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Pragmatic Kovac tells Bayern to stay grounded after Spurs romp

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino embraces Bayern Munich’s Croatian headcoach Niko Kovac ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, on October 1, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / IKIMAGES / AFP)

“Stay objective and modest” is the message Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac is telling his stars before they knuckle down in the Bundesliga on Saturday after running riot at Tottenham.

Bayern hammered Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs 7-2 in London on Tuesday in the Champions League with Germany winger Serge Gnabry scoring four goals in a 7-2 drubbing — the highest home defeat ever suffered by an English team in Europe.

To prevent success going to his star’s heads, Kovac put the Bundesliga leaders through their paces on Thursday — a national holiday in Germany — ahead of Saturday’s home game against mid-table Hoffenheim.

“It is important that we keep our feet on the ground. We haven’t achieved anything yet,” said Kovac.

“Therefore: stay objective and modest.”

However, the head coach showed pride in an extraordinary win at Tottenham against last season’s Champions League finalists.

“It was a great moment for the whole team, but especially for Serge,” admitted Kovac.

After a gala night in Europe, the defending German champions return to the bread-and-butter of maintaining their slender lead at the top of the Bundesliga table.

They are just one point ahead of a chasing pack of five clubs, headed by Leipzig, Schalke and Freiburg, with even arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund only three points behind, yet down in eighth place.

Kovac expects seeing off Hoffenheim, who are winless in their last four games, is something his side “can handle” and the romp at Spurs “won’t go to their heads”.

However, “that’s the difficulty of having to do the same three days later,” he admitted.

Kovac is sure “they are clear in their head and is putting so much energy into doing it again”.

Striker Robert Lewandowski is in especially great form — the best of his career — after scoring twice at Tottenham to leave him on 14 goals in ten games this season.

His tally of 10 in the Bundesliga is twice that of his nearest rivals.

If he scores against Hoffenheim he will be just one short of the record set by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored in the first eight games of the 2015/16 season for Dortmund.


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