GERMANY – Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have hit back at accusations they were "disrespectful" in their signing of new head coach Niko Kovac.
Eintracht Frankfurt's plans for next season were thrown into chaos on Friday when Bayern confirmed Kovac, 46, will join them to replace Jupp Heynckes as coach in 2018/19.
Frankfurt's director of sport Fredi Bobic is furious the story was leaked on Thursday, insisting it was "certainly not from Frankfurt -- it's very annoying, not professional and disrespectful".
It was a thinly-veiled attack on Bayern, who reportedly paid a fee of 2.2 million euros ($2.7 million) to trigger a release clause in Kovac's Frankfurt contract.
Bayern officials responded to those claims on Saturday night.
"We found the statements of Fredi Bobic to be very outrageous," fumed president Uli Hoeness. "We exploited a hole he made in the contract with Kovac, which is very professional.
"But we decided to let them know as soon as possible, now they have more time to get a new coach."
Both Hoeness and Bayern's sports director Hasan Salihamidzic denied feeding the news to Germany's best selling daily Bild, who first broke the story.
"There was no information leaked by Bayern," insisted Salihamidzic before Bayern ran riot with a 5-1 win at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
"We had no interest at all in going public."
"I think that Bayern behaved very fairly, we have nothing to be blamed for.
"Frankfurt now has months to look for a successor (for Kovac).
"I have a good relationship with Fredi Bobic, and I'm sure we'll talk about it.
"We sorted things out on Thursday (with Kovac), but I won't give details."
However, Salihamidzic repeatedly avoided answering questions about when Bayern first approached Kovac.
Former Croatia international Kovac, who has signed a three-year contract, claims the whole deal was done on Thursday.
"There was a call from Munich and an offer, which I accepted. That's how it happened," Kovac said.
But ex-Germany internationals Lothar Matthaeus and Christoph Metzelder, both working as pundits for Sky, doubted Kovac's version of events.
"An agreement with Bayern in just one day – I can't quite accept that," said Matthaeus, who lifted the World Cup in 1990.
"I do not think Bayern and Niko Kovac would sign a contract within a few hours."
Metzelder, who earned 47 caps between 2001 and 2008, agreed with Matthaeus.
"I can't believe it. Normally there are several discussions, over several weeks, involving lawyers. It doesn't happen that fast," said the former Dortmund defender.