MUNICH – Battering Fenerbahce 6-1 ahead of this Saturday's Super Cup at Borussia Dortmund should have been a moment of joy for Bayern Munich, but instead the relationship between chief executive and coach is again the main talking point.
Bayern have been cautiously mulling a bid for Manchester City and Germany winger Leroy Sane through the close-season but coach Niko Kovac uncharacteristically went off-message at the weekend when he said: "I am very confident, I assume we can get him."
Chief Executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was upset by the comments and hit back, telling ZDF television: "I didn't like the statement and I have made no secret of it."
It is the latest twist in an awkward relationship between Kovac and Rummenigge. Media reports have long said the latter was sceptical about appointing the Croatian in the first place ahead of last season.
Rummenigge was also cautious in confirming Kovac would continue in the job after a tricky first season which in the end finished with a league and cup double. The chief executive was especially annoyed by the limp Champions League last 16 defeat by Liverpool.
He had softened his tone towards Kovac in recent weeks but speculation is rife that club president Uli Hoeness, a big backer of Kovac, will quit in the coming months leaving Rummenigge as the major power broker and Kovac on thin ice.
Even sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, on very good terms with Kovac, reacted sternly to the coach's outburst.
"We have all been advised quite rightly not to talk about players who are under contract at other clubs. It is very important that we all do this in the future," he said.
Kovac has apologized to Bayern and City but it remains to be seen if the saga will affect the Bavarians' chances of landing Sane, who would cost well in excess of 50 million euros (56 million dollars) with City coach Pep Guardiola saying he does not want to sell.
Bayern need reinforcements out wide after the departures of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
Many fans are so far unimpressed with their transfer window deals, which include the arrivals of France World Cup-winning defenders Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, as well as teenager forward Jann-Fiete Arp.
At least supporters are happy about on-field events. Thomas Mueller scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 home friendly win over Fenerbahce on Tuesday, after coming on as a substitute after winger Serge Gnabry limped off after 20 minutes.
Any serious problem for Gnabry will accelerate Bayern's need for another winger. But the club will stay silent on targets this time.dpa