Kovac, whose side defeated Leipzig 3-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday, a week after clinching the Bundesliga title, is yet to be given assurances in public from the club that he will remain in charge, despite bringing a successful end to what had been a testing season.
The pressure and uncertainty appeared to cast a shadow on what was Kovac’s second successive German Cup win — he was Eintracht Frankfurt coach when the side defeated Bayern in the final last year.
“Last year I was leaving the team. This year everything is a little less emotional, no tears, but still, I’m happy,” Kovac said.
“Sometimes I would really wish that things went a little differently. It’s difficult to turn the wheel back. We should all work on it, we’re all human. We should make sure that we get along with each other.”
Kovac, who won the double as a player in 2003, acknowledged the cup win on Saturday was “very important” as “it shows that we have worked well.”
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was again coy when pressed on the coach’s future.
“At the end of the day, we have to get titles. Of course the coach plays a central role,” Rummenigge said. “It was never an issue for us with the term that he has until 2021, that he would simply not be there anymore as coach beforehand.”
Pulisic Watch: Goal, hamstring injury in FA Cup final
Christian Pulisic had both a dream and nightmare outing in the FA Cup final, as he became the first USMNT player in history to score in the FA Cup final but looked to have severely injured his hamstring.
Pulisic, 21, scored a superb opener at Wembley as he dazzled for Chelsea early on but right at the start of the second half he raced clear of the Arsenal defense, again, but appeared to injure his right hamstring badly before he took a shot.
Injury update, latest news on Pulisic
Frank Lampard gave a Pulisic injury update after the game and said that the USMNT star would not be fit to play in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg game at Bayern Munich next Saturday. Lampard also confirmed that Pulisic will have a scan on his injured hamstring to determine the severity of the damage.
Here’s a close look at a superb display for Pulisic which ended in injury.
2nd minute: Found on the ball and plays it back to Rudiger. Chelsea looking to play the ball direct early on.
7th minute: GOALLL! Finds Giroud centrally, then surges forward and finds Mount on the left. A cross from Mount is flicked to Pulisic by Giroud and he dinks home over Emiliano Martinez. Pulisic becomes the first USMNT player in history to score in an FA Cup final.
🇺🇸🔵⚽️ STAT: Christian Pulisic is the first #USMNT player to score in an #FACup final.
He is just the third American to play in an FA Cup final after John Harkes and Tim Howard.
9th minute: Man, is he up for this. Pulisic puts Bellerin under pressure and wins the ball back for Chelsea.
11th minute: Lovely feet from Pulisic as he ran past two Arsenal defenders and at another two, before hitting a shot right at Emiliano Martinez.
14th minute: A nice flick to Giroud who didn’t quite read it. Lovely creativity.
20th minute: Picks up the ball on the left and is calm and composed on the ball. Always looking to drift inside.
31st minute: Cuts in from the right and flies past two players but Alonso fouls and the attack is over. Chelsea struggling after Arsenal’s equalizer.
38th minute: Found by Kovacic and plays it wide as Chelsea try and possess the ball after losing captain Azpilcueta to injury, who had given away the penalty kick Arsenal equalized from.
41st minute: Almost gets away but Arsenal stop him. A real nuisance.
45th minute: Tackled by Kieran Tierney, as Arsenal win a free kick right on the edge of the box but it is flashed wide.
47th minute: Right at the start of the second half he accelerates towards goal and is away from the Arsenal defense, but he pulls up in agony with a right hamstring injury before getting a shot away which is just wide. Somehow he still had a shot despite being in agony.
48th minute: Pulisic is in agony as he is helped off the pitch and Pedro replaces him. A dream start to the FA Cup final ends in agony for the American. Chelsea and USMNT fans everywhere will be waiting anxiously to hear the latest Pulisic injury update.
UPDATE: Pulisic went straight down the tunnel and was seen late in the second half as the other Chelsea players sat in the stand and watched their team.
