Nico Kovac is sure to get a warm reception when he returns to his former club and gets to meet old friends and ex-colleagues. However, it is Bundesliga points he needs rather than sentimental greetings with Wolfsburg making their worst start to a Bundesliga season in years.
Five games in and die Wölfe have a miserly two points on the board with talk of crisis increasing week on week. Jorg Schmadtke and Marcel Schäfer have publicly backed the coach this week- something Kovac appreciates.
“Yes of course it matters. But that was also something we discussed at the beginning when we held our first talks” the under-pressure coach explained. “You always assume a positive course of events, but you should also consider a different course of events. And its nice to have support in such a situation as we find ourselves here.
“Things happen much faster than many years before, but that is how the cycle works. These are the ways, and a coach has to be able to deal with it and I think we can all do that. All those who sign the contract automatically sign the termination.”
Another loss this weekend on his return to the club where he won the DFB Pokal would inch him ever closer to that potential ‘termination.’ Domenico Tedesco has already become the first Bundesliga coaching casualty of the season with Leipzig getting twitchy about results. Those in charge at Wolfsburg must be even more twitchy and the club don’t exactly have a history of showing excess patience (ask Mark van Bommel or Andries Jonker).
“The fact that we are second from last is not a pretty sight and it annoys me” Kovac explained at his pre-match press conference. “Nevertheless, it is a snapshot. With one or two wins, something like that can change quickly in football.
“You just have to earn and win these victories first. You can’t do that by just praying and hoping. You also have to be productive and enforce it. I’ve walked this path a number of times and I know for sure that sooner or later it will bear fruit.”
Opponents Eintracht Frankfurt’s league form had been on the up with consecutive wins over Werder Bremen and RB Leipzig, but their confidence took a hit in midweek with a 3-0 Champions League home defeat to Sporting Lisbon. Adler coach Oliver Glasner is also up against his former side and could be the one to put another nail in the coffin for Kovac.
A more optimistic Wolfsburg fan however would predict Kovac throwing open the lid of the coffin, jumping out onto the mortuary floor and shouting to those around that he’s not dead and there is plenty of life left. Will the optimist side prevail or will the pessimistic prediction of more woe for Wolfsburg win out?