Niko Kovac has been sacked as manager of Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga champions have confirmed.

The 48-year-old Croatian took over at the club from Jupp Heynckes in the summer of 2018 and won a league and cup double in his first season, but Bayern have struggled to hit their best form this season.

They were humiliated 5-1 by Kovac’s previous side, Eintracht Frankfurt, on Saturday, a result which proved the final straw for the club’s hierarchy.

It now remains to be seen who will replace Kovac. While assistant manager Hansi Flick will take charge for the upcoming games with Olympiacos and Borussia Dortmund, the international break which follows will give the club time to consider a long-term appointment.

A number of high-profile names including Jose Mourinho, Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri have been linked, with the likes of Erik ten Hag, Ralf Rangnick and Mark Van Bommel also likely to enter into the conversation.

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In a statement on the club’s official website, Kovac himself said: “I think this is the right decision for the club at the moment. The results, and also the way we last played, made me come to that decision. My brother Robert and I thank Bayern for the last one and a half years.

“During this time, our team has won the championship, the DFB Cup and the Supercup. It was a good time. I wish the club and the team all the best.”

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “The performance of our team in recent weeks and the results have shown us that there was need for action.

“Uli Hoeness, Hasan Salihamidzic and I had an open and serious conversation with Niko on this basis on Sunday with the consensual result that Niko is no longer coach of Bayern. We all regret this development. I would like to thank Niko Kovac on behalf of FC Bayern for his work, especially for winning the double this past season.”

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Speculation had already grown around Kovac’s future over the weekend as Sunday’s training session, which had been scheduled to be open to the public, was made private at short notice.

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