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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Bayern Munich select Niko Kovac as next coach - reports

The ESPN FC crew weigh up Niko Kovac's credentials, amidst rumours that the Croatian will be the next Bayern Munich manager.
The ESPN FC crew weigh up Niko Kovac's credentials, amidst rumours that the Croatian will be the next Bayern Munich manager.

Eintracht Frankfurt manager Niko Kovac will be the next coach of Bayern Munich, according to multiple reports in Germany.

A former Bayern defender, Kovac has long been considered a leading contender to replace interim coach Jupp Heynckes, who plans to retire at the end of the season.

And the 46-year-old is now set to take over in July, as first reported by Bild. He will receive a two-year contract, according to kicker, which also reported that a clause in his contract at Eintracht allowed for Kovac to join Bayern or one of two unnamed foreign clubs for a fixed fee of €2.2 million.

Kovac took over Eintracht Frankfurt in March 2016 and helped the club survive a relegation playoff that season before finishing 11th last year.

They are currently in fifth place, just two points behind Bayer Leverkusen for the final Champions League qualification spot with five games remaining.

Kovac said last week he was happy at Eintracht, where his contract runs for another season, but he left the door open for a possible change.

"There is no reason to doubt whether I'll be coach here next year," he said, but added: "So much happens in soccer. I don't know what will happen tomorrow. As things stand now, I am coach until 2019."

Niko Kovac is set to be Bayern Munich's next manager.

Bayern had previously targeted former Thomas Tuchel to take over, but CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed last month that the Borussia Dortmund boss had turned down the Bavarian club, while sources told ESPN he is Paris-Saint Germain's choice to be their next boss.

Rummenigge also said that Bayern would seek a German-speaking coach, and planned to make an appointment before the end of April. Other reported candidates included RB Leipzig's Ralf Hassenhuttl, Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann and Freiburg's Christian Streich.

During his playing career, Kovac spent two seasons with Bayern Munich from 2001-03. After retiring from playing in 2009, Kovac remained at RB Salzburg as an assistant.

His first senior coaching job came with the Croatia national team, for whom he earlier starred as captain at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.

Kovac is also a good friend of his former Bayern teammate Hasan Salihamidzic, who is now Bayern's sporting director.

Heynckes, 72, helped Bayern secure the Bundesliga title last weekend after replacing Carlo Ancelotti in October.

Information from Bayern Munich correspondent Mark Lovell was used in this report.

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