Niko Kovac presented as new coach at VfL Wolfsburg

IIn his perception it was a small and sweet flash of flashbulbs. Only a good dozen cameramen and photographers stood in front of him on Monday afternoon to capture something special, clicking and whirring. The fact that Niko Kovac has taken up his post as the new head coach at VfL Wolfsburg is causing a bit of a commotion in Lower Saxony. Nationwide, the personnel is more thought-provoking.

What exactly does the former coach of the Croatian national team and FC Bayern Munich actually want in Wolfsburg? “I have the feeling that I’m needed and welcome here,” explains the man on whom many hopes rest. Kovac is returning to the Bundesliga after a two-and-a-half year absence and a trip to AS Monaco. To put it politely: Compared to FC Bayern in Wolfsburg, he gets back on at least one floor below.

“Have everything you need here”

His announcements are still very bold and self-confident. Kovac leaves no doubt that he joined VfL Wolfsburg for good reasons. “We have everything here that a top club can and must have.”

Kovac would even like to play for titles with Wolfsburg or at least permanently install the idea of ​​winning a title. “If you don’t believe in it, you won’t achieve anything,” says the experienced player and coach.

It can already be guessed: Kovac will demand significantly more discipline and commitment than his predecessor Florian Kohfeldt. In the past season, VfL Wolfsburg even got into sporting difficulties at times because there was a lack of good cooperation. Ultimately, Kohfeldt also failed.

“Must be a unit”

The new era in Wolfsburg begins for the players with extensive medical examinations and a fitness check. Of course, established professionals like Max Kruse come into focus. The offensive artist has to be said again and again that his style of play lives on significantly more cleverness than physique. Whether that could become a problem under Kovac is one of the exciting questions in the coming weeks.

Kovac sounds as if he has no desire to take into account the age or the peculiarities of individual players. All he cares about is quality. “I don’t want to single anyone out. The bottom line is that we have to be a unit,” he says. Dealing with Kruse – who is by far one of the trickiest personal details in Wolfsburg – will quickly show how straightforward Kovac is going his way.

From VfL Wolfsburg’s point of view, the signing of Kovac, who has been committed to the club until July 1, 2025, offers a first-class opportunity for a new start. The new mastermind on the sidelines gives the club financed by the Volkswagen Group maximum media attention and the chance of more stadium visitors.

The fans in Wolfsburg long for spectacle. The club management wants more continuity in the position of head coach. Both could work with the prominent Kovac. At the age of 50, the former Eintracht Frankfurt mastermind (2017 to 2019) is considered a good mix of preserver and innovator.

Kovac would like to introduce a game strategy geared towards dominance in Wolfsburg. “Wait, hold back – you won’t be able to win many games in the Bundesliga with that. You have to hurt your opponent and work on them intensively,” said Kovac. In order for this to work, the Wolfsburg players are expected to be very fit and willing to suffer.

The Croatian smiles mildly at comparisons to his Wolfsburg predecessor Felix Magath and his tough training methods. But he enjoys speculating that under his direction it could be just as exhausting in the pre-season and in everyday training.



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