Bayern Munich victory at Wolfsburg was 'a first step' - Niko Kovac
WOLFSBURG, Germany -- Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac said his side had taken "a first step" after beating Wolfsburg 3-1 for their first victory in four Bundesliga games.
The champions, down to 10 men after Arjen Robben's second booking early in the second half, won thanks to a Robert Lewandowski brace and a late James Rodriguez goal to go second, four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.
"There was a lot of pressure on this match," Kovac said at his postmatch news conference. "I can only compliment my team. That was a first step. You could see that Bayern not only have footballing qualities but also fighting qualities.
"In the Bundesliga, 18 clubs want to win, and it's a basic at Bayern. There is only black and white these days. And if you win, everything is OK again. But it's not that easy. Still, we won, we are happy and we hope we can build on it."
Poland international Lewandowski opened the scoring after 30 minutes, and was on target again minutes after half-time when he intercepted a William header. Colombia star Rodriguez sealed the win with a shot from inside the box, with Lewandowski completing his Man of the Match performance with an assist.
However, Bayern will be without Robben for their next match at Mainz after he was booked for a dive and then again for a foul.
"That's too harsh for me," Kovac said. "It was a normal foul. And I don't think it was a dive. Robben collides with his player. It was too harsh."
Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng remained on the bench throughout, and Kovac said that was down to rotation.
"When we do that, national team players are benched," he added. "You don't have to look for the next sensation all the time. It can be different again next match. That we made this decision today, does not speak for the one player nor does it speak against the other player."
On Friday, the Bayern leadership held a news conference at which they hit out at media coverage of the club. President Uli Hoeness and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge both slammed recent media coverage over the club.
"I think it's good they protected the players," defender Joshua Kimmich said. "You had a feeling of togetherness again."
Asked about the hierarchy's comments, Kovac said: "I am here for the sporting side. I am here for football, for my team. I am happy to discuss tactics with you."