Andy Brassell on European Football: Bayern Munich weigh up options to replace Kovač

Erik Ten Hag
Will Erik Ten Hag be the next man in at Bayern Munich

European football expert Andy Brassell runs through the leading contenders for the Bayern role while also looking at la Liga, where no team is showing any title winning consistency, and sounding a warning for Spurs

"Allowing Kovač to go just before two important home games in a week, against Olympiacos in the Champions League and then against Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker, is a risk."

Who next for Bayern?

That it happened wasn't the surprise. When it happened, perhaps, was a little more so. Niko Kovač and Bayern Munich never seemed like the perfect fit, with the rugged, reactive style with which he made his Bundesliga name at Eintracht Frankfurt always viewed as too reductive for the Rekordmeister - not least by the players.

If anything was going to save him, it was timing. Allowing Kovač to go (and it does appear to have been a mutual separation) just before two important home games in a week, against Olympiacos in the Champions League and then against Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker, is a risk. The trusted Hansi Flick has been left in charge of the team while Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge consider their options, and Bayern will hope for at least short-term galvanising of the squad ahead of the coming days.

Flick is 14/1 to get the gig full-time and could have an extended spell in the hot seat if results are ok, with Ajax's former Bayern reserve coach Erik Ten Hag 7/2 under contract. Early favourite José Mourinho 5/4 seems unsuited to the political balance of the club and Massimiliano Allegri 3/1 is thought to have his eyes trained on a Premier League position. Certainty is something that Bayern can normally rely on and they would appreciate its return in the near future, ahead of a period of boardroom restructuring.

Back Erik Ten Hag to be Bayern's next head coach at 7/2

Who really wants to win La Liga?

It was a notable weekend in La Liga, with champions Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético all failing to win though at least Diego Someone's side emerged with credit from their 1-1 draw at Sevilla. To continue the feeling of no team really eagerly taking control of this season's competition, Granada passed up the chance to return to the top when they were beaten late on by Real Sociedad on Sunday night. The Basque side are now level on points with the big two at the top.

Given Barça's surprise defeat at Levante, suggesting that their difficulty in securing results on the road hasn't completely disappeared, it's a surprise to see them still as short as 1.558/15 to retain the title. El Real have drifted to 3.3512/5 and all other comers are considered as a long way from the conversation.

Maybe Atlético are the name to watch, priced at 19.5 and gradually bedding in half a new team. Their results - with too many draws already - suggest they are leopards not changing their spots, despite the new blood but as Infogol's Jake Osgathorpe highlighted on last week's Football...Only Bettor podcast, they lead the Liga in xG. As they continue to gel, and Álvaro Morata goes from strength to strength, they could be poised in a title race that by current figures could take only in the region of 79 points to win, according to a weekend editorial in Marca.

Back Atlético Madrid for La Liga at 19.5

Red alert for Spurs in Belgrade

Sunday's draw at Everton has, understandably, been overshadowed by the distressing injury to André Gomes, though in any normal circumstances Tottenham's anguish would have been limited to their failure to close out a first away win in the Premier League since February in the game's closing minutes.

That fragility on the road is of particular significance before Wednesday's trip to Belgrade to face Crvena Zvezda, who they thrashed 5-0 in London last time around but are an entirely different proposition on their own patch. Vladan Milojević's side beat Olympiacos in their last Champions League tie at Marakana despite being second best for much of it, taking advantage of Yassine Benzia's red card, and their victory over Liverpool at this stage last year is still fresh in the memory.

Tottenham still have plenty of work to do in this group, and a draw would leave more questions than answers. Spurs are a short price to win at 1.748/11 and should Mauricio Pochettino and company go the same way as Liverpool, last season's finalists would face an uphill battle to even get out of the group - even though they are in a better position points-wise than they were at this stage last term.

Back Crvena Zvezda to win at 5.39/2

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