By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ahead of their third Champions League group match against Olympiacos Piraeus, turmoil couldn't be more significant for the German ruling champion Bayern Munich.
Despite the clean balance of two victories in the opening games, the Bavarians find themselves in a similar crisis as a year ago.
The team of head-coach Niko Kovac has delivered the worst season start for nine years in the national league, conceiving 10 goals in eight games (15 in all competitions).
The current crisis, though, is containing a delicate difference: Kovac's standing among club leaders and within his squad is gradually eroding.
Kovac spoke of the worst possible news after Niklas Suele suffered from a cruciate ligament tear, side-lining the 23-year-old central for several months. Bayern president Uli Hoeness said Suele is going to miss the Euro 2020.
Having to shift his back-row is increasing the coach's difficulties for the crucial midfield line-up as it might force Joshua Kimmich to do the job as right-back. Downgraded Jerome Boateng might be an option.
Team captain Manuel Neuer complained about his side's attitude in defending. "I don't want to speak of arrogance, but it appears we act a little bit too laid-back and maybe too self-confident thinking a bit less is enough," Neuer said.
The draw against underdog Augsburg gave evident of Bayern's general disbalance in their backward movement.
Losing the locker room
Tabloid Bild is reporting of growing incomprehension in the team as Kovac is accused of dealing unfairly with club legend Thomas Mueller.
The 30-year-old has been a substitute for the past six games. The former German international and fan hero indicated he might leave the club shortly if things don't change.
Kovac hasn't yet managed to get the locker room behind him. Kovac has lost the respect of his players, said former Bayern and Liverpool professional Dietmar Hamann.
Lack of development
After Kovac survived last season's crisis securing the double, Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called the team's progress the primary target.
So far, consistency couldn't be achieved. Experts assume a missing general tactical system everyone can count on.
Sports magazine Kicker complained to not have seen a Bayern game with convincing 90 minutes. The 2013 treble winner instead allowed open spaces to opponents and gambled away several games facing underdog teams.
Kicker reminded of Louis van Gaal and Felix Magath being fired despite having won the double due to a lack of development.
Inconsistency comes to light as soon as the midfield line-up changes. While Coutinho, Thiago, and Kimmich can deliver a reasonably stable game in the center, things change to worse when Bayern is acting with a different midfield.
Kovac hasn't solved the weakness when facing counter-attacks.
The Bayern coach failed to gain stability counting on the same starting eleven without Mueller. Currently, Bayern seems to only rely on individual skills of spearhead Robert Lewandowski or winger Serge Gnabry.
Lack of support
Bayern's club leaders don't seem to fully support the attempt of Kovac trying to create a new team around Coutinho.
The Sueddeutsche said Kovac has turned into a lone fighter.