Thursday, November 14, 2019 | ePaper

Kovac tells Bayern to dig in after Hoffenheim slump

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AFP, Berlin :
Niko Kovac says Bayern Munich need to prove their shock defeat to Hoffenheim was only a Champions League hangover in their bid to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga Saturday.
Bayern followed up their 7-2 thrashing of Tottenham in the Champions League by crashing to a 2-1 loss in the Bundesliga a fortnight ago when mid-table Hoffenheim earned their first win at the Allianz Arena.
In the process, Moenchengladbach topped the table and Bayern dropped to third with five other teams all within two points of first place.
Now Kovac wants a win this weekend at Augsburg, where Bayern conceded a first-minute Leon Goretzka own-goal and needed two Kingsley Coman goals to earn a 3-2 win in February.
"There are teams all over Europe who have problems in their league after Champions League games," said Kovac on Thursday.
"Hoffenheim were better than their place in the table (12th) suggested -the same goes for Augsburg (14th).
"We know that is a hard place to win, we were a goal down after 10 seconds there last season.
"I expect a game in which we will have to hang in there and make the most of our opportunities."
Fresh from scoring a hat-trick for Poland, and helping them qualify for the Euro 2020 finals, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski can equal the league record by scoring at Augsburg to continue his run of a goal in each of the first eight games.
The 31-year-old is in blistering form with 15 goals, including 11 in the Bundesliga, so far in 11 matches in all competitions.
Kovac said Germany winger Serge Gnabry, who had a leg knock, and French defender Lucas Hernandez (knee) were both "ready to play".
Things are so tight in the top half of the table that seventh-placed Bayer Leverkusen could move into first place by beating Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night.

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