Starting in Milan, several reports claim that Alexis Sanchez is finally leaving Manchester United and will sign for Inter permanently on a free transfer. Other reports claim that Inter are paying a $17.6 million transfer fee for Sanchez, who still has two years left on his current Man United contract of $730,000 per week.
Sanchez’s departure will allow Man United to wrap up the $140 million signing of Jadon Sancho, with Sanchez’s huge salary finally off their wage bill as they’ve been paying a big chunk of his wages since last summer when he joined Inter on a season-long loan.
As for the details of the permanent deal, our partners in the UK at Sky Sports have some more details.
“The Chile international would receive a payout from United for cancelling his contract, which still has two years to run. The details of the payout are unknown but the value of the remaining two years in wages is around £55m. Sanchez is set to sign a three-year contract with Inter worth £6.3m a year. A deal should be finalised this week and would mean Sanchez is eligible to play for Inter in this season’s Europa League competition.”
Alexis Sanchez, 31, has been in good form for Inter Milan since the restart (three goals and seven assists says as much) as he finally seems to have shaken off injuries. In 18 months at Man United the Chilean star struggled to make an impact after joining in January 2018 as part of a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan as he left Arsenal after a lengthy contract saga.
As for another player who could be joining his loan club permanently, there is an intriguing update from Real Madrid and Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos.
Ceballos, 23, starred on loan at Arsenal and helped Mikel Arteta’s side win the FA Cup as he put in a man of the match performance in a new deeper role in central midfield.
The Spaniard has been instrumental so far during Arteta’s rebuild of the Gunners and although the Arsenal boss is keen for the club to work out a deal to extend the loan of Ceballos, or even try and sign him permanently, it appears the silky midfielder may not be so keen on staying in London.
“I haven’t spoken to Real Madrid yet, but anyone who wears that shirt is happy,” Ceballos said. “Madrid are better than any club in the world. We’ll see about my future. I’m not thinking about whether or not I can play for Real Madrid, Arsenal or another club. Now it’s time to disconnect. I have to be calm and think clearly with my family about the coming year.”
Ceballos has also stated his love for his boyhood club, Real Betis, as he could end up back in Spain but not at Real Madrid.
Arsenal and Arteta want Ceballos to remain at the Emirates, badly, and they must do all they can to bring him back to north London for the 2020-21 season. His partnership with Granit Xhaka in the two deeper central midfield roles was a big surprise as they added stability, vision and composure to the engine room.
In a meeting of clubs from the top two tiers of German soccer on Tuesday, clubs voted in favor of allowing some fans back into stadiums when the 2020-21 season starts on Sept. 18, with German Cup games scheduled for the week before that.
Germany has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic particularly well but there are concerns about a second wave after a rise in infections in recent weeks.
The parameters for how Bundesliga fans would be able to return to each stadium, and the protocol for pulling it off safely, is generally as follows:
No visiting fans until the end of 2020
No alcohol sold in stadiums until at least Oct. 31
No standing in stadiums until at least Oct. 31
Contact info and ID data to be collected for all fans inside the stadium
Now it is all about the meeting next week between the health ministers of each region of Germany, as they will have the final say on whether or not some fans can return to stadiums.
Speaking in a news conference German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert had the following to say on the matter via Yahoo.
“If and when fans will return to the stadiums is not a decision for the DFL but for the political leaders,” Seifert said. “The DFL does not expect or demand anything but we are preparing to take this small step (with fans in stadiums) when the time comes. Priority is not full stadiums but the health situation. We should not take unnecessary risks but we should also not capitulate and just expect it to go away.”
“No one at the DFL will demand a specific number of fans. That would be irresponsible. Professional football can only come back in steps. There is no magic switch for politicians to give the green light for full stadiums. That will happen in steps. We will have to reclaim normality in small steps.”
The soccer and sporting world will have all eyes on Germany to see if this plan is approved and how things go from mid-September onwards.