Philippe Coutinho's effortless grace on the ball has impressed Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac so far this season. - © 2019 DFL
Philippe Coutinho's effortless grace on the ball has impressed Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac so far this season. - © 2019 DFL

"Philippe Coutinho dances with the ball" – Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac


Just in case there was any doubt as to why Philippe Coutinho is nicknamed 'The Magician', the Brazilian's mesmerizing display for Bayern Munich against Paderborn served as a timely reminder – and left head coach Niko Kovac in awe of his No.10's ability.

Coutinho was unplayable at times at the Benteler-Arena, gliding between lines, the ball glued to his boot as frazzled defenders scrambled to not only close down the gaps but also to avoid becoming the unwitting subjects of viral social media clips.

The 27-year-old provided a brilliant assist for Serge Gnabry's opener after quarter of an hour and put Bayern 2-0 up after 55 minutes, laying the groundwork for a 3-2 win to take the defending Bundesliga champions top of the table for the first time this season

Coutinho swept home his second Bundesliga goal of the season from Serge Gnabry's pass to put Bayern 2-0 up in Paderborn. - imago images/eu-images

Asked about Coutinho's display at his post-match press conference, Kovac did not hold back: "Philippe speaks for himself really. I think everyone in the stadium today and everyone who watched the match once again saw the ability he has and the quality he has on the ball. At times it really looks like he's dancing with the ball, there's no other way of saying it. He knows exactly when, how and what to do with the ball.

"He set up the first goal brilliantly, but even after making the pass he sprinted off into the box because he was focused on scoring. With his goal, the build-up was the other way around with Serge teeing him up with a superb pass. That's individual quality."

And Kovac believes there is still more to come from the playermaker as he becomes increasingly accustomed to life in Germany and in the Bundesliga – an ominous statement for the club's rivals considering Coutinho has had a direct hand in a Bayern goal every 70 minutes on the pitch on average (two goals, two assists).

Watch: Coutinho's first Bundesliga goal for Bayern on Matchday 5

"He'll definitely help us even more," Kovac said. "He's already contributing, he's integrated well and is happy here. And when a South American player with his kind of quality is happy, then you can see how fantastic that is.

"I think regardless of whether you're a Paderborn or Bayern supporter – or any other fan – you will have enjoyed watching him today."

No argument here.