Kovac calls for Bayern unity ahead of big week

Bayern Munich face AEK Athens and Borussia Dortmund over the next few days and coach Niko Kovac hopes everyone at the club sticks together.

Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac has called for an end to media leaks and preached the need for unity ahead of a crunch period in their season.

Bayern's 1-1 draw with Freiburg on Saturday means they are third in the Bundesliga table, four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund and facing a battle to register a seventh successive domestic league title.

Add in suggestions of dressing room unrest - latest reports have claimed four senior players are plotting to have Kovac sacked - and a bizarre press conference last month at which club president Uli Hoeness, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic demanded more respect from the media and it all adds up to a chaotic picture which leaves Kovac under extreme pressure just four months into his tenure.

With Thomas Muller's wife also criticising the former Bayern defender at the weekend, Kovac was asked if he needed more support from the club before Wednesday's Champions League clash with AEK Athens and the weekend blockbuster with Dortmund.

The Croatian told a news conference: "Internally I have that support, we talk all the time. Hasan Salihamidzic is at the training pitch every day. If that needs to be in public we can talk about that.

"It's true that things have changed, we have been overtaken by progress and we have to make sure we hold on to a couple of things.

"If the family stays together life is easy. We have to make sure we hold together, are steadfast. I think everyone has to decide for themselves what the right way is.

"We have to stick together, work together, be glued together at Bayern, from presidents, to players to the kitman.

"We all have the responsibility to make this club successful and I don’t think passing confidential information to the media is good for our performances, although I have to say that most of what the media writes about is not worth covering. Everything is blown out of proportion. I would hope these things stop."

Much of the player gripes stem from Kovac having to satisfy a bloated squad of international stars.

He added: "Every player at Bayern Munich wants to play and should play – they all have good reasons.

"I know how the game works. If I field one then the other complains, it’s always the same.

"I can’t play 50 players. Everyone will get their chance. The players who play have to perform, if they don’t then they will be replaced. That has always been the case.

"You [the media] should write about that, not who is angry. I find this story is getting boring."

Bayern will be without Arjen Robben against AEK but Kovac is hoping the veteran winger will be fit for Der Klassiker.

"He said he feels his knee, some kind of blockage," said Kovac.

"There was a restriction in his movement. He has been examined and nothing is damaged. I hope we can get him fit for Saturday."