Niko Kovac has stated that it’s irrelevant to him when his Bayern Munich side move past Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in 2018/19, so long as it happens.
Speaking after the record champions’ 3-1 win at Hoffenheim in the opening match of 2019, the Munich boss engaged in some mind games ahead of BVB’s Saturday trip to RB Leipzig. “We’ve cut the gap to Dortmund, now they have to react,” Kovac said in his post-match interviews.
Having played one game more, Bayern’s deficit to their rivals now stands at three points. By the time the champions next play against VfB Stuttgart on the Sunday of Matchday 19, it could have stretched to as many as nine. That, however, is of little importance to Kovac.
“We’re the hunters and want to hunt them,” the 47-year-old declared. “I don’t care when we overtake them, the crucial thing is we end up on top.”
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He went on to praise his side’s performance at Hoffenheim and the marker they laid down for the remaining 16 games of the season thanks to a first-half brace from Leon Goretzka and a superb team goal finished off by Robert Lewandowski late on.
“The first half was sensational. That was the way we need to play,” Kovac enthused. “Everyone saw today that we’re physically fit and played good football. We want to increase the pressure on Dortmund and then see what happens.”
Borussia have their chance to respond on Saturday evening at Leipzig before they host Hannover on Matchday 19, a day before Bayern welcome Stuttgart to the Allianz Arena. The two giants go head to head in the second Klassiker of the season in Munich on Matchday 28.