Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness suggested that coach Niko Kovac’s decision to rotate players is behind the club’s recent struggles and that he is risking his job by doing so.
The 1-1 draw against Ajax on Tuesday marked the first time Bayern dropped points at home in the Champions League group stage in more than four years, and it followed a draw with Augsburg on Sept. 25 and a defeat against Hertha Berlin three days later.
They are second in the Bundesliga table on 13 points, one behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.
“There’s been a lot of rotation, and ever since, there’s something a bit wrong with us, but I don’t think it’s dramatic,” Hoeness told reporters. “It’s up to the coach. In the end, he’s putting his neck on the line for it.”
Bayern took the lead after 48 minutes against Augsburg, but conceded a late equaliser as they dropped their first points of the season.
“I believe we lost our rhythm against Augsburg,” Hoeness said, adding that the Bayern fans protesting the German football association and the German football league by observing 20 minutes of silence did not help. “It also contributed as we did not get into the match.”
And, according to Bild, Bayern’s dressing room is growing impatient with Kovac, the former Eintracht Frankfurt coach who was appointed in April to replace Jupp Heynckes.
On Tuesday, James Rodriguez was pictured leaving the Allianz Arena only 11 minutes after the final whistle of a match he could have decided after coming off the bench.
He is one of many players, including Sandro Wagner, Niklas Sule, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry, who are reportedly becoming increasingly unhappy with the lack of playing time in spite of the rotation and a small squad.
Kovac urged his players on Tuesday to raise their performance again, adding that he “knows the time of day” and that it was now time “to focus on the essentials again.”
Bayern will host fourth-place Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga in the final match before the upcoming international break.