Don't let Christian Eriksen injury put you off Denmark
Niko Kovac is in massive trouble at Bayern Munich
I was in Dublin a year ago when Denmark won 5-1 against Ireland in a World Cup qualifier and it’s hard to see Martin O’Neill’s men turning the tables when the sides meet on Saturday in the Nations League.
Twelve months on, not a lot has changed.
Denmark were unbeaten at the World Cup finals and have come out and beaten Wales well. Ireland continue to splutter and were hammered by the Welsh in Cardiff.
I’d be pretty bullish about backing Age Hareide’s visitors even without the injured Christian Eriksen.
The other bet has to be Holland against Germany, who I couldn’t have at any price at the moment.
I’m not sure I know quite what is going on with my national team at the moment but what’s for sure is they are a team in decline.
The acrimony over the Ozil-Gundogan affair, the public criticism of Leroy Sane by Toni Kroos, the disconnection with the fans, the disquiet in a lot of places at Joachim Low still being in charge following the World Cup flop. All of these things add up to something approaching a crisis.
I see they held an open training session in Berlin this week where 5,000 kids were “invited” to watch them. A case of the DFB trying too hard after too long trying to keep the public out and that won’t fool anyone.
More worrying is the fact that Low’s supposed rebuild looks pretty tame with very few rising talents emerging. Thirteen members of the 23-man squad picked for this double-header with Holland and France have won 20 caps or more. Just four outfield players have won fewer than ten.
That’s not the revolution that’s required and it won’t take place while Low is in charge.
You could tell Low was feeling the heat last month in the 0-0 draw with France. We have historically only ever gone into games wanting to win - he went into that game determined not to lose. Playing four centre-backs and Joshua Kimmich in midfield told you everything you needed to know about Low’s outlook right now.
Low will adopt exactly the same approach in Amsterdam and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it fail.
Kovac is in massive trouble at Bayern
A crisis within Die Mannschaft is being mirrored by a crisis in Munich which could come to a head very soon.
Uli Hoeness, the Bayern president, has insisted under-fire manager Niko Kovac won’t get the sack – but I’m afraid that doesn’t amount to a great deal.
Kovac is in massive trouble and could be out of a job by Christmas if he doesn’t turn it around.
Yet the season couldn’t have started much better for him with seven straight wins. But one or two injuries and a sudden collapse in form – no wins in four – have increased the pressure.
They were awful against Ajax in the Champions League and something’s wrong in the dressing room. I’m not sure if the players don’t trust him or he doesn’t trust some of his players but it’s incredibly unhealthy and where Kovac is unfortunate is in the lack of backing he’s had from the board.
I think Kovac is a good manager and maybe it’s the fact that there isn’t an available replacement that is working in his favour. I doubt Jupp Heynckes would assume fireman duties again and my hunch is Zinedine Zidane is waiting for the Manchester United job.
But Bayern look in complete disarray and odds of 1-4 that they retain the Bundesliga title are laughable.
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