. “The team has enormous potential and the conditions for optimal and successful work are in place.”

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A return to old virtues?

Under Oliver Glasner and Bruno Labbadia, VfL had developed from being almost relegated to a Champions League participant between 2018 and 2021. Last season the team lost under Mark van Bommel and Florian Kohfeldt, however, has almost all the qualities that had previously made her strong: the will to win, unity, fitness, her tactical identity.

With Kovac, this trend should reverse again. In Munich, the coach was always considered an emergency solution. In Wolfsburg, on the other hand, he is a big name thanks to his successes and his CV – and should meet the high expectations of the VW Group’s works club, which actually always dreams of international places.

At first, however, it was unclear whether he wanted to return to the Bundesliga. He was said to prefer a move to the English Premier League. Kovac had last looked after AS Monaco for a year and a half. The native of Berlin was released from his duties at the French Ligue 1 club at the beginning of the year. His style of play was not considered very spectacular there: he relied on good discipline and physique as well as fast switching.

Kovac has a lot of Bundesliga experience

After Frankfurt (2018 cup winner) and FC Bayern (double winner 2019), Wolfsburg is Kovac’s third coaching position in Germany’s top floor. The 50-year-old also coached the Croatian national team for two years, which he led to the 2014 World Cup. He also gained a lot of experience as a player in the Bundesliga. Kovac made 241 first division appearances for Hertha BSC, Leverkusen, Hamburger SV and Bayern.

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